If you are a Caroline Bingley fan (and really, who isn't?) or you just want to keep that Pride and Prejudice bubble inflated with anything remotely Jane Autstenie...then you will enjoy taking a turn around the room with this story. If you are a P&P purist who will have a hard time seeing Elizabeth and Darcy relegated to barely supporting players...then this isn't the book for you.
Summary from the back of the book: "When Caroline Bingley collapses to the floor and sobs at Mr. Darcy's wedding, imagine her humiliation to discover that a stranger has witnessed her emotional display. Miss Bingley, understandably, resents this unknown gentleman very much, even if he is Mr. Darcy's American cousin."
Revisit vs. Rehash: A
Nit Picky Things: A-
Wonderful Moments: A
The moment I was hooked: A+
Language: Well written in modern language.
Characterization: Caroline is taken from a supporting character to the main one in this novel. In some ways, Monica Fairview presents Caroline in a similar and misunderstood way that Austen first presents Fitzwilliam Darcy.
Of all the Austen characters, Caroline is really the only minor one that I would care to read more about. (I remember seeing a follow up book about Jane Fairfax. I barely wanted to read about her in Emma...a whole other book, really?) And it is so interesting to see how so many different authors have taken Caroline's character and made her darker, more conniving, have a total reversal of feelings or find true love. But so far, this is the first book I have read that shows her as misunderstood due to her station in life, expectations and social constraints.
I quite enjoyed Robert Darcy's character. He reminds me of a mixture of Fitzwilliam Darcy and Col. Fitzwilliam.
The problems: Col. Fitzwilliam, Darcy and Elizabeth all feel a little unfamiliar. Everyone calls Elizabeth Eliza. Even her family. It isn't totally wrong but it isn't right. (To my recollection, only Caroline called Elizabeth Eliza in Pride and Prejudice. Her family called her Lizzy or Elizabeth.)
Not totally wrong but not quite right is how Elizabeth, Darcy, Georgianna and Col. Fitzwilliam all felt in this book. Fortunately, they aren't in there a lot, so the discomfort is minor.
Plot: The plot reminded me of romantic comedies I have seen before. And it reminded me a little bit of Pride and Prejudice. But I didn't seem to care. The story moved along quickly. The conversation was lively. The situations were at times a little too complicated...but the humor kept me happy.
"As I said before, I do not think we move in exactly the same circles." (Caroline)
"I hope I do not move in circles at all," said Robert Darcy.
It isn't Shakespeare, or Austen, but it made me laugh.
Problem: I can overlook the character irregularities, but there was a scene where Fitzwilliam Darcy allowed Georgianna to be around Wickam. No one seemed to think anything about it. Considering she couldn't even continue playing the piano upon hearing his name mentioned in P&P, it seems too weird for her to be around him in any situation.
Rehash or Revisit: No rehashing.
Nit Picky Things: Fitzwilliam calls Georgianna Georgie and she playfully calls him Fitz. I like to see them as close siblings, but I also think propriety was not lost completely.
Wonderful Little Moments: Once again, we have a Darcy gentleman emerging, white shirt clad, from a body of water on the grounds of Pemberley. A funny nod to the 1995 Pride and Prejudice BBC/A&E movie.
Originality: The best development of Carline Bingley's character I have read so far (out of about 11 or so follow up books). While I might have recognized the plot, it felt original in this context.
The moment I was hooked: The first page. The prologue really pulled me in.
If this were a movie, I think it would be rated PG. It is pretty clean.
Not the best follow up book - but certain the top of the middle. And is it really fair to compare it to books that are all about Elizabeth and Darcy? It was a fun read. And I recommend fun.