As I walked down the isles of my favorite bookstore, I happened upon a copy of Darcy and Anne by Judith Brocklehurst. There are no zombies, vampires, or sea monsters, though Lady Catherine could arguably qualify as a monster. However, Anne de Bourgh is a character who I imagine to have an interesting, if miserable perspective on life at Rosings with Lady Catherine. Now of course, much of this is inside my head as she is described as thin, sickly, cross looking, boring, and never is quoted as saying anything in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Still she is one of my favorite characters to imagine as there is so much room for imagining.
The bulk of the story takes place at Pemberley allowing us to peek in on Elizabeth and Darcy who are expecting their first child any day, Georgina and her companion Mrs. Annesley, Colonel Fitzwilliam who is recovering from war injuries, Mr. Bennet who comes to visit, as well as Mrs. Reynolds the doting housekeeper. There are also many new characters introduced. Everyone is described to give you an impression without creating detailed subplots to muddy the waters, though there are some sweet moments that do take place.
I found the book delightful, though without surprise. At only 190 pages Darcy and Anne is the perfect weekend read. The characters are rich enough to be interesting without being overly complex, as is the plot. Brocklehurst’s explanation for Anne’s sickliness makes good sense, as does the evolution from timid, sickly Anne to self-confident, healthy Anne. All that can be said for Lady Catherine is that her bed is made nightly within a gilded cage, which I’m sure we are all supposed to envy but lack the proper respect for the distinction of rank to do so.
Do you think that Lady Catherine qualifies as a monster?
*Photo: DSCN1042 by Waponi, obtained through Flickr.