Sonderbooks Book Reviews by Sondra Eklund

Sonderbooks Stand-out 2004
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I don't review books I don't like!

*****= An all-time favorite
****  = Outstanding
***    = Above average
**      = Enjoyable
*        = Good, with reservations

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****Duty and Desire

Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman, Book 2

by Pamela Aidan

Reviewed October 26, 2004.
Wytherngate Press, 2004.  238 pages.
Sonderbooks Stand-out 2004, #5, Historical Fiction

As soon as I finished Book 1 of Pamela Aidan’s Fitwilliam Darcy, Gentleman, trilogy, An Assembly Such as This, I got on the computer and ordered the second book.  (Alas!  The third book isn’t out yet.)

The trilogy tells the story of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice from the perspective of Mr. Darcy.  This second book covers the middle of the story, where Mr. Darcy doesn’t appear at all in the original.  He had convinced Mr. Bingley to leave Netherfield and stay away.  In the meantime, we know that Mr. Darcy can’t stop thinking about Elizabeth Bennet.

Duty and Desire hypothesizes that Mr. Darcy did his best to stop thinking about Elizabeth by trying to find someone more suitable to marry.  After Christmas at Pemberley, he goes to a house party with guests from the very best society.  What follows is a rather melodramatic story that does convince the reader that Elizabeth would shine all the more brightly afterward.

I didn’t enjoy this book quite as much as the first one.  The story in this section is all Pamela Aidan’s own invention, and it did seem a bit melodramatic to me.  However, I love the way she makes us feel that now we really know Fitzwilliam Darcy and his sister.  We feel we’re getting a closer look at the characters Jane Austen invented, and the time spent in their company is delightful.

When I was about halfway through this book, I made the grave mistake of trying to read only one chapter before I went to bed.  (I know, I do this so often you’d think I’d have learned by now.)  Not only did I go on to finish the book in the wee hours of the morning, but then I couldn’t resist reading the good bits of Pride and Prejudice to see how it all fit together.  The lack of sleep messed up my whole week! 

Now I’m going to keep my eyes open for the release of Book 3.  Of course, the ending of Pride and Prejudice is the best part.  Based on her first two books, I think that Pamela Aidan will be able to pull it off with flair.

Reviews of the other books in the trilogy:
An Assembly Such as This
These Three Remain

Reviews of books by Jane Austen:
Pride and Prejudice
Northanger Abbey

Reviews of books related to Jane Austen:
Flirting with Pride and Prejudice, edited by Jennifer Crusie
A Jane Austen Education, by William Deresiewicz
Sense and Sensibility, by Joanna Trollope
Northanger Abbey, by Val McDermid
Emma, by Alexander McCall Smith
Austenland, by Shannon Hale
Midnight in Austenland, by Shannnon Hale
Jane Austen in Scarsdale, by Paula Marantz Cohen
Letters to Alice on First Reading Jane Austen, by Fay Weldon
Jane and the Man of the Cloth, by Stephanie Barron
Jane and the Wandering Eye, by Stephanie Barron
Jane and the Prisoner of Wool House, by Stephanie Barron
Jane and the Ghosts of Netley,
by Stephanie Barron
Death Comes to Pemberley, by P. D. James
Pride and Prescience, by Carrie A. Bebris
Suspense and Sensibility, by Carrie A. Bebris
North by Northanger, by Carrie A. Bebris
The Jane Austen Book Club, by Karen Joy Fowler
For Darkness Shows the Stars, by Diana Peterfreund
Keeping the Castle, by Patrice Kindl
First Impressions, by Marilyn Sachs

Copyright © 2006 Sondra Eklund.  All rights reserved.

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