Follies Past – A Review

April 9, 2014 at 4:34 pm (Reviews) (, , , , , , , , )

Follies_Past_book_cover_BrownTitle: Follies Past

Author: Melanie Kerr

Publisher: Petticoat Press

Genre: Historical fiction/ Classic spin-off

Length: 272 pages

“Follies Past” should be the name of the file folder for every other Jane Austen spin off, because this book blows them all out of the water.

This is by far the best Austen spin off I’ve had the pleasure of reading.  Most Pride & Prejudice sequels or prequels read like fan fiction, but Kerr has managed to construct a novel that reads like one of Austen’s own making.  It could very well have been a long lost manuscript of Jane’s, documenting the characters of Pride & Prejudice before they encounter the Bennets.

I was so happy reading this, I’ve always longed to get a bit more of Georgiana’s story.  Kerr does an excellent job of taking the small tidbits of information we know about characters and giving them a full and lush back story without straying from our vision of them.

I think Caroline Bingley was truly brought to life as well.  I both hate her more and less – how is that possible?  Through Darcy’s eyes:  “He ought to have known that a lady who is too sparkling and clever is also cunning and insolent and not to be trusted.”

Much is learned from Darcy’s perspective without the act of spelling everything out, something other books have done in diary form turning Darcy into an effeminate sap.  Instead, from Kerr, Darcy expresses himself naturally and in his own fashion: “Gibbon’s History is worth an entire library of your sentimental drivel.  The depth and breadth of his scholarship paints a picture of the Empire that may never be surpassed.  How can you compare such an achievement to your works of vapid sentiment.”

Kerr has stayed true to the characters, true to the time, and yet wielded a rich and elaborate story.  It’s beautiful and brilliant, and I cannot imagine an Austen fan who would not love it.

My one criticism is this: I ADORE the front cover of this book – but my first and continuous reaction is that it is not a cover that belongs on *this* book.  It’s a fun and awesome piece of art, I’d even hang it on my wall I like it so much, but it doesn’t truly portray what is within the pages.

Below, Miss Golightly is caught on film inspecting Kerr’s book.  She had the same reaction I did to the cover, “Oh I love that cover! Wait, her writing sounds like it could be Jane Austen! That’s incredible.  I’m a little confused by the cover now.”

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Five stars for the story.  Five stars for the cover art.  But only three stars for matching the cover art to the story.

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When Bookish Ones Get Engaged…

August 12, 2013 at 7:57 pm (Guest Blogger) (, , , , , , , )

It looks something like this:

When the Bookish Ones Get Engaged...

Matt & Nicole, Incandescently Happy

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Happy Birthday Pride & Prejudice

January 28, 2013 at 11:24 pm (Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , , )

Jane

“[…] Jane Austen is the greatest writer ever – because she was the first storyteller to make me care about an old-fashioned love story.”

Adam Jones

I have to say, I think Jane Austen is one of the greatest writers ever, but not because she was the first to make me care about old-fashioned love stories.  I always liked those.

In fact, the first time I read Pride & Prejudice I was too young to catch all the subtle things that make Austen great, I think.  I read the book because I thought Emma was funny. It’s easier to recognize the humor in Emma, P&P takes a few more reading years under your belt. At least it did for me.

What is so awesome about Jane Austen is that shallow readers may enjoy the romantic notions of it all (hence loving the books in elementary school when I was devouring them along side Anne of Green Gables) and still have more to offer as you age.  The greatest of writers can be enjoyed by the young and reveal themselves over time with multiple readings. I think I was twelve or thirteen before I realized that most of Austen’s work is pure satire and subtle hilarity.

The first sentence in the book- “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife”- proves to be a reversal of the truth (Austen 1). Instead, it is the women who seek a husband of good fortune, and attempt to gain his favor. These small reversals show Austen’s mastery of the language, and imply that what is often generally accepted and thought of is simply a fantasy.  – Jackson Pollock

Even though I adore the Bronte sisters, the mastery of language and social fantasy Pollock talks about is what makes Austen’s work accessible to a much wider audience. Wuthering Heights is all dark secrets and emotion, whereas Pride & Prejudice is social commentary, comedy, romance, and more.

Look at Darcy, the most introverted socially awkward geek of all time. The only reason he is considered desirable by such a wide array of women is because he has money and a pretty face.  Without those two things, he would be Sheldon Cooper of The Big Bang Theory. At least, that’s how I read him. Apparently, I’m not the only one or the movie made in 2005 starring Keira Knightley would have been a bit exasperating.  Instead, it has become a favorite on rainy sick days.

So Happy 200th Birthday Pride & Prejudice and well done, Jane.

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