The Disappearance of Georgiana Darcy by Regina Jeffers

The Disappearance of Georgiana Darcy by Regina Jeffers is a Pride & Prejudice mystery with heart and a devotion to Jane Austen’s characters as she envisioned them.  The beauty of this  novel is that it not only holds true to the original and what happened between the Bennets, the Darcys, and the Bingleys, but it also demonstrates that those characters can change and become more than Austen intended.

Georgiana has vanished among the moors in Scotland while she waits for her husband Major General Edward Fitzwilliam to return from fighting France at Waterloo, and her brother Mr. Darcy and his wife Elizabeth are preparing for the wedding of her younger sister Kitty.  The Darcys may be enjoying being new parents and building their small community of friends and family, but the Wickhams and Mrs. Bennet’s mischief are never too far away.

“For a brief second, Darcy’s brain told him that his vision had betrayed him.  It could not be George Wickham aiming one of the military’s best personal weapons at him, but he rejected that erroneous assumption immediately.  It was Wickham, and Darcy was the target.”  (Page 142)

Jeffers is true to the original characters, while intermingling the elements of gothic literature found in the prose of the Brontes.  She creates situations with new characters that generate serious suspense that will have readers on the edge of their seat about the safety of Georgiana.  Darcy is a loving husband, but he and his wife still have that back-and-forth banter that readers of Austen love.  But their relationship has matured, with an absence of misunderstandings and temper flare-ups that got them into hot water with one another in the first place.  Jeffers is at her best here with prose that keeps to the customs and diction of the past and mixes it seamlessly with modern sensibility.

“‘Elizabeth?’ Darcy asked eagerly as he stood mesmerized by his son’s antics.  ‘Have you seen what Bennet has accomplished?’

His wife joined him in his sitting room.  ‘What would that be?’ Her voice betrayed her amusement.

Darcy turned his head to glare at her.  ‘I suppose Bennet’s turning from his knees to his back is not a recent achievement?’

Although she attempted a sympathetic countenance, Elizabeth’s smile widened.  ‘If it is of any consequence, your son has only mastered the rotation in the last week.’

Darcy threw up his hands in frustration.  ‘That settles it! I refuse to be away from my family ever again.  Bennet grows too quickly as it is.  . . . ‘” (Page 394)

The novel pulls readers in easily, particularly with the mystery that leaves Georgiana’s captors and location a mystery until the latter quarter of the novel.  The technique of intermittently showing readers Georgiana’s thoughts and concerns about her location as her kin learn of the erroneous reports that reached her in Scotland and her subsequent disappearance are well done.  Jeffers also creates a set of villains that rival even Mr. Wickham, and the secrets revealed about the MacBethan family in Scotland will cause some readers to have nightmares or at least feel very uncomfortable.  The Disappearance of Georgiana Darcy shows that beloved characters can evolve, have adventures, and learn to forgive.

About the Author:

A teacher for nearly 40 years in the public school systems of three different states, Regina Jeffers is a Time Warner Star Teacher Award winner, a Martha Holden Jennings Scholar, a Columbus Educator Award winner, and a guest panelist for the Smithsonian. She served on various national educational committees and is often sought as a media literarcy consultant. Like many “snow birds,” Jeffers moved to the South several years ago. She is late to the publishing business, having written her first book on a dare from her students, who, literally said, “If you know all this, why do you not do it yourself?” On a whim, she self published her first book, and from there, everything happened at once. Now, writing for Ulysses Press in California, Jeffers is the author of several Jane Austen adaptations including Darcy’s Passions, Darcy’s Temptation, Vampire Darcy’s Desire, The Phantom of Pemberley, and Captain Wentworth’s Persuasion. She considers herself a Janeite – a member of the Jane Austen Society of North America and spends lots of her free time involved in such. Jeffers has now branched out into the Historical Romance genre. Her first book in the Realm series, The Scandal of Lady Eleanor, will be released in early 2011.

Mailbox Monday #173

Mailbox Mondays (click the icon to check out the new blog) has gone on tour since Marcia at A Girl and Her Books, formerly The Printed Page passed the torch. This month’s host is Cindy’s Love of Books.

Kristi of The Story Siren continues to sponsor her In My Mailbox meme.

Both of these memes allow bloggers to share what books they receive in the mail or through other means over the past week.

Just be warned that these posts can increase your TBR piles and wish lists.

Here’s what I received this week:

1.  The Disappearance of Georgiana Darcy by Regina Jeffers, which I received for review in May.

2. Every Possible Blue by Matthew Thorburn, whom I interviewed for 32 Poems.

From the library sale:

3. The Accompanist by Nina Berberova, which is a translated work from Russian.

4. An Irish Country Village by Patrick Taylore

5. City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

6. The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes

7. Reading in the Dark by Seamus Deane

8. A Tidewater Morning by William Styron

9. Band of Brothers by Stephen E. Ambrose

10. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Silver Chair by C.S. Lewis

11. The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian by C.S. Lewis

12. No, David! by David Shannon

13. Elmo’s ABC Book

14. Big Bird’s Color Game

15. Nighty, Night (the one we got at the library sale had Big Bird and Radar on it)

16. LeapFrog’s Monster Faces, which I’ve already read a dozen or so times to “Wiggles.”

What did you receive?