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"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.
Negotiating the trials and tribulations of characters so well-known is a most daunting task, but one that author Melanie Kerr manages with unabashed aplomb. Weaving a delightfully feisty tale that courts intrigue, she admirably maintains the tone and tenor of Austen's original work, her bygone era lovingly resurrected with an infallible eye for detail and a keen ear for dialogue that pervades throughout. It’s an interesting plot that captures the grandeur and eccentricities of the period with Kerr’s prose being a genuine joy to read, but what makes her prequel most notable is her willingness to delve into the minds of characters new and old and proffer authentic insight into their lives and motivations, imbuing each with a strong and vibrant voice. There is the jocularity, craving and indulgence that attests to the timeless allure of Austen, but this is much more than a captivatingly voyeuristic novel with Kerr encouraging reflection on prevailing matters of the heart.
Romantic and engaging, Follies Past will undoubtedly be well received by fans of Austen and is certainly deserving of a place on your bookshelf. Introducing a notable new voice to the world of historical fiction in author Melanie Kerr, it is highly recommended.
Author Melanie Kerr - In The Spotlight
Follies Past - A Prequel To Pride & Prejudice
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