The book is the second in a series of sequels to 'Pride and Prejudice'. Here's the blurb:
The preparations for Elizabeth’s birth and the beginning of Georgiana’s married life do not go as smoothly as either of them would wish, and they must each consider an alternate legacy for Pemberley, as they encounter opposite sides of the same “what if?”
Meanwhile, for the first time, Mary Bennet finds herself romantically interested in a man, but will her own character and his family get in her way?
A story of love and family; the sequel to A Constant Love.
This is book 2 in the ‘Constant Love’ series. The first book in the series, ‘A Constant Love’, is a sequel to Jane Austen’s ‘Pride & Prejudice’ and ‘A Change of Legacies’ picks up not long after the end of the previous book. Since this book is a sequel, there may be some spoilers for the first book of the series, but I have tried to keep things as spoiler free as possible. You can see my review of the first book here.
In book 1 we saw more of Kitty and Georgiana, as those two ladies were launched into society by the new Mrs Darcy. I was particularly keen to catch up with Kitty, because she was just lovely. I was less fond of Georgiana and the first part of ‘A Change of Legacies’ particularly focuses on her. Since this is a family saga-type story, I was expecting to follow the various characters through the next stages of their lives and instead this book took a different turn. Instead of presenting just the events we get some speculation on what could have happened if past events had unfolded differently. Georgiana is happy in her life, but she has begun to have dreams featuring George Wickham; specifically, she has recurring nightmares that instead of confessing her elopement plan to her brother while she was at Ramsgate, instead she allowed Wickham to convince her to elope. We all know from ‘Pride & Prejudice that Wickham’s chief object was unquestionably Georgiana’s fortune and so, once the knot is tied he would have no need to be kind to her - in Georgiana’s dreams, he is not kind to her at all – she is merely a captive, held while Wickham tries to negotiate for her dowry. This alternate dream storyline provides an interesting reminder of the rights of women in the period (i.e. very limited). Personally, I think that if Wickham had succeeded in eloping with Georgiana he’d have been careful to keep the charm up, show her off in public and try and force Darcy to accept him through gritted teeth as a brother and an equal, but this is Georgiana’s subconscious at play, not mine!
Although this is generally a saga-style story and therefore not filled with overly-dramatic events, the dream events are quite dramatic and these, coupled with another circumstance (I’m trying not to spoil anything here, hence the vagueness!) led me to be concerned enough about the fate of one of the characters that I had to peep ahead to check that the book wouldn’t be taking a sinister turn! Georgiana confides in Elizabeth of the dreams, resulting in Elizabeth having dreams of her own where she imagines the difference a successful elopement for Georgiana might have had on her past with Darcy.
By this time, Georgiana has joined the family at Pemberley. The Bingleys are staying with the Darcys while the former’s new manor house is being constructed. It’s quite a fair size house party, often including further sisters, which gives us a chance to catch up with them, and see how far they have come. Unfortunately, we don’t get a great deal of Kitty time (or Catherine, as she now prefers to be known). However, we get to see Mary, and how she is changing. Through the influence of a family connection of Georgiana’s, Mary comes to see herself afresh, and it’s a somewhat painful experience:
“His idea of being a Christian is in thinking himself more pious than anyone else, and entirely without sin. There is no kindness and no generosity in his Christianity, and certainly no forgiveness; he shall cast the first stone, every time.”
His words cut through Mary painfully, for she recognised in them the way she had thought of herself all these years.Poor Mary! But although it’s unpleasant to look at yourself and find something wanting, realising that is an important step in changing and Mary continues to become a more pleasant companion. It’s good to see her come into flower.
My favourite characters are always Darcy and Elizabeth, and we get some time with them here. There are some lovely interchanges between them:
“Fitzwilliam Darcy, sometimes I regret that I taught you to teaze so well,” she said.
“You could not help it, even if you tried. Someone who is by nature so good at teasing must necessarily teach those close to her, so long as they are receptive to the teaching.”If you like a saga-style story and enjoyed the first book in the series I should think you’d enjoy this read too. At the end of the previous book there were some story threads which hadn’t been resolved, but this is not the case with this book so there aren’t many leads on where the story will head in the next instalment, but when the time comes I’ll be interested to see where Sophie Turner will take her characters next. I’d rate this as a 4 star read.