The Darcys Give a Ball : A Gentle Joke, Jane Austen Style
Queen Victoria is on the throne, and the children of Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy of Pride and Prejudice are young adults. Their son falls in love with the daughter of the unbearable clergyman, Mr. Collins, and Elizabeth’s dear friend Charlotte. There are other problematic romantic entanglements for the younger generation, eventually resolved at a climactic ball, but the prospect of Elizabeth and Darcy having to adjust to Mr. Collins as their son’s father-in-law is what pulled me into the story.
Unexpectedly, Charlotte is the novel’s most fully developed character, lending depth to what otherwise would be a lighthearted romance. When she chose marriage to the absurd and self-important Mr. Collins rather than impoverished spinsterhood, she insisted that her chances for happiness were “as fair as most people can boast on entering the married state.” How does she feel about her bargain many years later? Elizabeth Newark provides a convincing and moving answer to that question. There is, of course, a whole subgenre of Austen sequels by modern admirers. Though I love Pride and Prejudice, this is the first “Jane Austen style” novel I have read. True to Austen in spirit as well as style, it far exceeded my expectations.