Wednesday, March 5, 2014

REVIEW: Follies Past

Follies Past
By: Melanie Kerr

Genre: Historical Romance, Regency
Publication date: 1.6.2014
Pages: 219
Amazon link: Follies Past 

Date read: 3.4.2014
Recommended by: Read 2 Review

Summary: "I must now mention a circumstance which I would wish to forget myself, and which no obligation less than the present should induce me to unfold to any human being..."
So begins Mr. Darcy to lay before Elizabeth his faithful narrative of Mr. Wickham's villainy toward his sister, Georgiana. The facts he sets out are brief but potent. They contain a story unto themselves, and that story is the subject of this book. 

Taking its facts from Austen’s own words, Follies Past opens almost a year before the opening of Pride and Prejudice itself, at Pemberley, at Christmas. Fourteen-year-old Georgiana has just been taken from school and is preparing to transfer to London in the spring. It follows Georgiana to London, to Ramsgate and into the arms of the charming and infamous Mr. Wickham. 

To read this book is to step back into the charming world of Jane Austen’s England, to pass a few more hours with some of her beloved characters, sympathetically portrayed as they might have been before ever they came to Netherfield, and to discover a host of new characters each with engaging histories of their own. Authentic in its use of language and meticulously researched, it is a truly diverting entertainment.

My thoughts

This book is a prequel to Pride & Prejudice and I agreed to read it because of the fact that I so loved the original story.  I wanted to love this story, but in all honesty, I hated it.  HATED it.  Of all of the books I've read this year, this one not only took me the longest to get through (but is actually one of the shortest I've read), it also made me so angry that I would put the book down, refusing to pick it back up.  It almost became a DNF, that's how much I loathed this book, but I just can't DNF something, no matter how much I try.  I found myself going back to the story, hoping I would change my mind about it, but I just could not.

Now, before I explain why I hated it, let me say that this has NOTHING to do with the author.  Ms. Kerr did an AMAZING job with the writing.  She really caught the time, Austen's England and the way that the original piece was written very well. 

My hatred is purely for the story alone, and not even that, but four specific characters.

Here we are getting a tad into SPOILER territory so read at your own risk:

From the first few pages, I disliked Caroline Bingley.  Her attitude and her assumptions were just completely annoying.  She wanted money, position and power and she was SO sure of herself that she couldn't see the truth before her.  Then, when she does find someone who cares for her as well, she up and leaves him because he doesn't have the money and position he made out that he had.

Sir Leicester seems like a GIANT creep.  The way he is described is really good - made the whole idea of him just repulse me.  Especially when he's sitting in the room talking (and drooling) over his cousin, drinking Mr Darcy's alcohol without anyone offering it to him, eating all of the cake like some fat oaf and being so disgustingly happy to tell of something that happened in the past, with no real proof (because it was never denied is not proof) all in the hopes of getting his cousin to want him so he could have her money.  Disgusting.

Mrs Younge and Mr Wickham.  Now, I knew Mr Wickham was a disgusting piece of work, but this story makes him even more so.  And the idea that Mrs Younge would offer up Georgiana on a tray to this trash just blows my mind.  (And I guess, in a way, I kinda dislike Mr Darcy - and blame a lot of it on him - for not telling his sister about this guy in the first place.)

Now, if this is all stuff that you can get past, then I encourage you to read this story because, again, she did a great job.  I just didn't like it.

My favorite line: "I believe one must be directed solely by one's heart.  Our feelings are the defined elements of our humanity, and so mus they be our compass and our guide."

My favorite characters: Lady Sofia and Georgiana Darcy.  I enjoyed reading about them immensely.  Two very grand ladies that deserved better.

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