Thursday, July 16, 2009

North by Northanger - Carrie Bebris

Summary: After the excitement of their recent Season in London, the Darcy's are eager to reach Pemberley. They look forward to spending a peaceful time enjoying Elizabeth's first pregnancy.

However, such serene solitude is not meant to be.

First, a mysterious letter from long-deceased Lady Anne Fitzwilliam Darcy is discovered. Then, a summons to Northanger Abbey involves the young couple in intrigues that threaten not just the Darcy legacy and good name, but quite possibly Darcy's freedom as well. Making matters even worse for the newly expectant mother, Darcy's Aunt Catherine de Burgh arrives to further bedevil Elizabeth.

Adding to all of the madness are rumors of treasure and past scandals. Pemberley is not the quiet estate the Darcy's envisioned. Rather, it is home to secrets and spirits of the past, whose revelations can have a chilling effect on not only the Darcy's but on their growing family. (Summary from back of book. Image from Powell's.)

My Review: This was a fun little read. It continues the Elizabeth and Darcy saga, allowing you to see into their first year of marriage and the anticipation of their first child. In order to make it worth the read of course there is scandal and mystery. Carrie Bebris does a pretty good job retaining Austen's style, although for me it isn't quite the same. I don't know if anything will totally compare to the first experience with Elizabeth and Darcy. Bebris does stay true to the era and gives more insight into what world looked and felt like. There is quite a bit of information regarding gardening and flowers, which I also enjoyed.

Another aspect to the story that was interesting, at least for the female reader, is Elizabeth's journey through her first pregnancy. I liked being able to see (as much as is possible through a fictional book) what was expected of doctors and women during pregnancy and delivery. There isn't much mentioned about the latter, but it is an integral part of the story. It brings up the decision of a doctor over a midwife; something that is debated even today.

You still have the same irritating characters involved: Lady Catherine, Mrs. Bennett, Mr. Wickham, and Lydia. They are played well in this story as well. You can't help but feel for Elizabeth dealing with pregnancy hormones and her mother and Lady Catherine. That would be enough to do in any good woman.

If you're wanting to read more about the saga of the Darcy's, it's worth picking up. Just be prepared that it isn't the same banter and conflict between the two that exists in Pride and Prejudice. That said, it's easy to get into because the characters are familiar.

My Rating: 4 Stars.

Sum it up in one phrase: An extended ride along the lives of the Darcy's.

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