The Darcy Cousins by M. Fairview

Historical Fiction is one of my favorite genres, so when I was asked to review The Darcy Cousins by Monica Fairview, I was interested to see if it fit the category, or if it was just another fluffy romance novel set inaccurately in the past.

A young lady in disgrace should at least strive to behave with decorum…

Dispatched from America to England under a cloud of scandal,
Mr. Darcy’s incorrigible American cousin, Clarissa Darcy, manages to provoke Lady Catherine de Bourgh, Mr. Collins, and the parishioners of Hunsford all in one morning!

And there are more surprises in store for that bastion of tradition, Rosings Park, when the family gathers for their annual Easter visit. Georgiana Darcy, generally a shy model of propriety, decides to take a few lessons from her unconventional cousin, to the delight of a neighboring gentleman. Anne de Bourgh, encouraged to escape her “keeper” Mrs. Jenkinson, simply…vanishes. But the trouble really starts when Clarissa and Georgiana both set out to win the heart of the same young man…

The premise of The Darcy Cousins is that it is the continuing saga of the classic novel Pride and Prejudice. I was hesitant since rarely does a sequel hold a candle to a classic novel written over one hundred years ago. I also don’t usually like to read a sequel to a book before reading the first in a series because you tend to miss pertinent aspects of the story. However, since the novels were written by different authors, released so many years apart, I thought I would give it a chance. The Darcy Cousins did not disappoint.

The characters in The Darcy Cousins are well written and develop nicely as the story progresses. The main character is Georgiana Darcy, who is approaching her coming out season, and seems to be an eager yet somewhat prim young lady. The arrival of her two cousins from America under the cloak of controversy introduces Georgiana to a more open and boisterous way of life. This goes against all her finishing school ideals as to how a young lady of nineteenth century England should act. Trouble begins when Georgiana and her brother Mr. Darcy, his wife Elizabeth (both characters from the original classic), and the American cousins visit Lady Catherine de Bourgh. Lady Catherine is a very prim, proper and wealthy English lady, who despises any deviation from what she believes are the rules of society.

Georgiana and her American cousin Clarissa are both interested in the same English gentleman and both set out to capture his attention in their own way. Clarissa is running from a scandal in America, and her wild ways provide several adventures for Georgiana. In the end, Georgiana finds love, Clarissa is vindicated and all is well with the world.

I was extremely impressed with the way Fairview weaves the story to capture the reader’s attention. This novel does not contain fantasy, violence, technology, fancy gimmicks, sex, or any of the typical fall backs used by authors to grab the audience. The author uses old fashioned, tried and true storytelling, and this is a wonderful story. I was impressed with how a simple story could be so intriguing, using the historical backdrop effectively and accurately to keep the reader captivated.

Those who know me understand that I always seem to find an obscure point in a book that stays with me as I read. There was one aspect in The Darcy Cousins that annoyed me to some extent, and that is the woman characters all have a strange obsession with hats. I assume this is a nineteenth century aspect of the English society woman, however, after reading about multiple instances of buying, preening, modifying, wearing, and fluffing, I never want to wear another hat.

That nit pick aside, The Darcy Cousins held my interest and I thoroughly enjoyed this truly unique novel that weaves a tale, rather than jerks a reader through as do so many of the books catering to the fast-paced, short attention spans of today’s world.

The Darcy Cousins portrays itself as part of a continuing saga, but it stands on its own very nicely. This novel enticed me to read Pride and Prejudice in order to pick up the nuances of the story of Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth. I would recommend this book to those who like a good historical romance story, not a trashy novel or a flashy give and go that leave the reader unsatisfied.

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