"SONS AND DAUGHTERS"
Darcy and Fitzwilliam
Book Reviews: SONS AND DAUGHTERS
Care for a slice of dialogue? I promise that you’ll find it irresistibly juicy, bursting to the seams with wit and character. This is Karen Wasylowski’s work, after all, and you may still have the lingering juices from her first book Darcy and Fitzwilliam on your tongue. It tasted like Pride and Prejudice, but more tangy, more modern, more real (if you haven’t read it, you should, posthaste). This is totally worth the indulgence. Go ahead. Live a little.
Just then the door opened and in walked Fitzwilliam Darcy.
“Darcy! It’s about time you arrived!”
“Wonderful to see you as well, Fitz.” Darcy then turned to O’Malley. “Hello, Patrick. Good to see you, how is Mrs. O’Malley?”
“Grand, sir. Just grand, and, I thank you for askin’. She’s got a proper cap to wear now she does, enjoys bossin’ around her new maid.”
Fitzwilliam slammed a cup down to kill a roach.
“Excellent news, and well deserved I might add. And the boys? Getting quite tall I’ll warrant.”
“Growin’ like weeds, they are, another on the way and, again, so good of you to inquire.” Patrick swept away the dead bug with his hand then wiped his hand on his trousers.
“My, aren’t you two delightful? A regular Tristan and Isolde without all that lovely prose to distract the mind. Well, as much as I hate to break up this heartwarming tableau I’m famished and you’re nearly a quarter hour late, Darcy.”
“And you’re in a foul mood. Has he been like this all day, Patrick?”
“Naw. Most time, he’s worse.” Patrick then turned and left before he was sacked once again.
Brazen, boyish Fitzwilliam stands in stark contrast to his upstanding cousin, Darcy of Pemberley, of Pride and Prejudice, of the deepest wanderings of all your Colin-Firth-look-a-like fantasies of fiction male stardom. Next to a man like that, Fitzwilliam appears undignified, unmannered, even silly — totally real. Fitzwilliam isn’t like other male characters in Austen and Austenesque literature, because he isn’t a courtly, noble person yet remains on the side of good. He’s as unlikely to hurt someone as Georgiana Darcy, and far more apt to offer you a toast of health and good cheer. Sure, he’s doing it with a foul mouth and an attitude fit for a brothel, but who cares? Charming and enthusiastic, Fitzwilliam is a breath of fresh air. Darcy is…well, Darcy. All that you love of him, and more, but unsurprisingly nice. His stately, composed personality makes up for all of Fitzwilliam’s shortcomings, which is perhaps why the two make such a wondrous pair in Sons and Daughters, the second installment in the series from Karen Wasylowski.
The early portions of the story find Darcy doing his Darcy thing, wandering around his lovely homes and out into London to meet people and talk about stuff. He pays his bills, meets his solicitors, goes “on up to Parliament” and around to see his deliciously-styled Aunt Catherine who is fabulously, unapologetically drunk on “medicinal liquid” most of the time. I can’t help but see Judi Dench and a big pile of frosted grey hair, but what’s better than that? Nothing. Nothing is better than Lady Catherine de Bourgh, especially as seen through the brilliant character depiction that Karen Wasylowski employs. Fitzwilliam is another one of these creations, though he finds himself with much less time on his hands. As the Surveyor General, he is busy and overtaxed (hence the snarky attitude) but still manages to find time to hang out with his wife and family.
And believe me, that includes plenty of people. Darcy and lovely Elizabeth (who remains a back-burner voice in this interpretation — don’t be surprised) have a respectable number of offspring with a respectable, quiet life and a respectable, quiet group of helpers around them. Their kids are sweet, generous, and well-spoken. But of course, Fitzwilliam’s brood stands in contrast, both in numbers and in personalities. While Darcy’s children are playing the pianoforte and researching Chinese history, Fitz’s are monkeying around like hoodlums, dropping bags of flour from 3rd-story windows, sliding down banisters, and causing their parents untold amounts of torment. It goes so far that by the end of the book, I determined that Fitz and Amanda are bloody bad parents.
But remember, this is Karen Wasylowski’s work. She’s the master of modern Austen, unafraid to throw in little gems and goodies like these. The faults of the parents become the faults of the children in the real world, and such is the case here. You’ll find yourself stunned at the lack of discipline and responsibility from Amanda and Fitz’s crazy children, the end of the book exploding with the bad behavior and carelessness that only ungoverned children can enact (now that they’re grown, you see, the cracks in their foundations really begin to show).
It’s a refreshing ride through Austen territory, but not your typical trip at all. You’ll find bits of tradition, sure, but I found myself scratching my head at their placement, almost like they were included as a token gesture to those who search for them. Everyone seems to live the same life over and over, cooling in passions and slackening in pursuits as the years mount, forcing the narrative to focus on the offspring simply to find something interesting again! This tiresome path simply didn’t fit alongside the edgy, flashy prose. However, I was consistently kept afloat by Ms. Wasylowski’s excellent skill as a writer. She is a gifted storyteller with exceptional talent, especially with character development. Sons and Daughters won’t leave you wanting! Saddle up and don’t forget your boots!
SONS AND DAUGHTERS BY KAREN V. WASYLOWSKI
If you read my earlier review of Karen's book: Darcy and Fitzwilliam you'll know that I enjoyed it immensely So, I was eager to read this continuing story taking the reader on through the years with the families of Fitzwilliam Darcy and Richard Fitzwilliam.
The first part of the book watches the nurseries fill, with Richard married to a good Catholic girl, his house is bulging at the seams. and, his ofspring are called a mob for good reason. They are a high spirited bunch full to the brim with life.
Darcy has his heir and his precious daughter and has been warned that Elizabeth should have no more children, it does not stop her wanting another.
The two families are so very close and the cousins are all like one big family, there appear to be special bonds between some of them from an early age.
As the children grow up these bonds change as do the families. Richard Fitzwilliam loses his older brother and has to become the Earl causing many upheavals for his family.
While Darcy is almost tempted to take up a political career, but the price is too high for a man unwilling to put his position above his family.
As the children have left childhood and started to find their own life partners there are even more upheavals for both families.
Uplifting gripping and oh so enjoyable Karen V. Wayslowski has not disappointed with this book.
This story follows Fitzwilliam Darcy and his cousin Colonel Fitwillaim and their family. You see their children grow to young adults in this story and their struggles with relationships (even with each other) and their parents. Darcy and Fitzwilliam have to make difficult decisions regarding their family but at the same time you see their love, sacrifices and understanding....
I enjoyed this story immensely. Son's and Daughters is delightfully crafted and different from any continuation of Pride & Prejudice that I have read thus far. There are humorous, witty- as well as- serious dialogue aspects to this story. The plot is engaging,well written and Karen shows strong emotions in her characters. I found myself reading late into the night, not wanting to put the book down. I look forward to reading more of Karen's stories! I highly recommend this book to Jane Austen fans! You'll love it!
Linda Banche Reviews
Karen V. Wasylowski has done it again with Sons and Daughters, an often hilarious, sometimes soul-wrenching, but always engaging tale as she continues the saga begun in the delicious Darcy and Fitzwilliam: A Tale of a Gentleman and an Officer.
True to the title, Darcy's and Fitzwilliam's children dominate the story. Darcy has three and Fitzwilliam nine. (Nine, you say? The man has worked overtime.) The book spans twenty years and we laugh and cry along with both clans as the parents age and their children grow and navigate the always difficult transition to adulthood.
Ms. Wasylowski’s flowing prose keeps you turning the pages to see what will happen next. With so many characters, something new, perhaps funny and perhaps heartbreaking, always happens. Like the time when the children, mostly preadolescent, find some erotic prints Fitzwilliam saved and aren’t sure what to make of them, although they’re certain they must be scandalous, to when Fitz’s wife, Amanda, has her ninth child in a very difficult birth.
Ms. Wasylowski’s is a master at writing the emotion of both adults and children, especially as she shows how the children’s feelings change as they mature. She also has a good ear for realistic dialog, whether the character is child or adult, male or female. At times, the boys are disgustingly boys, and the girls, while perhaps a little nicer, are the boys' matches in every way. And the parents, as parents do, yell and threaten as well as love their children to distraction.
I only wish the book was longer. With so many characters, Ms. Wasylowski by necessity had to skim over some stories. I’d like to know more about George and Kathy, and Anne Marie and Mr. Wentworth. Maybe a few novellas?
By S.C.Mema (5 Stars)
I love this book. The story follows Fitzwilliam and Darcy, cousins and best friends, through their early lives as young married men and fathers. Fitzwilliam marries the American woman he adores, much to the chagrin of his family, as Elizabeth and Darcy establish their lives at Pemberley.
It's all of the typical up's and down's of married life, but told with sparkling wit and banter. Of course, the Bingleys are there, too, and we see the interactions between the three families, and the friendships that develop and thrive between the children.
All of the plot threads were wonderfully developed and woven within the context of the story. My favorite involved Alice, the youngest Darcy daughter. She was always in trouble with her mama, and usually as a result of something the older siblings and cousins had done. Of course, that endeared her all the more to her papa and uncles and aunts. And to see her at the end of the story with -- (you didn't think I would actually tell you that, did you?)
I have not read the first book in this series, but this book stood alone as a story, and I had no problem following it. I now have the first book and look forward to spending many hours enjoying the part of the story I missed.
I loved, loved this Fitzwilliam and Darcy.
Book Synopsis - Sons and Daughters
JANE AUSTEN’S ‘PRIDE AND PREJUDICE’ CONTINUES…
SONS AND DAUGHTERS, a continuation of Jane Austen's PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, follows the iconic Fitzwilliam Darcy and his cousin Colonel Fitzwilliam. Now we see the two battling best friends as loving husbands and doting fathers, older and a bit wiser, making the sacrifices, the difficult (and frequently unpopular) decisions that men must make for the good of their families and we see their large brood of offspring - the ‘Fitzwilliam Mob’ - grow from childhood to adolescence then on into adulthood. Along the way, Darcy and Fitzwilliam are viewed by their children first as heroes, then as the enemy, but eventually as mortal human beings and the children’s adored champions once again.
Book Excerpt - Sons and Daughters
Have you come up with any reasonable story yet?” Hands in his pockets Fitzwilliam glared down at his sons.
Amanda shook her head in doubt. “Tell me again what sort of punishment this is meant to be.” The two little fellows sat side by side on the bottom step of the front staircase, scratching elbows and knees, looking anywhere but at their father.
“Well, since neither will tell me which one dropped the flour bag I am making them sit here until they come up with any plausible explanation.”
“I’m still a bit vague on this. How will that help you determine which one to punish?”
“They’ll have to decide together. If they‘re able to come up with one convincing tale I’ll accept it. But they cannot leave that step until they do agree on one.”
“And you are certain this is the position you wish to take?”
"I will never understand you."
“It was me, Papa.” Mark winced when his brother’s sharp elbow dug into his side. “Well, it was.”
“No, Papa, it was me,” countered Matthew.
“See, not good enough. You still don’t agree. Now, give it another go.” The little faces leaned toward each other.
“I’ll share a secret with you both – if you tell me the truth the punishment will be less severe.”
“It was me,” whispered Matthew.
Mark nodded. “Yeah, it was him. But he’s very young.”
Fitzwilliam tried not to chuckle as he took a glum faced Matthew by the hand. The two walked silently into the library and when they reappeared a few moments later Matthew was rubbing his bottom, but evidently was not overly upset since he hopped up onto his chair and immediately began reaching for food.
“Before either of you eat, I want you to apologize to your cousins for that unprovoked attack at our front door.” With the wives fussing over baby Luke elsewhere, and the Fitzwilliam day maid hiding in a cupboard, the two fathers were the only functioning adults in the room.
“But it was though, Papa – provoked, I mean. First, to be clear on this, what exactly does provoke mean?” Precise to his core and always good natured Mark was duty bound to explain the twins’ abysmal behavior. However, he was also a detail man and, as usual, becoming bogged down with them.
“It means you are nasty boys and it means that you are wicked.” Kathy crowed, taunting with her little sing song voice, smiling cheerily at her older brothers because anytime they were in trouble was a cause for celebration. “It means you cannot have cake ever again and crows will peck out your eyes.”
Anne Marie cheered at that, she even clapped.
“Anne Marie Darcy, do not encourage your cousins.” Darcy reprimanded. “They seldom require it,” he muttered as he brought his daughter’s plate closer to her.
“Kathy, where do you learn such nonsense?” Fitzwilliam grasped her little cup of milk before it toppled from the table but failed to save her silverware.
“They’ll peck your eyes out, Beef!” shouted Matthew and Georgie, retaliating as always in unison. “And eat your brains – if they can find any! Yeah they will!” Matthew expanded on their previous comment and stuck out his tongue.
“Enough. All of you. Anyone who is shorter than I will henceforth cease to speak.” Darcy’s commanding voice sounded severe as he cut into edible pieces the small ham slice that had been sitting, untouched, before his daughter for nearly twenty minutes. “Eat something, Anne Marie – anything. I beg of you. At least one bite. How does your mother succeed with this and I do not?”
“Mama sings to me.”
“Yes, she sings to me also. How lucky we both are. Now eat at least the little bit that is on this fork. Please.” He turned to Mark. “And, ‘unprovoked’, my charming young hooligan, means that there was no just cause for the attack, neither upon your Aunt Lillibet nor upon your uncle – old what’s his name.”
Mark Fitzwilliam laughed heartily at what Darcy had just said, as if Darcy were the wittiest man alive.
Actually, hunger had overtaken his senses and he wanted done with all questions. He reached for his fork. Darcy’s arched eyebrow stopped him cold.
“No, Mark, you must answer the question first. Explain why you are tossing flour from the windows.”
“The salt is locked away.”
There was momentary silence.
“Darcy, you’re getting nowhere with this vague line of questioning. When it comes to my children you must attack with precision, leave nothing ambiguous. Watch carefully and learn. Matthew, what provocation – close your mouth, Mark – what purpose was there for your attack upon Uncle Wills and Auntie Lillibet?”
“It wasn’t meant for Uncle Wills. We love him and Auntie Lillibet.” Matthew reached for a jar of preserves but could not get them without unsettling the pitcher of milk; his father immediately righted the pitcher and brought the jar nearer. “Thank you, Papa. Put the strawberries on my scone?”
“Please…?” Prompted his father.
“I already said you could, Papa.”
“No, no, no, that is not what I meant, son. You should say…never mind. Now, these are not strawberries, Matthew. These are raspberries. Do you understand me, boy?” Fitzwilliam placed a large dollop of the raspberry preserves onto his son’s scone and then sliced the scone into several smaller pieces. He pushed the plate over to Mathew.
“Well, never mind then.”
“Whatever is keeping your mother so long?” Fitzwilliam mumbled as he stretched to look over his shoulder.