MR. DARCY’S DAUGHTERS by Elizabeth Aston


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Another Jane Austen spin-off, this time about the escapades of the imagined daughters of Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy.

Off to Constantinople on a diplomatic assignment, Mr. and Mrs. Darcy decide to send their five daughters to London for the year, under the care of their cousins, the Fitzwilliams. Mr. Fitzwilliam intends to keep the girls under strict scrutiny, but his charming (and much younger) wife Fanny has grand plans for the five heiresses: the London season has just begun, and perhaps husbands can be caught, at least for the two eldest. Letty, at 21, is the beauty of the family, though she also has a dour, moralizing nature. At 17, twins Georgina and Belle (nicknamed by their ardent admirers “Night” and “Day”) care for nothing but fashion, flirting, and beaux, while youngest daughter Alethea, headstrong and wild, is devoted to her music. It’s 19-year-old Camilla who emerges as heroine, not quite so pretty as her sisters, but, in Austen tradition, much the wisest and most appealing. No sooner do all arrive in London than scandal rears its head—indeed, by end, potential disgrace threatens each of the girls. To begin, Letty’s fiancé, thought killed in the war three years ago, has suddenly turned up—married to a Belgian lady. Sensible Camilla finds herself engaged to Sir Sidney, who is discovered not only to have remarkable taste in lady’s frocks, but a penchant for handsome young men. The engagement is off, and Camilla heartbroken, but there’s plenty to distract her—balls to attend, relatives to avoid, four sisters to shield from ruin. For all its predictability, there is a comforting charm in revisiting this simpler world, where a misunderstood glance can turn the plot. Thankfully, it turns finally in Miss Camilla’s favor, and she of the sharp tongue and unladylike ways takes the prize.

Silly stuff but enjoyable now and then: a bit like cotton candy at the fair.

Pub Date: May 1st, 2003
ISBN: 0-7432-4397-8
Page count: 368pp
Publisher: Touchstone/Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 2003