Excessively Diverted
by Juliette Shapiro

Softcover - 236 pages (September 2002)
Virtualbookworm.com Publishing Inc. ISBN 1-58939-264-7


        Review by Linda Waldemar, October 4, 2002
 This sequel recounts the first year of Elizabeth, nee Bennet, and Fitzwilliam Darcy's marriage. Many things happen in that short time; four engagements/marriages, a reconciliation, two births and a death. There are many problems along the way, but all ends happily.

Most of the Pride and Prejudice characters are present here. I am happy to say that the Darcys do not disappoint the reader. Elizabeth is still lively and teasing, though not quite so witty as Jane Austen originally portrayed her. Darcy, if it is possible, has actually improved. He becomes playful and less serious. This is very apparent when Mrs. Quinn, Elizabeth's maternity nurse, finds Darcy at his wife's bedside gazing intently as she nurses the newborn heir. When the astonished Mrs. Quinn comments, "Oh! If you do not mind, Sir, the usual manner of husbands on these occasions is to take a glass of wine downstairs. This is not the place for a man." Without diverting his eyes, Darcy replies, "And of what are you afraid, Mrs. Quinn? Do you imagine that I have not seen my wife's breast before!"

Mr. Collins, true to character, is still an interfering, manipulative know-it-all. Georgiana is still very shy. The sisters, Kitty, Mary and Lydia are as peevish, moralizing and self-absorbed as ever. Of course, Charlotte remains sensible while Caroline Bingley persists in being vindictive. The Bingleys, Jane and Charles, are good-natured and tolerant. Mr. Bennet's temperament changes little; he is still aloof but not nearly so witty and amusing as the original. The Gardiners are only mentioned and Colonel Fitzwilliam appears briefly.

A young, rich and handsome landowner, Edwin Hanworth is one of several new characters introduced in this sequel. He is well received by Mr. Darcy and is generally admired by all, especially Georgiana.

In the author's "Additional Notes", Juliette Shapiro writes that the characters adhere to their creator's wishes: Kitty and Mary marry and the Bingleys move to an estate close to Pemberley.

Even though there are references to events in both Jane Austen's novel and Andrew Davies' 1965 adaptation, there are several unexpected alliances and an unlikely reconciliation. One finds enough twists and turns to make this a worthwhile read.

        Review by Jenny Scott, November 24, 2002
A book which handles the life of the Darcys after their marriage in a manner which would have pleased Jane Austen.  None of her characters does anything she would not have approved of.  The author creates some interesting new characters and in Austenlike manner arranges some appropriate marriages.
        Written by Lynne Robson (4/13/2003 1:14 p.m.)
Loved this book, I liked the ending best of all in this book. It is to me one of the better written sequel's to P & P not like Emma Tennant who makes Darcy out to be a unfeeling person in both her books, not like the Darcy in Jane Austen's book.

       Written by Anna (4/13/2003 5:21 p.m.)
You are too generous.   Of course, in comparison with ET almost any book looks well. But I can't say that I was exessively diverted by the strange transformation of Mrs.Bennet to the cunning shrew and angelic and absolutely implausible Darcy. And author has such problems with dots and commas that sometimes her heroes (indcluding Elizabeth) bubble without stopping. It is very irritating and spoil me the whole book!

        Written by Julie P. (4/13/2003 6:40 p.m.)
I'm with you Anna. I thought Excessively Diverted was unreadable. 

        Written by Amber D. (8/29/2003 9:25 p.m.)
Excessively Diverted isn't bad either, nor is Diary of HFD
        Written by Erin J (9/14/2003 1:44 p.m.)

I've since found Excessively Diverted and after reading it I was indeed what the title suggests. It was a bit sickly sweet but it was most definitley my cup of tea! 

        Written by Lynne Robson (December 27, 2003 )
I have read this wonderful sequel and thourghly enjoyed it. I love what she does to with the characters and how the story ends. I will not spoil the book for you by telling you the plot but I can recommend it as a wonderful read. You can buy the book off Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com. I don't think that you can buy it off the shelf in a book store but you can order it online. I hope that you manage to get a copy of this book.
        Written by Melanie Z (January 2, 2004 )
Absolutely my own opinion..... Indeed, IMO it is the best sequel. I have reread it twice and it was just beautiful every time.
        Written by Melanie Z (2/9/2004 2:19 p.m.)
Maybe, you would like to try a more succeeded sequel. I would recommend Excessively Diverted by Shapiro or Jane Dawkin`s suggestions for this hard case. I know very well, there are other opinions, but I was delighted in reading this book.

] I mean, really, how does ANYONE think they could write like Jane Austen?

You are absolutely right, nobody can write like JA!

        Written by Helena (8/24/2004 2:38 p.m.) 
I read Excessively Diverted and except for major grammar problems found it to be okay, if not great.

        Written by Rena G. (December 30, 2006 )
Well, I read this P&P sequel by Juliette Shapiro. I thought it was a good storyline, but there a few things that did not quite make sense. For example, I don't think Colonel Fitzwilliam could have married Maria, even if he wanted to, for I understand the Lucas girls are at least as portionless as the Bennet girls and it was implied that Col. F could not afford to marry a girl without a decent fortune. Also, the story about Lady Catherine bribing Wickham to ruin the Bennets doesn't quite hold water with me. She didn't seem to know anything about an attachment between Darcy and Elizabeth until after Wickham and Lydia ran off. And Darcy and Wickham making up so nicely in the end--it was sweet, but not very plausible. Seeing as the end of P&P says that Lydia sometimes stayed at Pemberley when her husband was elsewhere and Wickham was not permitted to stay there, I don't see Darcy giving them a cottage on his estate. Finally, as I understand it, a patron/patroness, once they had given a living, could not revoke it except on gross misconduct, and somehow I don't see being related to a girl who married your nephew against your wishes as gross misconduct. I do not think Lady Catherine could legally take Mr. Collins' living away, after giving it. Perhaps Julie W. can clarify if I am wrong. Those facts aside, besides the major punctuation problems, I thought it was a nice story. Has anyone else read it? I don't mind sharing opinions. :-)
        Written by Deborah d'Bajor (January 3, 2007 )
I read this about 3 years ago, so my memory is a little hazy! I did think the writing style was pretty good. Obviously it's not Austen, but who is? And of course I've read much worse ;-) There were a number of implausibilities in the plot, but overall it was quite an enjoyable read - I may dig it out again some time! I think I made some of the same points when I read it, especially about Wickham and the removal of Mr Collins from his living. You're right that Her Batship couldn't remove him from the living - although obviously she could make life very uncomfortable! The same author has writen a completion of Sanditon which I read at about the same time and thought it wasn't bad either.