The Exploits and Adventures of Miss Alethea Darcy

Written by Elizabeth Aston
Review by Diane Scott Lewis

To escape her husband’s brutality, young Alethea Darcy Napier slips out a window, and with her stalwart maid, flees England. Dressed as men, the two women head for Venice, where Alethea is certain her older sister will offer sanctuary. On the rough journey through the Alps, Alethea crosses paths with Titus Manningtree, who is searching for a Titian painting bought by his father before the Napoleonic Wars. Titus is determined to retrieve this painting before an agent steals it for his benefactor, King George IV. Titus immediately sees through Alethea’s charade, and against his better judgment, becomes involved in her plight as the unscrupulous Napier chases her across the continent. Written in the style of Jane Austen, this is a continuation of characters began in Pride and Prejudice: Alethea is the daughter of Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet. The coincidences made me groan; there’s a lot of backstory in the beginning, and inconsistencies abound, but none of this detracts from the vivacious characters and involving plot. It was a delight to read.