What I’m Reading Now:
“I must now mention a circumstance which I would wish to forget myself, and which no obligation less than the present should induce me to unfold to any human being…”So begins Mr. Darcy to lay before Elizabeth his faithful narrative of Mr. Wickham’s villainy toward his sister, Georgiana. The facts he sets out are brief but potent. They contain a story unto themselves, and that story is the subject of this book.
Taking its facts from Austen’s own words, Follies Past opens almost a year before the opening of Pride and Prejudice itself, at Pemberley, at Christmas. Fourteen-year-old Georgiana has just been taken from school and is preparing to transfer to London in the spring. It follows Georgiana to London, to Ramsgate and into the arms of the charming and infamous Mr. Wickham.
To read this book is to step back into the charming world of Jane Austen’s England, to pass a few more hours with some of her beloved characters, sympathetically portrayed as they might have been before ever they came to Netherfield, and to discover a host of new characters each with engaging histories of their own. Authentic in its use of language and meticulously researched, it is a truly diverting entertainment.
While the description seems to suggest the book focuses on Georgiana, the beginning of the book is focused quite a bit on Caroline Bingley and I have to say I love it! I’m only on page 83 but already I have a number of pages booked marked. Here are some of my favorite things:
Lady Catherine’s impression of Caroline:
She found nothing in Caroline Bingley to inspire either alarm or praise. Her dress and her hair were suitable, but no more than suitable. (page 9)
Caroline’s first impression of Georgiana:
The elder girl mistook the purity of the younger girl’s heart for a ready and undiscerning affection, and the hesitancy in Georgiana’s manner led Caroline to believe that her opinions could be Easily dictated. She did not account for the powers of perception and discernment which Georgiana possessed. When Caroline was presented to her, Georgiana did not instantly dislike her, but was quick to note the condescending nature and forced intimacy of their first conversation. (page 10)
Georgiana finds a way to engage her cousin Ann in conversation:
My cousin, dearest Clare, is a closet naturalist! Due to her delicate health, she spends most of her time indoors. It seems that my cousin has made a constant study of all of the books on natural science in the De Bourgh’s extensive library. (page 44)
I can’t wait to see where this is going. Mr. Wickham has just met Caroline Bingley and I must say I never thought about the two of them interacting but Melaine Kerr has made them a perfect combination and I can’t see what they do next!
A full review will follow once I finish the book!