Published by Prism Publishers Buy on Amazon
Today I am thrilled to welcome Meg Kerr to Just Jane 1813. Ms. Kerr has stopped by to visit with us to explain a little of the background behind her storytelling decisions as she wrote Experience and Devotion, which are her two consecutive sequels to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.
It’s my pleasure to share with you below this part of a video interview of Ms. Kerr:
I love watching these video clips to learn more about the decisions behind Ms. Kerr’s writing process for this series. I am also happy to share below with my readers a synopsis for this story and my review for Devotion, the second Pride and Prejudice sequel written by Ms. Kerr.
In this sequel to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, Georgiana Darcy, now twenty years old and completely lovely, is ripe for marriage. Her brother has carefully selected her future husband, but the arrival of a long-delayed letter, and a secret journey, bring Georgiana into the arms of an utterly wicked and charming young man whose attentions promise her ruin. At the same time, events in Meryton are creating much-needed occupation for Mrs. Bennet and a quandary for Lydia Bennet’s girlhood companion Pen Harrington; and the former Caroline Bingley is given — perhaps — an opportunity to re- make some of her disastrous choices. Meg Kerr, writing effortlessly and wittily in the style of Jane Austen, sweeps the reader back to the year 1816 for a reunion with many beloved characters from Pride and Prejudice and an introduction to some intriguing characters.
Meg Kerr’s Pride and Prejudice sequel series allows readers to take a closer look into the lives of many of the supporting characters from Jane Austen’s beloved story while at the same time she incorporates a lot of Austen’s writing style and tone in her own stories. I did have the opportunity to read Experience before I read Devotion, and since the events of these stories are cumulative, I recommend that readers begin by reading Experience before they venture into reading Devotion. For readers who haven’t read Experience, my review will contain spoilers that you may prefer to avoid before reading Experience.
The events in Devotion pick up right where they left off in Experience, and Miss Georgiana Darcy is still mourning the loss of George Wickham. Even though Georgiana wasn’t married to George, she feels a greater share of sorrow in regards to George’s demise than his widow, Lydia Wickham has experienced for herself, especially since Lydia has moved on and remarried in the hopes of remaking her life. Georgiana, however, is still a young lady under her brother’s protection and we know how protective Darcy is of her after her initial escapades with George Wickham.
Actually, Darcy is so protective and a bit overbearing with his responsibilities towards her that he actually accepts a suitor for Georgiana, an older man named William Brooke, without informing her of his decision. Little does this gentleman know that Georgiana is not prepared to become his wife, leaving everyone in a rather awkward position. This would have become an even larger problem had Georgiana stuck around to get to know her suitor, but alas, that is really not meant to be for now.
But one vital person who is not deceased has other nefarious plans for Miss Georgiana Darcy and it is the schemes of Mrs. Selina Younge that set into motion the particulars of Georgiana’s story. Being in possession of an item that may convince Georgiana to travel to Brussels with her, Mrs. Younge displays the rights amounts of sympathy and persuasion to gain Georgiana’s trust, while at the same time piquing the young girl’s curiosity. Oh, why can’t her brother and sister understand her the way that Mrs. Younge does?
As the Old Testament states, “A leopard can’t change its spots,” and before the ladies have time to get acquainted with their new location, Mrs. Younge spies a handsome, young man to scheme with in return for part of Georgiana’s fortune. Before long, a deal is made between the two of them. However, John Amaury is not a man to be led around by his nose, as he has some schemes of his own in place for Miss Darcy and he’s not about to let Mrs. Younge call all of the shots. Will something so foolish as an elopement occur in Brussels? How can Georgiana Darcy really fall for such nefarious schemes again?
Back on English soil, Darcy searches frantically for his sister, while attempting to keep her disappearance as quiet as possible. Frantic with concern, he does everything that he can to reclaim his sister, but will he really be so fortunate to recover her once again before she makes a decision that could change their lives forever? My heart really ached for the Darcys!
Ms. Kerr also picks her other storylines up from where they left off, which includes the marriage between Sir Henry and Lady Mallinger, née Caroline Bingley, who were united in a matrimonial “partnership” that would bring them both what they most desired; a title for her and English heirs for him. However, the honeymoon period extinguished quite rapidly and as a woman living an empty life, Lady Mallinger feels the brutal consequences of her decisions as her husband is typically away, traveling the Continent with friends and playing the role of the passionate husband to his Italian mistress and their four children. Did she really think that a title and wealth would bring her happiness in her daily life? Maybe, if she hadn’t denied herself the one true love in her life. Can there be any hope between them after all of this time?
Meanwhile, some things really never change, where back in Meryton, Mrs. Bennet can be heard crowing once again, “My dear Mr. Bennet,” said she exhibiting a degree of fulfilment commensurate with having executed the lease and bestowed the keys of the house with her own hands, “have you heard that new tenants have come down to Netherfield Park?” Once again, the rental that’s been heard around the world, sets into motion a new storyline in the lives of the residents of Meryton when the new inhabitants of Netherfield Park meet the residents of Meryton.
This time, Mrs. Bennet, a woman whose own daughters have married beyond even her greatest expectations, tries to play matchmaker for Penelope Harrington. Naturally, Mrs. Bennet is thinking mostly of jewels, carriages, and pin money, so she tries to help Penelope, or Pen, as she is referred to, make a glorious match with a man who can give her these things. Poor Penelope; can she discern the best course for herself with Mrs. Bennet meddling in her life?
Ms. Kerr has written a Pride and Prejudice sequel that pays tribute to Jane Austen in two ways; throughout the storylines she has created for Austen’s characters after the events of Pride and Prejudice, and in the tone and structure of her writing style, as she captures the essence of Austen’s writing throughout both of her books. Experience and Devotion also incorporate Austen’s witty style of humor as well. Mrs. Kerr has incorporated her understanding and knowledge of Austen’s work to bring a similar reading experience to her readers, especially for readers who know Pride and Prejudice well enough to catch the subtle references to Austen’s plot and characters in Ms. Kerr’s books.
I felt that Devotion read as a more focused story than Experience because, in Devotion, Ms. Kerr dedicates most of her storytelling to Georgiana’s story, which I believe was a good decision because this storyline and their characters were well-developed over time. I also really enjoyed her character, John Amaury, especially because it was difficult to discern his true motives in the story and his backstory wound up being quite interesting. I did want to shake Georgiana for being gullible to Mrs. Younge again, and I did keep wondering in the first third of the book if she really could be so foolish again and leave her family for such a scheme. However, the heart is a powerful thing, and I guess a girl who has been duped before can be as likely as anyone else to fall for a wretched, scheming woman, such as Selina Younge!
I also enjoyed the other storylines that were shared in this book. I think Ms. Kerr did a good job recreating Austen’s characters in a way that felt true to canon while she also incorporated her own characters nicely into her storylines. I could empathize with Lady Mallinger’s plight and found myself hoping she would get her own chance at a happy ending. I like when authors can make me feel more connected to Caroline Bingley, especially when her focus is not on making fun of Elizabeth Darcy at every turn.
There were two storylines I would have liked to see expanded upon in Devotion; the relationships between Darcy and Elizabeth and between The Earl and Countess of Tyrconnell, née Catherine Bennet. I know the first book, Experience, was a lot more focused on Catherine Bennet’s story, and that both books only had small glimpses into Darcy and Elizabeth’s lives; however, I did find myself wishing to read more interactions between these couples since their relationships were so interesting. I do prefer to read JAFF stories that have more romantic tension between their characters, but I still think readers who enjoy JAFF books that stay true to Austen’s tone, humor, and writing style will find a lot to admire in Ms. Kerr’s sequels.
I am glad I had the opportunity to read and review Experience and Devotion because I love well-written Pride and Prejudice sequels that retain the tone and style of Austen’s own book. Even though these books do not focus on Darcy and Elizabeth, the storylines are engaging and I believe readers will connect with the characters crafted by Ms. Kerr. Thank you to Prism Publishers and Meg Kerr for providing me with an eARC of each book in exchange for an honest and fair review.
What do you do when you live in the twenty-first century but a piece of your heart lies in the nineteenth? If you are author Meg Kerr you let your head and hand follow your heart. With her love of country life—dogs and horses, long walks in the woods and fields, dining with family and neighbours and dancing with friends, reading and writing and the best conversation—and her familiarity with eighteenth and nineteenth century history and literature, Meg has a natural gift to inhabit, explore and reimagine the world that Jane Austen both dwelt in and created, and to draw readers there with her.
It’s Giveaway Time!
In recognition of the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s passing, Ms. Kerr is offering her book Devotion for free to her readers. From July 15-19th, Devotion is FREE on Amazon Kindle. Isn’t this wonderful news?
Visit Amazon to get your free copy of Devotion.
Have you read Experience or Devotion? Please share your comments below… I’d love to read your thoughts on these books and/or about my review.