Sir Willy
by Jane Gillespie

Out of Print
Hardcover - 186 pages (1992)
Robert Hale, Limited ; ISBN: 0 7090 4718 5

        Written by Linda Waldemar on December 13, 2002
Like her other sequels, Jane Gillespie has fashioned a story about some of Jane Austen's minor characters. In this case, they are barely even mentioned in the novel. The heroines of this slight, light tale are Priscilla and Maria, daughters of Penelope Clay.

After Mrs Clay's and William Walter Elliot's hasty departure from Bath after Anne's engagement to Captain Wentworth is announced, they spend time in London. Eventually, although we are not told the particulars, Mr. Elliot marries Mrs. Clay. Soon after, they become parents to William Richard Elliot. Mr. Elliot is quite enamoured of his son and it reminds him that his wife has other children. He suggests that they, now 9 and 10 years of age, come to visit them. Penelope, although not enthusiastic, makes no objections. The little girls are so devoted to their little brother that it precludes the need for a nursery maid or a governess. Since they are such quiet and well-behaved children and are so useful, the visit becomes permanent.

The Elliots are fond of society and travelling. On one of their trips to the Continent, there is an illness that is epidemic in the location they are visiting. First Penelope, then William Elliot contract the disease and perish from it. This leaves the orphaned William Richard Elliot heir apparent to the baronetcy and Kellynch Hall. John Shepherd makes his clergyman son one of the guardians of young Willy, now 4 years old, along with the senior William Elliot's lawyers.

Young Willy and his devoted half-sisters make their home with Henry Shepherd and his wife, Flavia, until Sir Walter Elliot learns of his new, young, wealthy heir apparent, now 10 years old. Sir Walter has continued his spendthrift ways and is more in debt than ever. He plans to take custody of young Willy and groom him to become master of Kellynch Hall. He expects to have control of Willy's money while he is transforming the boy.

What will be the fates of Willy and his sisters, who are, according to Sir Walter, unfortunate connections that Willy must abandon. The plot of the story follows the lives of these three for the next two years and tells how John Shepherd is able to outsmart Sir Walter to obtain a satisfactory ending for his three grandchildren.

This is a very easy read and is nice, light entainment. It is very difficult to find, but should you run across it, by all means read it. It is not so good as to warrant hard work to find it, however.