Book Reviews

Contribution to this page are welcome!  

New Publications--

***These two are highly recommended by me:  

A Jane Austen Education by William Deresiewicz "How six novels taught me about love, friendship and the things that really matter."

Jane's Fame by Claire Harman--"How Jane Austen conquered the world"

Other recent publications:

Just Jane--Nancy Moser--a novel of Jane Austen's life

Mary Bennet's Choice--Virginia Aitken

Dancing with Mr. Darcy--Sarah Waters--the best of the Jane Austen short story competition

Murder at Longbourn--Tracy Kiely

 Intrigue at Highbury, fifth in the Mr. and Mrs. Darcy series by Carrie Bebris

My Dear Charlotte--Hazel Holt--a novel in letters "murder mystery coupled with a romance" set around 1815 after 
                    the defeat of Napoleon (taken from introduction by Jan Fergus)

A Little Bit Psychic--Aimee Avery-- 21st c setting of P&P; "humorous journey with Elizabeth Bennet as she travels to
                 London to study for her PhD." (from back cover blurb)

The Bedside, Bathtub, Armchair Companion to Jane Austen--Carol Adams, Douglas Buchanan, and Kelly Gesch--I 
                have skimmed this and hope to read it leisurely soon;  I am impressed with the content.

A Truth Universally Acknowledged--Edited by Susannah Carson; Intoduction by Harold Bloom--wonderful collection
                 of essays by 33 great writers on Austen.

Thanks to Jo Mader for this review:

Mr. Darcy’s Decision


Juliette Shapiro

2008. Ulysses Press


                  This sequel to Pride and Prejudice picks up where the Austen work ends. The newly married Fitzwilliam Darcy, and his bride, Elizabeth Bennet have completed their wedding travels and are settling into daily life at the Darcy estate, Pemberley. Elizabeth’s sister, Jane, and her husband, Charles Bingley will soon be moving into Netherfield which brings them closer to the other members of the family while Charles seeks to purchase an estate in the neighborhood as their permanent country home. Mary Bennet has become the companion to Ann de Bourg, the daughter of Lady Catherine. Mary was chosen for this position because Lady Catherine feels she is too plain, unobtrusive, and obviously intelligent to attract any gentleman’s attention. Other familiar secondary characters reappear in a continuation of their earlier roles.

                  In typical Austen fashion, Mrs. Bennett frets over all her married daughters’ actions – what they do and what they don’t do that she thinks they should be doing. Shapiro has a fine sense of Austen’s  character development and carries on  in a manner that’s true to the original book. Mrs. Bennet dithers, Mr. Bennet spends most of  his time ignoring his wife, and Lydia, true to form, sends word that another crisis has developed concerning her relationship to her husband, Mr. Wickham. It appears that Lydia, now pregnant, has been abandoned. This is yet another brush with total disgrace for the Bennet family and those young men now attached to them by virtue of having married other Bennet daughters.

In this novel we meet a softer, more sensitive Fitzwilliam Darcy, the result of his marriage to Elizabeth Bennet and the anticipated birth of their first child. To some outside the marriage, however, he seems more intense. He has even less tolerance for bad behavior.

                  After much misdirection and considerable tension between Elizabeth and her husband, Darcy “rescues” his sister-in-law from disgrace and once again sets Wickham on the path to responsible manhood.  How he does this is the crux of the novel. His actions have a definite Darcy flair as he spares the Bennets from the scorn of their neighbors which is always a major concern in the social context of an Austen novel. Mary Bennet provides a few surprises                   of her own, much to the shock of Lady Catherine.

I personally think that Mr. Darcy’s Decision is well done.  Juliette Shapiro understands Austen’s somewhat convoluted style and the major  elements of Regency period novels. She also mimics the Austen tendency to tell a long, involved story extending nearly two hundred pages, then puts the denouement together in the last ten pages. In our house we call it “the falling off a cliff” style of conclusion. This is a good read for Austen fans. At times it reads as if Jane herself was holding the quill.                  

Book Blurbs

Mr. Darcy Vampyre—Elizabeth does not know she has married a vampyre, but suspects something is amiss when, two weeks into the honeymoon, her new husband has not ‘visited’ her at night.  As their wanderings around Europe continue, she has terrifying adventures, meets some very strange “people” and has serious doubts about her future.  Not my cup of tea, but readable.


Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters—Creature of the deep have turned against mankind and are threatening everywhere. For example, a sea witch has turned Col. Brandon’s face into a horrible sight with tentacles writhing around when as he talks. So ridiculous, so funny, so absurd; I really enjoyed it.