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
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
not, as the introduction suggests, become a companion volume to the
canon for me.
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
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,
is happy but uncertain about her feelings for him. Their friendship
itself quickly and Georgiana finds herself becoming increasingly
to her childhood friend. However, before she can follow her heart, she
must first overcome various obstacles including her shyness and the
(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."
"When I return to my room I shall bring it to you."
(Chapter Twelve, Desire and Duty)
Posted by Caroline on August 24, 1998 at 19:14:31: I agree with everything you say about it , every thing...except the last....it 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
a total bore. It has none of JA's lightheartedness, certainly none of
wit and humour, does not respect the structure she built, doesn't
tell us anything worthwhile, has a plot more suited to a
textbook than an Austen novel, and I wouldn't recommend it to anyone!
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.
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
and is rewarded with the hand of Georgiana Darcy. There. That's
the plot. ;-)
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.
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
Dear Jane must have rotated in her grave when Duty and Desire thrust itself on her attention