Desire and Duty
A Sequel to Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice
by Ted and Marilyn Bader
Hardcover (February 1997)   (March 1995)
Revive! Pub; ISBN: 0965429903
Hardcover - 286 pages (February 1997) 
Revive Publishing; ISBN: 0965429903
Hardcover - 286 pages (February 1997) 
Revive Publishing; ISBN: 0965429903

        Review by Lynn Lamy, 12 May 1998
 After having read many of the sequels to Jane Austen¹s works, I was eager to read a more recent sequel, something written in the last couple of years, during the most recent resurgence in our Jane's popularity. Desire and Duty was just such a book, published in 1997.  Yet despite all her recent attention, despite the introduction by a professed authority on Jane Austen (John McAleer), I was disappointed.

Desire and Duty is the story of Georgiana Darcy, beginning when her new sister comes to live at Pemberley.  We see Elizabeth and Georgiana grow close, and we see through Georgiana's eyes the loving marriage of her brother.

The Baders waste no time bringing all the Darcy¹s friends to Pemberley for their first Christmas.  The Bennets arrive, as do the Bingleys and several other neighbors of the Baders creation, the Westbrooks and Staleys.  At dinner, Darcy stands and announces that no alcohol will be served in memory of his father.  This night was the anniversary of the date his father had given up alcohol and had tried to overcome his drinking problem.  This, while a nice sentiment, was not at all appropriate for a Regency novel, I thought.

The love interest of Georgiana is Mr. Thomas Staley, and we accompany her through her earliest feelings for him and his subsequent departure for Cambridge.  She helps Elizabeth through a difficult pregnancy and assists in the delivery of her twin nephews.  Then we jump ahead nine years to the coming of Mr. Staley to Pemberley as tutor to the Darcy children.  Georgiana, still unmarried, falls deeper in love with him, but just when things seem most promising, Lady Catherine arrives to put things awry.

While the general story line of Desire and Duty is good, the dialogue is stilted.  The words don't seem to come naturally from the characters' mouths, which makes for difficult reading.  Too much of the book is taken up with this arduous dialogue. While Jane Austen relied heavily on dialogue, she did not bore her readers with unimportant details.

In addition, some of the most common Regency practices and customs were explained.  It seems as though, in an effort to write a book that would appeal to a wider audience than just Jane Austen fans, the authors went too far in the other direction and treated the readers as if they knew nothing. There are also the usual cases of Œsequelitis' in which characters act in ways you wouldn't imagine. In Desire and Duty, the authors have Mr. Darcy beaming, then telling a group of people that he never thought a woman could make him as happy as Elizabeth has, which seemed very out of character for a reserved man like Darcy as portrayed in Pride and Prejudice.

In short, if you come across Desire and Duty, give it a try, but I cannot recommend going out of your way to obtain it.  It will not, as the introduction suggests, become a companion volume to the Austen canon for me.

        Review by Yvette, 7 July 1998
I began Desire and Duty eagerly since the summary on the cover flap noted that it is "the only" sequel to Pride and Prejudice "which follows the ideas Jane Austen left for the continuation of her famous book". I discovered quickly that it is a novel which chronicles the life of Georgiana Darcy after her brother's marriage. Having read Presumption (by Julia Barrett) which is also about Georgiana, I thought it would be entertaining to read another set of authors’ views on her fate.

The Georgiana Darcy of Desire and Duty is a shy, musical and religiously devout young girl. The story begins in Derbyshire, England. The date is December 1805 (it seems that the authors have arbitrarily fixed the year during which Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy marry) and Georgiana is anxiously awaiting Mr. and Mrs. Darcy's arrival. She and Elizabeth Darcy rapidly become good friends as Elizabeth settles into her new role as mistress of Pemberley. At the Christmas dinner party, we meet several of the Darcys' neighbours, including Mr. Thomas Staley, childhood friend. GeorGeorgiana's longtime giana likes him and enjoys his company but her respect for him is endangered by his questioning of Christianity.

Time passes and life continues at Pemberley. Georgiana and Kitty Bennet become good friends. With the help of Georgiana's influence, Kitty soon outgrows her frivolous ways. After the birth of Elizabeth's children, there is a break in the text and the story jumps forward ten years to October 1815.

Georgiana is now nearing the critical age of twenty-seven, after which she will be considered an old maid. When Mr. Thomas Staley returns from fighting in the army and takes up the post of tutor at Pemberley, Georgiana is happy but uncertain about her feelings for him. Their friendship re-establishes itself quickly and Georgiana finds herself becoming increasingly attracted to her childhood friend. However, before she can follow her heart, she must first overcome various obstacles including her shyness and the formidable (and possibly unscrupulous) determination of
Lady Catherine de Bourgh. Her aunt will stop at nothing in order to persuade Georgiana to marry the heir to Rosings Park: the Duke of Kent. (Yes, Anne de Bourgh dies.)

This novel seems to be very well researched. It contains historical notes on many of the chapters, as well as a list of references. Some interesting definitions are provided and many details (such as a doctor's diagnosis) are explained in their historical context. The story is a bit predictable and, at times, the conversations are a bit forced and unnatural. The theme of desire versus duty is quite obvious and it pushes itself forward into a prominent position throughout the novel.

I was surprised by the great emphasis placed religion and on Mr. Thomas Staley's religious inclinations, but it is justified in the historical notes section which argues that "any attempt to write in a Jane Austen style without taking religion into account is to be a hollow imitator". In Desire and Duty, however, the subject of religion is not handled as subtly as in a work by Jane Austen. The characters’ discussions of Christianity often seem a bit out of place.

Overall, this novel is not that bad. It was interesting to read about what could have happened to Georgiana. She is not quite as likable or as intelligent as I imagined. I would have liked the novel more if the text had shown the reader the characters' feelings more often, instead of just telling them directly. I noticed a few spelling mistakes: "Rosings Park" was called "Rosing Park" many times, and, once, "Pemberley" became "Pemberley". In addition, I found the following conversation quite eerie or amusing, take your pick):

"Have you read Jane Austen's novels? I think you will find them on a higher plane," said Thomas.

"No, I have not," was Georgiana's response.

"I have a copy of Miss Austen's Sense and Sensibility if you would like to borrow it."

"May I?"

"When I return to my room I shall bring it to you."

(Chapter Twelve, Desire and Duty)

       Posted by Cyndie on August 24, 1998 at 12:45:14:
While on vacation this summer, I read my youngest sister's copy of Desire and Duty. I have to say that it was one of the most pathetic pieces of anything pretending to be literature that I have ever read! They tried so  hard to tie it to P&P that there were actually near-direct quotes out of the original all over the place. They turned Georgiana into a kind of religious zealot, and Darcy and Lizzy hardly figure in the story at all. I have to confess that I did enjoy it in one  provided the best laugh I have had in ages!

        Posted by Caroline on August 24, 1998 at 19:14:31: I agree with everything you say about it , every thing...except the did NOT make me laugh. I'll go one further and say the for all those  'historical notes' at the back, they didn't stick to the 'facts' that JA let us  have, they deliberately went against her intentions at some points, they really should  have done some decent research about the local geography and geology, ditto on the protocols and history of the time, 'cos is sure ain't Derbyshire 1810ish they are talking about, they don't follow the guidelines they set out for themselves regarding use of  language, there was absolutely no reason to put their own names and their own family  history into it, and, and , and, ......Linda, I've not written you a review because I cannot  think of one thing good to say about it!

If it was an ordinary historical novel it would have been rejected as a total bore. It has none of JA's lightheartedness, certainly none of her wit and humour, does not respect  the structure she built, doesn't tell us anything worthwhile, has a plot more suited to a  victorian textbook than an Austen novel, and I wouldn't recommend it to anyone!

       Posted by Olivia Ann on August 26, 1998 at 09:26:44:
I agree that Desire and Duty was pathetic. But then, so have most of the other sequels which I've read (Presumption, The Third Sister, Eliza's Daughter (the worst of them all IMHO), Pemberley, & An Unequal Marriage). Even the ones that I enjoyed (Mansfield Revisited, Jane Fairfax, Pemberley  Shades, and the Stephanie Barron books) really have very little to do with JA, other than taking the lives of her or her characters. I am a Christian, and I was particularly disgusted by the way these people made the Christianity of the characters to be out-of-place and ridiculous. JA's books follow Christian principle, but I thought that they seemed to put rather a fake religious coating over everything. I enjoy Christian fiction when it is written well and has depth and meaning (something which is hard to find in current authors), which was certainly lacking in this book. And I thought that the claim of imitating JA in language and style was ludicrous.

         Posted by Cassie M. on September 23, 1997 at 14:49:15:
I have read this book and did not enjoy it. I found it preachy and somewhat pretentious.

         Posted by liz in SC on September 23, 1997 at 18:46:19:
Lucie- I must agree with Cassie- very preachy and dreadfully tedious to read- I am very sorry for the wasted cash I put into this-

         Posted by Aliza on September 24, 1997 at 12:12:53:
I would have to agree with Cassie M. I bought the book and couldn't wait to read it (that was before I found out about the existence of the RoP). Unfortunately, it was rather disappointing. Elizabeth rarely appears in the book (which, I suppose wouldn't be fatal if the book were otherwise interesting), and I, too, found it unnecessarily preachy.

        Posted by Myretta on April 08, 1997 at 21:55:38
] It looks to me as if there might be some religious tie-in. It's published by "revive publishing".

The two reviews also refer to there being some religious context. Any one know?

Yes. One of the characters gets religion during the course of the book and is rewarded with the hand of Georgiana Darcy. There. That's basically the plot. ;-)

        Review by Elysha, 2 July 2000
 Desire and Duty is written by Ted and Marilyn Bader as a sequel  to Pride and Prejudice by Jane
Austen.  It was published in 1993, and they called this sequel unique because they discovered what Jane Austen said she would have done for the Bennet family in a sequel.

The plot focuses on Georgiana Darcy, who was the sister-in-law of Elizabeth Darcy and who was a minor character in Pride and Prejudice. She overcomes shyness and reserve to fall in love with the young tutor who lived at Pemberley while teaching the Darcy children.

Elizabeth's two younger sisters, Kitty and Mary, are provided for in this story.  Kitty enters more into the story than Mary, who has the honor of being mentioned.  Actually, Kitty marries a clergyman!

The style in many ways is reminiscent of Pride and Prejudice and Jane Austen's time period. If the elegant style and the class system emphasis were the best part of Jane Austen's style, then I would be well satisfied with Desire and Duty.  The style is also less difficult than Jane Austen's to understand. In the introduction, the Baders explained that they had decided to write their book in a more contemporary writing style to make it more readable.  Though Jane Austen's books are written for pleasure, Desire and Duty is actually much lighter reading material.

In my opinion, the best thing about Jane Austen is her characters, and I miss the quality of character in Desire and Duty.  For example, the most important character they made up themselves was Thomas Staley, tutor at Pemberley.  The way I think of him after reading about him is simply as everything a man should be.  Nothing more, and certainly nothing less.  In Pride and Prejudice, when Mr. Darcy is described, he is proud but kind.  He did not care what the world thought of him, but for himself had high moral standards.

Dialogue plays a great part of Pride and Prejudice in understanding the characters.  For example, the first chapter starts with a dialogue between Mr. Bennet and Mrs. Bennet concerning their new neighbor, who was single and had a good fortune.  That dialogue gives the first impressions of Mr. Bennet and Mrs. Bennet--it displays Mrs. Bennet's intent in life; marrying off her daughters, and Mr. Bennet's amusement in life; vexing her.  He has a very cynical sense of humor, while she was too silly to have a sense of humor.  It makes for a very interesting combination.  When I read any of the Jane Austen books I read them to enjoy the character quirks and whims. Desire and Duty has potential, but it reads almost as if the authors themselves weren't well enough acquainted with their characters to make them the readers' friends or enemies.  Jane Austen uses a lot of dialogue to illustrate her characters, and give the readers a good idea of what the characters are like.  In Desire and Duty, nearly all that I learned about the characters was written as a description or reflection.  Rarely did I find much enjoyment of a dialogue.  And I missed the sense of humor like a silver thread in Jane Austen's books--that consciousness of folly and silliness!  People who try to capture her books on video rarely leave out the humor--so should a sequel to her books?  And yet I didn't notice the undercurrent of secret amusement in Desire and Duty.

Pride and Prejudice is probably a favorite with many people because Elizabeth, the main character, has such appreciation of every foible that is brought to light. Desire and Duty is easy to read, but with little depth.  There is enough plot to be acceptable for light reading material and food for fancies

concerning what could have come of Pride and Prejudice.  For more satisfying reading I would suggest Pride and Prejudice itself, for those who are interested in the more difficult style, more interesting characters, romance, and ironic sense of humor of Jane Austen.

Not very good.

        Written by Anna (2/5/2002 2:06 p.m.)
You are lucky if you don't read Ted and Merylyn Bader's "Desire and Duty". I can't understand still why authors decide they can write a novel? They don't have elementary skills! It is something so pathetically inept and childish that now I read it just for fun!

        Written by Anna (3/9/2002 2:59 p.m.)
IMHO, the worst sequel is Bader's Desire and Duty. All BoI authors  (twelve years girls including) write better and most of them - much better! More childish attempt to write something Austenesque I've never read!

          Written by Lynne Robson (6/18/2003 2:57 p.m.)
I have just finished reading  Desire and Duty and found it to be a enjoyable read, it gives insight to Georgiana Darcy of how she grows up and marries the Darcy's    children's tutor who eventually inherits his fathers estate and becomes a baronet. I liked the beginning of the story as it brought home Lizzy and Darcy from their honeymoon and showed life that went on through Georgiana's eyes. When Lizzy is found to be with child and becomes ill Georgiana is a great help to her and her brother until she has the twins. It then jumps some years and Lizzy and Darcy have had a girl since and Georgiana is still single. We then have Lady Cathrine trying to pair her off with a rogue the Duke of Kent who is the next to inherit Rosings.

I enjoyed this book better than Presumption I found that book not an easy read to me it was not a page turner like this one I am now in the middle of reading its follow up and so far this is a good read as well 

        Written by Amber D. (9/8/2003 4:08 p.m.)
Desire and Duty by the Baders, which I finished beforehand, is even worse. Oh, the mockery! Who is this Georgiana? She in no way resembles the character JA described. I was so disappointed - my only saving grace was that I borrowed, not bought, these books.

        Written by Elizabeth Newark (May 16, 2007 )
I am myself a sequels writer, and I don't know if, in the English sense, it is done to criticize another sequel writer, but Desire and Duty makes me squirm. The conceit and ignorance of the writers! They don't even know the basics of Jane Austen's era manners. And the silly intrusion of religion. Yes, Jane Austen was religious but never silly. The poor man they quote as an authority on her writings must not have been well at the time. This is one bad book.

Dear Jane must have rotated in her grave when Duty and Desire thrust itself on her attention