Deborah
by Jane Gillespie
Robert Hale, London, 1995. ISBN 0709056710


        Review by Yvette, 7 July, 1998
In Pride and Prejudice, Miss Anne De Bourgh is a minor but important character. She is Mr.
Darcy’s destined wife (according to her mother, Lady Catherine De Bourgh) but she is also very
quiet and sickly girl. Jane Austen does not pay much attention to her and Anne is constantly in the
shadow of her domineering mother.

In Deborah, it turns out that Anne has idolized and been in love with Mr. Darcy since childhood.
Even though  three years have passed since Mr. Darcy married Elizabeth, Anne is still devastated
and depressed by the  loss of her intended husband. This sense of hopelessness  leads Anne runs
away from home, determined to throw  herself into the river. Instead, exhausted and ill, she winds
up taking shelter in an country inn.

In her flight, Anne is followed by the faithful Mrs. Jenkinson who tries to take care of Anne. When
Mrs. Jenkinson falls ill, however, Anne finds herself thrust into a new role of the caregiver. In this
small village, Anne takes on the new name of Deborah Smith and tries to begin her life anew.

As Deborah Smith, she meets many new friends and takes on responsibilities that she had never
imagined she could handle. She helps two honourable young lovers escape the tyranny of a cruel and

arrogant father and even serves as a governess in an unwelcoming house.

Familiar characters such as Colonel Fitzwilliam, Lady Catherine, Georgiana and even Mr. Darcy
make some appearances but this is mainly a story about how the frail Anne De Bourgh becomes the
confident Deborah Smith.

The first time I read this novel, I was disappointed that there were so few connections to my
favourite Pride and Prejudice, characters. In addition, I did not really believe that Anne would have been capable enough to act as bravely as she did. On a second reading, however, I enjoyed the
story a little more. Perhaps it was because I knew what to expect. Instead of puzzling over and
disagreeing with Anne’s behavior, I just accepted it.