Monday, February 8, 2010

Book two of the Fitzwilliam Darcy, A Gentleman Series.

In 2nd year university all the interesting course's started to open up to me, and with great excitement I took a Gothic Literature course. I took a Philosophy course, as well, which unfortunately did not go as well as the Gothic class (yes, my coffee table exists, I don't question it because I was the one who went to IKEA and bought it! So lets stop wasting our time on debating it's existence...sigh, what a waste of a term!!)

Considered sensational reading, and generally frowned upon in the 1800's (like all novels), they were still very popular and even today people generally know the names of the BIG ones like The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole, The Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcliffe, and of course the most famous one, by modern pop culture standards,Frankenstein  by Mary Shelley. Jane Austen herself has a Gothic parody that is well known to her fans, Northanger Abbey (Vintage Classics).

Pamela Aidan has written her second book in the Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman , series in the Gothic style. In a Q & A I read with her she mentions the book is "a tribute to Northanger Abbey " but since it doesn't at all parody the genre I would say this book falls nicely into the modern Gothic category which is often summed up with mystery, fainting women, a dangerous romance, old castles or abbeys with hidden passageways, and of course ancestral curses (which were biggies).

Darcy is finding himself still badly distracted by the thought of Elizabeth and decides that he must actively look for the woman to usurp her and make his wife, thereby performing his "Duty" to his family and name. This means social engagements with school chums, and vying debutantes of his social class, of which he's become completely put off by in his years out in the social hub bub of London.

Bringing him to his visit to Norwycke Castle.

The party turns out to be a social diorama including seven women and six gentlemen (other than himself), largely all fishing in the social sea for a "good catch" in the marriage market. Additionally the host is quickly on the way to a stupendous bankruptcy, there's a pervading mystery, a mob, and a dangerously beautiful woman who may be exactly what Darcy needs to forget Miss Bennett.

Throw in his funny and far too perceptive valet Fletcher, and you'll fly through this book. Make sure you have book three on hand, as you'll be impatient to start the final part... however will Darcy deal with the failure of his first marriage proposal??!

Duty and Desire: A Novel of Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman , By Pamela Aidan
Published by: Touchstone, October 2006

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