Unseasonable weather helps cause a carriage accident at the opening of Joan’s Austen sequel, Lady Catherine’s Necklace:-
So begins Joan Aiken’s sequel to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice which is celebrating 200 years as one of the most popular novels of all time. A dangerous exercise, you might think, but instead of trying to follow the popular hero and heroine, this story instead takes up the highly unpopular Lady Catherine de Bourgh and her unfortunate daughter Anne to see what might become of them after Darcy has married Elizabeth and escaped to Pemberley. Giving Lady Catherine her come-uppance is a brilliant idea, and in fact the more we see of her, the more extraordinary she becomes… And Anne? Disappointed to lose Mr Darcy? You would think so, but Aiken has a whole other future in mind for her, as we see when we meet new characters, a pair of siblings – Ralph and Priscilla Delaval – who rival Mansfield Park’s Mary and Henry Crawford in their ability to charm and cause chaos in the hearts of everyone they meet.
As Jane Austen wrote, for the comfort of another heroine in her unfinished chapters of The Watsons, there is little better ’employment of mind and dissipation of unpleasant ideas’ ( or just distraction from endless chilly and unseasonable weather?) than to ‘thankfully turn to a book.’
This new hardback edition from Jonathan Cape at Random House is out now.
More to follow in the series, including Mansfield Revisited