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PRESUMPTION by Julia Barrett


by Julia Barrett

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1993
ISBN: 0-87131-736-2

 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.