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review 2018-02-23 14:57
A joy of a novel recommended to fans of Pride and Prejudice. Excellent for book clubs.
The Elizabeth Papers - Jenetta James,Christina Boyd,Zorylee Diaz-Lupitou

I was introduced to the work of this author via a collection of stories called Dangerous to Know: Janes Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues Ed. by Christina Boyd, which I loved, and had also read a number of reviews of this novel, as it had won the Rosie’s Book Team Review award for historical fiction 2016, and I am a member of the group but hadn’t read it at the time. When the editor of the collection offered to put me in touch with some of the authors featured, I jumped at the opportunity and was lucky enough that Ms. James offered me an ARC copy of her book.

I’ve seen this book defined as a ‘sequel’ of Pride and Prejudice, and I guess in some way it is, as it follows on from the events on that novel, and we get to revisit quite a few of the characters in the previous one (especially Elizabeth Darcy, née Bennett, Fitzwilliam Darcy, and their family, although also Elizabeth’s sisters, mother, and Darcy’s sister Georgiana, and his friends and relatives). The story goes beyond that, moving across several generations, and the storyline is divided into two timelines, one in the Regency period (in the 1820s) and one much more recent, 2014. In the present time, we meet Evie, a young painter preparing her first exhibition and coping as best she can with a tragic family situation, and Charlie, a private detective, handsome, charming (yes, he would have fitted into the role of a rogue if he was a character in the other timeframe), and unencumbered by concerns about morality, who is asked to dig into a possible irregularity in the terms of a trust fund set up a couple of centuries ago. The case sounds like a wild-goose chase, but Charlie is intrigued, at first by the case, and later by Evie.

The author alternates chapters that share Elizabeth’s diary, written in the first person (and some of Darcy’s ‘official’ letters), with chapters set up in the present, from Evie’s and Charlie’s points of view, but written in the third person (there are some later chapters from other minor character’s point of view, that help round the story up and give us a larger perspective). This works well because readers of Pride and Prejudice (and, in my case, it’s my favourite Jane Austen’s novel) will already be familiar with the characters and will jump right into the thoughts and feelings of Elizabeth. I felt as if I had stepped back into the story, and although the events are new (as they happen after the couple has been married for a few years); I felt they fitted in perfectly with the rest of the narrative, and the characters were consistent and totally believable. Yes, they love each other. Yes, Darcy is still proud and headstrong at times. Elizabeth is aware of her family’s shortcomings and wonders at times why her husband puts up with her relations. She also doubts herself and can be annoyed at what she perceives as Darcy’s lack of communication. With all their humanity and their imperfections, they feel so true to the characters Austen created that they could have come out of her pen.

The modern part of the story provides a good reflection on how things have changed for the family, the house, and society in general. It also allows us to think about family, legacy, and heritage. How many family secrets have been buried over the years! While the characters have only a few traces and clues to follow, the readers have the advantage of accessing Elizabeth’s diary, but the truth is not revealed until very late in the novel (although I suspect most of us would have guessed, at least the nature of the truth, if not the details), and however convinced we might be that we are right, can one ever be sure about the past?

The writing is perfectly adapted to the style of the era, not jarring at all, and the historical detail of the period is well observed and seamlessly incorporated into the story (rather than shoehorned in to show the extent of the author’s research). The author’s observational skills are also put to great use in the modern story, and create a vivid and vibrant cast and background for the events. The pace and rhythm of the novel alternate between the contemplative moments of the characters, in the past and the present (emotions run high and characters question their behaviour and feelings), and the excitement of the search for clues and the discovery of new documents and evidence. The settings are brought to life by the author, and I particularly enjoyed visiting London with the modern day characters. Although there are love and romance, there are no explicit sex scenes, and, in my opinion, the book is all the better for it.

A couple of lines I highlighted:

To know him so well and still to be touched by him in darkness and light is surely the greatest fortune of all.

While fans of Austen will, no doubt, enjoy the parts set in the XIX century, the modern section of the novel is an attractive mystery/romance in its own right. I am not a big fan of love-at-first-sight stories, and I must warn you that there is some of that here, at least for Charlie, who is mesmerised by Edie from the very first time he meets her, but he does not have the same effect on her. In fact, he has information about her already (it is not a situation of love is blind), and he is taken by surprise as she is not what he expected. As we learn more about both of their stories, it is easy to see why he would feel attracted to her and her circumstances, as they are quite similar to his own. He was pushed into a business of dubious morality to help his family, and she has also had to cope with family tragedy, but in her case, she had the advantage of the Darcy Trust Fund. They are not copycats of Darcy and Elizabeth, but they complement each other well and bring out the best in each other. The rest of the characters in the modern era don’t play big roles but they are endowed with individual touches that make them relatable and distinctive.

The ending is left to the observation of one of the minor characters, allowing for readers to use their imagination rather than elaborate the point.

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel that is beautifully written, with compelling characters (I fell in love with Elizabeth and Darcy once again) and a joy for any of Austen’s fans. I don’t think it is necessary to be a connoisseur of Pride and Prejudice to enjoy this novel (as most people are bound to have seen, at least, an adaptation of the story, and there are references to the main plot points scattered throughout the book) but my guess is that many people who read it will go back and read Austen again. And will look forward to more of James’s books. I surely will.

(Ah, the book has a series of questions and answers at the end that makes it an eminently suitable read for book clubs).

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review 2015-05-28 17:15
A good Travel guide but may not be that good for a fiction
Deadline Yemen (the Elizabeth Darcy Series) - Peggy Hanson


First of all a huge thanks to P.J. Nunn and the author with her team for providing me with the copy of the book


Deadline Yemen to me personally, was a great source to learn about Yemen, its culture, the people and the lifestyle from a westerner’s point of view. It is quite evident that the author is partial towards the country. Her love for the culture and Yemen in whole is spread all through the book. Maybe that is where she loses her audience because somewhere between explaining and painting a picture of Yemen, she loses focus and main purpose of the book which is the story that she had planned to tell.


The book lags through a whole lot of details and missing out on the essential ones required to tell us what exactly is going on in the book. Sadly the book only comes to the main point in the last few chapters and that too gets treated pretty harshly and roughly, that we miss out on the action and the details


But if you treat the book as a travelogue or a traveler’s memoir then i think this book will be a great guide to know about Yemen and its people but as a thriller it is nowhere around attaining its goal and in fact it dulls the narration with incorporation of a whole lot of characters that keep popping without warning and blurs even faster than the blink of the eye


The first half is literally dragging with travel guide and technicalities losing out on the story at hand and the second half rushes too quickly through the actual story that one fails to notice when the story got pace and even ended but while this is the case i think the author does paint a vivid and detailed picture of Yemen but unfortunately that was not the purpose of the book . Also i felt the book was lengthy and lost in the maze of details

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video 2014-08-01 14:16
Darcy & Elizabeth: A Season of Courtship (Darcy Saga Prequel Duo) - Sharon Lathan,Gretchen Stelter
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review 2014-07-09 03:32
ARC of Starstruck by Nicole Ciacchella
Starstruck - 'Nicole Ciacchella', 'Elizabeth Darcy'

Le sigh…


This is your typical boy has been in love with girl since forever. Girl is dumb and blind. Boy becomes successful actor, girl becomes a single mom.


Don’t believe me? Check out the description…


Lex Harrington is living a stranger’s life. After high school, she and her boyfriend, superstar quarterback Brad Wakefield, headed off to college, secure in the knowledge of their brilliant future. Then an injury ended Brad’s football career, and he convinced Lex to drop out of school and return home with him, where everything fell apart.


Because the glossy surface of their relationship concealed a dark truth: years of emotional abuse culminating in Brad’s walking out on Lex and their infant son. At twenty-three, she’s a single mother with no future prospects, struggling to make ends meet while dealing with the aftermath of her destructive marriage.


When Jaron Richards left for college, he vowed he’d never look back. Brad laid waste to his friendship with Lex, leaving nothing to bind Jaron to his hometown. But his unrequited love for Lex has never faded, even as his star has begun to rise, making him Hollywood’s hottest new actor.


Now Jaron is back in town to film his latest movie, and his presence stirs up everything Lex would rather forget. Can they find a way to pick up the pieces and build a future together?



Starstruck held me enough to finish the book but not much else. I picked it up and put it down half a dozen times. I liked Jaron, he had the patience of a freaking saint… Me, I would have given up. I understood Lex’s apprehension in getting involved with someone, but for the love of all that is holy, she has known Jaron for years. They were best friends at one point. Hence the reason I couldn’t sit there and read it consistently, emotional whiplash at its finest.


I could have taken Starstruck or left it. It was meh for me.



This ARC was provided by Sweenix Rising Books via NetGalley in exchange for a honest review

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photo 2014-04-24 20:08

Batgrl's commentary: See that illustration of Elizabeth and Darcy - the one at the top? Randomly, there's a footstool at the bottom of the drawing which seems to take up a lot of art-space for no real reason, since the footstool isn't involved in the discussion. Er, not that I wanted to comment on footstools - that just sort of happened. It's an odd placement though.


Back to the point! That's the image in the hardcover book of Pride and Prejudice that I grew up with. The book belonged to family member, I think (could be a product of a used book sale somewhere) - there's no date in it.The book's title page says New York, Thomas Y. Crowell Co. Publishers. I'll have to post photos of the cover later - it's a very understated, art deco-ish looking design of faded green and gold on a grey background.


The reason you're seeing these illustrations used in this infograph is because the British Library has posted them on Flickr, along with many other illustrations from classic novels, and they're all public domain. (It's a fabulous resource if you're into collage and/or decoupage!) Here's some links:


The full set of Pride and Prejudice Illustrations (not in order as they happened, plotwise)




The Elizabeth and Darcy Image I'm referring to.

Title: "Pride and prejudice"

Author: Austen, Jane

Contributor: Brock, C. E. (Charles Edmund)

Contributor: Dobson, Austin

Place of Publishing: enk

Date of Publishing: 1895

Publisher: Macmillan & Co.


So here's the thing - Thomas Crowell (publisher of my book) was sold (eventually) to Harper & Row which became Harper Collins - and I can't see that it was snagged by Macmillan. (My usual resource for who owns what doesn't mention Cowell publishers.) So I'm not sure about the publication of this set of illustrations. Or maybe it was used by more than one publisher? (Hop in if and tell me if you have any links or info!) Oh well, at least I now have more information on the illustrator, Charles Edmund Brock. Here's a link to some of Brock's illustrations for other Austen novels and some more biography. And here's Brock's P&P illustrations in watercolor (and here are more!) - a few similar scenes, but different arrangements (just to give you another view of the couple).


This was the first art I'd seen of Elizabeth and Darcy, and I remember thinking how incredibly stuffy he looked. (See also this illustration. Where you can get a close look at men's dancing shoes - or slippers. Which look exactly like some I had in high school, another giggleworthy thought.) I think a lot of that pompousness (aside from the fact that the artist is trying to show that) is attributable to the fashion in neckties of the time which made all the men look like their necks were as wide as their skulls. Anyway, neither character looked as I had imagined them. Except for the illustrations of Mr. Collins, which are really fun: here and here. Although Darcy (2nd link) did not have a monocle in the book!

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