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(or, the Shades of Pemberley)

by Carrie Bebris

Pub Date: April 1st, 2006
ISBN: 0-765-31410-X
Publisher: Forge

A pregnancy Jane Austen never imagined; third in the overwrought Mr. and Mrs. Darcy series (Suspense and Sensibility, 2005, etc).

Elizabeth Darcy, née Bennet, is awaiting the birth of her daughter—or, as Mr. Darcy believes, her son—when she comes across a letter written 20 years before by Lady Anne, Darcy’s mum, while giving birth to Georgiana. The letter mentions an heirloom, an ivory statuette of Madonna and child, that would doubtless have comforted Elizabeth in her lying-in if it hadn’t disappeared. The search for the statue leads Elizabeth and Darcy to Northanger Abbey, the home of Lady Anne’s correspondent, Mrs. Tilney, now the home of her son, war-wounded Captain Tilney, and his lax housekeeper Dorothy. Once they’re settled, Darcy’s servants are drugged, Mrs. Tilney’s diamonds turn up in Darcy’s walking stick and the Darcys themselves are hauled into court, released only after autocratic Lady Catherine, Darcy’s aunt, posts a surety for them. She wants the ivory heirloom. So does George Wickham, Elizabeth’s smarmy brother-in-law. While Elizabeth reads trunks of Lady Anne’s letters, Darcy tries to sort out the Tilney masquerade and Lady Catherine opines on everything. Elizabeth’s so distressed by all this, and by the arrival of her flibbertigibbet mum, that she spends hours sitting in Lady Anne’s garden, where only the scent of Madonna lilies can soothe her.

If you’re desperate to spend more time with Elizabeth, you’d do better turning to Keira Knightley, Jennifer Ehle or Greer Garson.