The True Darcy Spirit
by
Elizabeth Aston


The True Darcy Spirit  
amazon.com
 
Paperback - 352 pages; 
Touchstone (February 28, 2006)
ISBN:  0743274903

Exploits of Alethea Darcy  
amazon.co.uk 
Paperback - 352 pages;
Harper (19 March 2007)
ISBN: 0007241496
The True Darcy Spirit
amazon.ca
Paperback; 352 pages
Touchstone Books; (February 2006)  
ISBN:  0743274903

   


       Review by Linda Waldemar, 2 July 2007

Lady Catherine de Bourgh marries her daughter, Anne, to Thaddeus Darcy, who is a cousin of P&P's Mr. Darcy and a younger son; they share a grandfather. From this union is born Cassandra, who has that Darcy countenance and strength of character. She is very close to her father, who has a weak constitution and, unfortunately, dies when Cassandra is about five years old.

Mr Collins is promoted to Bishop and is replaced by Mr. Partington who becomes Anne Darcy's (nee de Bourgh) second husband. She bears him two daughteres and a son. Mr. Partington does not like Cassandra and always makes sure everyone understands that she is his step-daughter. He is very unkind to her. Anne is very timid and indolent and never stands up to her husband in defense of her child. Cassandra is able to get on in this environment because of her strong will and pride. Cassandra is also a talented artist. Before her death, Lady Catherine was persuaded to have a renowned artist who can no longer paint, teach Cassandra. Mr. Winter recognizes her immense talent and teaches her everything he knows. Unfortunately, after Lady Catherine's demise, Cassandra has to hide her work and to paint only when her parents are out of the house because her step-father does not approve.

Belle (Isabel Darcy), one of Elizabeth's and Fitzwilliam' five daughters is banished to Rosings for fear that her residence in London will allow her to get into another scrape with a gentleman. The elder Darcys have not yet returned from abroad. This part confuses me a bit. Early in the book they seem to be in Constantinople, but later, at Pemberley; not sure when they came back to England.. Belle manages to get into trouble anyway, though it is blamed on Cassandra by Mr. Partington. She is sent to his sister in Bath and Belle is sent to Pemberley. Mrs. Cathcart is very much like her brother and is very unkind to Cassandra who eventually runs away in a situation very much like Lydia's in Pride and Prejudice. For a naive country girl, even though she is very intelligent, London is a very dangerous place.

This book has nothing whatever to do with P&P besides mentioning a few of the characters occasionally. Camilla Wytton (nee Darcy), who is one of Mr. Darcy's Daughters figures prominately in the story. Ms. Aston has introduced another distant Darcy cousin, Horatio, who is a lawyer.

This story seemed very modern to me; the situations, the attitudes.  But strangely enough, I found it quite entertaining. As I said before, it bears no resemblance to Jane Austen's novel, but I found it to be a quick and pleasant read.