You may not know this, but I am slightly obsessed with Jane Austen and her characters. Almost as much as I am obsessed with Joss and his 'verse. Almost.
I crave that era; the romance, the propriety, the manners (oh, the manners), the politeness, the duties, the language. I read her books and for a moment, I am someone else, somewhere else. I yearn and then am saddened when I have to come back to reality.
My son and husband roll their eyes when I pop into the dvd, yet again, "Pride and Prejudice" (the good version: the BBC one with Colin Firth, not the Keira Knightly piffle) or Emma Thompson's "Sense & Sensibility."
There were books of Ms. Austen's I could not stand; "Mansfield Park." BLEGH! I was so happy for it to be over. "Northanger Abbey" is right at the bottom too.
I read the books and want more, but we'll never get more and it saddens me.
I started looking through the 'net, looking for more; other people's writings based off her works. I read reviews on some that were horribly written, some that were like soft porn. Jane would roll in her grave.
I read reviews of Pamela Aidan's books on Paperback Swap. The majority were good reviews. They thought Ms. Aidan did Jane proud, so I went and ordered the three from Paperback Swap.
The trilogy follows the life of Mr. Darcy through what is going on in "Pride & Prejudice." We see it all from his pov. His thoughts, his attitude, his absences are all explained because we are following him, not the Bennet family. It's great fun!
Book 1: "An Assembly Such as This", sets the stage for meeting Darcy when he arrives at Netherfield and what he does during his time there. We see what he thinks of Elizabeth, etc. We meet many behind-the -scenes people, including his extremely wise and funny valet, Fletcher. We also see his relationship with Georgiana in a closer light.
Book 2: "Duty and Desire" was a bit of filler for me, unfortunately. My least favorite of the three. It is written, on purpose states the author, in the Gothic sense (an homage to Catherine Morland's love of this style of writing, in "Northanger Abbey.") But it's the craziness and vileness of the upper crust in this book that opens Darcy's eyes to the fact that station and money really are not everything when looking for someone to love; when looking for people of character to befriend. The books takes place in the months that he is absent from P&P.
Book 3: "These Three Remain" wraps up the story. We see how the Darcy who proposed to Elizabeth is transformed to the man he is at the end of P&P. The man who treats Elizabeth's aunt and uncle with respect, the man who saves Lydia's reputation, the man who does anything for Elizabeth. We don't truly understand the transformation in P&P. Elizabeth certainly doesn't, but in this book, Ms. Aidan writes a satisfactory background story to show us how he is changed.
They're not grand novels, but they're good ones. Ms. Aidan's maiden voyage into writing was a success in my humble opinion. Although I forwarded the books in the Paperback Swap system, I think I will eventually buy them for myself, to put alongside Ms. Austen's books. For when I need my "fix."