Tuesday, March 07, 2006

2247 What was the key to real social distinction in early 19th century England?

Last night our book club met to discuss our current read, Mr. Darcy's Daughters, by Elizabeth Aston, a 2003 sequel to Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice.

"It is the year 1818, twenty-one years after the stirring events of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. Mr Darcy and Elizabeth have gone to Constantinople, while their five daughters descend on the dangerous and dashing world of Regency London. The world is changing, but opportunities for women are limited, as intelligent,
independent-minded Camilla soon discovers - and Society is unforgiving of those who transgress its rules.

The sisters are assailed on all sides by the temptations of London, with its parties and balls, gossip and scandals, intrigues and schemes, not to mention the inevitable heartbreaks arising from proximity to so many eligible - and ineligible - men." Orion book site

We had a great turn out and a lively discussion. Our discussion leader last night is a teacher of high school Spanish and English and came well prepared with a "pre-test." She had a list of 25 questions about the era on understanding the social etiquette of early 19th century England. As her source, she brought along a title none of us had seen, and it is a treasure for figuring out certain references, What Jane Austen ate and Charles Dickens knew. The answer to my above question is land ownership, and that was taken from her list.

Although everyone agreed a sequel is never as good as the original, even those who enjoyed the story (I did) thought it was a bit contrived to have Mr. Darcy and wife Elizabeth (main characters of Pride and Prejudice) take off for a year abroad so the 5 daughters could live in London with relatives during the "season."

Our hostess had never read Pride and Prejudice, so she'd also purchased and read that as well as our selection and declared it the best novel she'd ever read--and she's been in this group for 25 years. Another member who'd read it in college over 40 years ago said the same thing. Guess I'll have to read it.

Aston has written two other books about the Darcy family, Exploits and adventures of Miss Alethea Darcy, and The true Darcy Spirit, just released this year. The selection for April is, The Magdalene Gospel by Mary Ellen Ashcroft.

1 comment:

Mrs. Happy Housewife said...

My kids and I are reading Pride and Prejudice at bedtime. It really is a wonderful book and very funny.