Books by Julia Barrett

Released: April 1, 2000

"Austen's wit seems less sparkling and more forced in so trite a setting."
The pseudonymous author of two Jane Austen sequels (The Third Sister, 1996, etc.) here takes up Austen's unfinished Read full book review >
THE THIRD SISTER by Julia Barrett
Released: Aug. 22, 1996

Yet another Jane Austen sequel from the pseudonymous Barrett (Presumption: An Entertainment, 1993), this time continuing the adventures of the Dashwood girls from Sense and Sensibility. Fortuitously timed amidst a virtual Austen revival, Barrett's continuation of the classic marriage novel leaves us with the dilemmas of the forgotten third sister Margaret, described by Austen as a ``well-disposed girl; but as she had already imbibed a good deal of Marianne's romance, without having much of her sense, she did not, at thirteen, bid fair to equal her sisters at a more advanced period of her life.'' Barrett, taking up Margaret's cause, gives her a plot of her own. Her sisters are both happily married and comfortably established: Elinor is a useful matron to her husband's Dorset parsonage, and Marianne is happy as the wife of Colonel Brandon, a wealthy landowner. Margaret, eager to leave the dull life of Barton cottage and her unofficial position as nanny to her cousins, the nearby Middletons, goes looking for a proper match. Potential husbands line up from the right and the left, with a few red herrings thrown in for good measure. The arrogant and dashing William du Plessy is the first contender but proves too bold for Margaret's liking. Then there's the humble and handsome George Osborne, a more suitable candidate, though surprisingly secretive. Meanwhile, a diverting subplot concerning sister Elinor and her husband's inheritance breaks up the predictability of Margaret's fate. Going back and forth to Brighton with her new- found friend Lady Clara, Margaret encounters some not so surprising coincidences and has some chance meetings, becoming engaged to the wrong kind of man and saved in the final hour by the right kind. An interesting and ambitious idea gone to waste. Lacking the broad panorama of Austen's social insight and her depiction of provincial life, only the details and many plotting devices remain, leaving, at best, a momentary amusement. Read full book review >
PRESUMPTION by Julia Barrett
Released: Oct. 1, 1993

A witty, amusing sequel to Pride and Prejudice from the pseudonymous Barrett (in real life, Julia Braun Kessler and Gabrielle Donnelly, Holy Mother, 1987). The title seems to anticipate purists' reactions. But if you can get beyond the hubris of anyone's presuming to pick up where Jane Austen left off, you'll be rewarded by an engaging Regency romance and the pleasure of following old friends (Elizabeth, Georgiana, Jane, Darcy) and nemeses (Lady Catherine, Mr. Collins, Wickham) into their new lives. Here, Georgiana Darcy has just come out into society and, having had her heart broken in P and P by the rakish young officer Wickham, has vowed never to love again. Enter the dashing Captain Heywood, who manages to charm her, and also to capture the interest of Caroline Bingley and Anne De Bourgh, Lady Catherine's daughter. Meanwhile, young architect Mr. James Leigh- Cooper has been brought to Pemberly to renovate its grounds, and he conceives an affection for Georgiana, but, as with Elizabeth and Fitzwilliam Darcy in the early days, every interchange between Georgiana and Mr. Leigh-Cooper turns into a spat and for most of the novel they believe they despise each other. At the same time, Elizabeth, though blissfully happy as Darcy's wife, is downcast by another scandal breaking out within her family, just as their reputation was beginning to recover from Lydia's elopement with Wickham: her aunt Philips has been accused of thievery from a shop and is in jail. This confirms the opinions of Elizabeth's new neighbors, especially the overbearing Lady Catherine, that Darcy debased himself by marrying into the Bennett family. The seemingly disparate plot strands of Georgiana's affection for Captain Heywood and of the case against Aunt Philips will interweave in a clever and surprising way. For Austen lovers not affronted by the whole concept, a pleasant diversion. Otherwise, a stylish entertainment that may lead some to the unsurpassable Jane. Read full book review >