Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Old Friends and New Fancies - Book Review

Old Friends and New Fancies
by Sybil G. Brinton.
Sourcebooks Inc (Illinois) 2007

This is a reprint of the first edition, written in 1913, and originally published in 1914 by Holden and Hardingham, London.

I was at the library this morning, and found another sequel to Jane Austen. But this one is different. This book is actually a sequel to ALL of her books.

At the front of the book is a list of characters - from all the books.
Bennetts, Darcys, Bingleys, Colonel Fitzwilliam, and Lady Catherine de Bourgh from Pride & Prejudice. And other characters such as the Grants, Yates, Bertram, Crawford and Price from Mansfield Park, Morlands and Tilneys from Northanger Abbey, Ferrars, Steeles and Mrs Jennings from Sense and Sensibility, the Elliots from Persuasion and Emma Woodhouse Knightly and her husband from Emma.

Now, to someone like me who has NOT read all of Jane Austens Books (I know Dad, I know she is your favourite, but she's just not my type), there is a lot of crowding, amd but eventually the story settles down to just 2 main story lines, with everyone else as hangers on and the Darcys as the main conduit for all the events that occur.

One reason for my willingness to read this was because of the Darcy story I read a few weeks ago, by which I became familiar with the characters and the language. I also like Elizabeth and Darcy, because they have been written as having good sensible heads on their shoulders, and are not given to flights of fantasy. Certainly not the way young Kitty Bennett is.

Anyway, the main aim of this novel is how to get Georgiana Darcy and Colonel Fitzwilliam married. At the beginning of this book they were engaged to each other, but are both becoming more and more unhappy. So it is with a sigh of relief that they agree to break off the engagement (with a little help from Elizabeth Darcy). Now Elizabeth must contrive to get both her relatives (Georgiana being her sister in law and Fitzwilliam, her husbands cousin) married off - not necessarily to each other.

Through misunderstandings, gossips, and scandals, fortuitous accidents and happenstances of being in the right place at the right time, this mission is eventually accomplished and the book ends with both Fitzwilliam, and Georgiana being engaged - not to each other. Kitty Bennet also gets her heart broken, because she misinterprets a gentlemans attentions.

Since this is a sequel to all of Austen’s novels, it would be a good idea to have read all of the books before you read this. At the very least, you should have a good familiarity with the scandal at Mansfield Park, the characters of Pride and Prejudice and the personalities of the characters from Sense and Sensibility before picking up Old Friends and New Fancies. From the Austen Blog

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I think I might read some of Austen's other books now. The only one I know that I have read is Pride and Prejudice - over 20 years ago - for an English class. This book I could not put down and read it in just 4 hours. I HAD to know what happened next.

I also read this for the Jane Austen Challenge, and now I am finished. I have seen one movie and read 2 books. (None of which was a Jane Austen Original).

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