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Tillabooks: Will's Book Blog

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Duty and Desire by Pamela Aidan

Duty and Desire: A Novel of Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman by Pamela Aidan. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2004. ISBN: 978-0-7432-9136-1

Here's the sequel to An Assembly Such as This, this being the middle volume in Pamela Aidan's trilogy retelling the story of Jane Austin's Pride and Prejudice, told from Darcy's perspective. This volume is a little less satisfying than the first, if only because it is less directly based on anything in the original.

In Pride and Prejudice, we aren't really told too much about what Darcy is up to after he and Bingley leave Netherfield. So Ms. Aidan is pretty much at leisure to make it up as she goes, and this is pretty much what she's done.

Darcy is determined to try and forget Elizabeth Bennett, so after visiting his sister and catching up with business on his family estate, he heads off into society, hoping to perhaps find other more suitable candidates for the role of Mrs. Darcy, since it is unquestionably high time for him to settle down and see to creating a family.

And so, left to the mercy of Ms. Aidan's creative fancies, we find ourselves in the midst of an undeniably gothic style adventure, where someone is attempting to meddle with fate, using old-fashioned methods that more than border on the occult. Charms, potions, even animal sacrifices in an old circle of standing stones—all this occurring on the estate of another great house where Darcy is spending his time, engaged in the company of his peers.

A beautiful woman is involved, and Darcy finds himself more than slightly attracted, but ultimately, his memory of the incomparable Elizabeth helps him stave off what would have been an ultimately unsuitable and unfortunate match.

At the end of the book, we find Darcy in a coach, on his way to visit his Aunt Catherine, where we know, all too well, he is next fated to once again meet his nemesis, Miss Elizabeth Bennet. That encounter must remain for the third and final volume, said to be coming out in January of 2007. This second volume is strongly recommended for all Pride and Prejudice fans who enjoyed the first one.

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