Sunday, July 12, 2009

The Exploits and Adventures of Miss Alethea Darcy by Elizabeth Ashton

This was my first book in the Everything Austen Challenge. It was a great book! I had previously read Elizabeth Ashton's book "Mr. Darcy's Daughters" and loved it. Though I found that one to be a bit difficult to get into, this one hooked me with page one. I had found Alethea to be rather vibrant and appealing in the first novel and was eager to read all about her in a book dedicated entirely to herself.

Alethea Darcy, or Mrs. Napier as she is now known in the novel, is fleeing from a very brutal and unhealthy marriage. She travels through Europe disguised as a gentleman with her maid, Figgins, disguised as a man-servant. She encounters one Titus Manningtree who is both annoyingly charming and annoyingly angry with the world. He immediately recognizes Alethea for who she really is but does not give her away. Alethea solicits the help of her sister Georgina but is dismissed and told to go back to her husband as a good wife does. She decides to head to Venice to seek help from Camilla.

All along the way to Venice, Alethea and Figgins have some wonderful adventures that only men could have the pleasure of enjoying in 17th century Europe. Alethea tastes the freedom that being a man allows and falls in love with it.

My favorite quote from the book is when Lady Hermione is speaking with Alethea towards the end... "Life doesn't turn out as we expect it to. When we come out into the world, our futures seem as smooth and unmarred as virgin snow. It is an illusion, of course, and soon we weave a web of mistakes and failures as much as achievements and triumphs, and become used to walking on broken pavements rather than on paths of gold. It is what makes life so interesting; one quickly learns that one never knows what is going to happen next".

The book has a very happy and very interesting ending. One that I was not expecting...or at least not entirely. I had a feeling it would happen I just wasn't sure how the author was going to get us to that point. I was very happy with the book and would read it again in a heart beat!


  1. Thanks so much for participating in my challenge. If you wouldn't mind, would you please link to this review on the Mr. Linky (which you can find when you click on the green Everything Austen tab at the top of my blog) instead of in the comments. That way everyone can see your progress!!

  2. I think I did it!!!! I've never used Mr Linky before :)

  3. I liked this book as well, though not as much as Aston's first. I haven't gotten around to reading the next couple in the series either. One of these days... Thanks for sharing your review, and good luck with your list!

  4. You did it!! Thanks so much!

  5. I also read the first book by Ashton and enjoyed it, but there were so many others I wanted to read I never got to her other books! Glad that this one is good! I'll have to give it a try.

  6. sounds like an adventure. i may have to try this one. i like the names alethea, hermione, camilla...