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Mr. Darcy’s Little Sister by C. Allyn Pierson

C. Allyn Pierson‘s Mr. Darcy’s Little Sister is full of intrigue and societal maneuvering as Georgiana, Mr. Darcy’s sister, prepares for her presentation and first Season.  The novel begins just as Georgiana learns of her brother’s engagement to Elizabeth, and she worries that her new sister will not like her.  In Pierson’s novel, Georgiana is full of teen worries about who will like her and how she will be judged for her actions — no matter how mundane.

Coupled with a few shifts in point of view by the omniscient narrator, accomplished through breaks in the chapters or through diary entries from Georgiana, readers not only experience Miss Darcy’s anxieties, but also the concern her new sister, Elizabeth, and her brother feel as she nears adulthood and possible marriage.

“He looked over at his sister, who was across the room talking to Jane by the fireplace, and his expression softened.  Elizabeth’s eyes followed his gaze.  Georgiana’s light brown hair glowed golden in the firelight and her eyes looked as green and limpid as water.  They twinkled at the outer corners when she smiled, as she did now at something Jane was saying.”  (Page 44 of ARC)

Pierson wonderfully sets each scene with detailed imagery of the characters, their dress, and their homes.  Each detail serves to create an atmosphere of regency society, and the expectations of that society on young women.  However, in some cases, the narrative gets bogged down in flowery details of gowns and other elements, which can detract from the action and intrigue in the later portions of the novel.

Readers spend a good third of the novel getting to know Georgiana and her role in as Mr. Darcy’s sister, and her new role as sister-in-law to Elizabeth.  While Pierson does well examining these relationships given what little is seen of Georgiana in Jane Austen’s original work, her Georgiana is often a petulant child in a young woman’s body.  Readers may find her anxieties and reactions to events over the top or out of character with the Georgiana they remember from Austen’s novel.  However, the author does an excellent job evolving her character into a strong and decisive young woman.

Overall, Mr. Darcy’s Little Sister is about the societal expectations placed on wealthy and lower class, young women during the regency period.  Whether upholding their honor or engaging in activities out of a sense of duty, these women steeled themselves against prying and disproving eyes and held their heads high in times of adversity.  Georgiana may not start off as the young woman that readers expect, but she sure blossoms into a refined and dignified young lady.

About the Author:

C. Allyn Pierson is the nom-de-plume of a physician, who has combined her many years of interest in the works of Jane Austen and the history of Regency England into this sequel to Pride and Prejudice. She lives with her family and three dogs in Fort Dodge, Iowa.

Special thanks to the author and Sourcebooks for sending me a copy of the book for review.

***If you’ve missed the giveaway for this novel, please check out Pierson’s guest post and the giveaway details for US/Canada readers. ***

This is my 43rd book for the 2010 New Authors Reading Challenge.

This is my 6th book for the Jane Austen Challenge 2010.

This is my 2nd book for the Everything Austen II Challenge.

C. Allyn Pierson’s Inspiration for Mr. Darcy’s Little Sister

C. Allyn Pierson, author of Mr. Darcy’s Little Sister available from Sourcebooks, recently agreed to share with my readers not only her inspiration for the novel, but also her initial thoughts about Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen upon first reading it.

Mr. Darcy’s Little Sister focuses on Georgiana as she blossoms into a young woman from a small girl growing up under her brother’s care and the many changes that can bring.  Stay tuned for my review tomorrow, Sept. 3.

Additionally, the publisher is offering my US/Canada readers an opportunity to win Pierson’s book and read it for themselves.  Check out those details after the guest post.

Without further ado, please give C. Allyn Pierson a warm welcome.

Like many people, I read Pride and Prejudice in school and I liked it, but somehow it didn’t really click with me, probably because of the outdated language.  Then, when my children were young, we hired au pairs from England to care for them because we had difficulty finding suitable care for our younger son, who has autism.  Au pairs are only allowed to stay for a year so we went through quite a number of them, but our third was a big Austen fan.  She not only induced me to reread all of Austen’s major works, she introduced me to the 1995 BBC version of Pride and Prejudice and gave me the book about the making of the series and I was hooked!

For a number of years I read and reread Austen’s works and I would pick up new insights with every reading.  Finally I decided to try Pamela Aiden’s three book series telling the P&P story from Darcy’s point of view.  Although I enjoyed her book very much, I found that I had very strong feelings about how the characters in Pride and Prejudice were developing and my opinion was different than Ms. Aiden’s.  It was not quite a stroke of lightning, but I suddenly wanted to write the story of what I felt happened after Darcy and Elizabeth married. I wrote in secret, when my husband was working or playing tennis, and did not tell anyone what I was doing because I did not know if I would actually finish it.  I was rather tied at home since my younger son went to bed early and could not be left alone, and it was a perfect situation for writing.

When I finally decided to publish I knew that my stumbling efforts were not ready to interest a traditional publisher, so I decided to self-publish with iUniverse.  At that point I needed to let my husband know I was going to be spending some significant money to publish. My husband and I have a standing date on Tuesdays and I picked one evening to tell him that I had written a book.  He was absolutely flabbergasted (and let me tell you it is not easy to bring an eye surgeon to a complete standstill!), but, after a long, disbelieving pause, said, “You might just be able to sell that” and encouraged me to move ahead on publication.

Living in a small town, I did not have a lot of contacts with other writers or teachers who were experienced in publishing so I purchased the editing services I needed from iUniverse and basically used the various editors as my teachers.  Not surprisingly, the manuscript evolved over time and became more and more Georgiana’s story, since the first year of the Darcys’ marriage would include Georgiana’s coming of age.  I was pleased with the final book and it caught the eye of an agent, and the rest is history…

Thanks so much for sharing your inspiration with us, C. Allyn Pierson.

About the Author:

C. Allyn Pierson is the nom-de-plume of a physician, who has combined her many years of interest in the works of Jane Austen and the history of Regency England into this sequel to Pride and Prejudice. She lives with her family and three dogs in Fort Dodge, Iowa.

Giveaway details:

2 copies of Mr. Darcy’s Little Sister are up for grabs.  Sorry, US/Canada residents only.

1.  Leave a comment about your first impressions of Pride & Prejudice.

2.  Blog, Tweet, Facebook, etc. for a second entry.

Deadline is Sept. 17, 2010, at 11:59 PM EST.