A Peculiar Engagement by Kara Louise is an interesting take on the life of one of Pride and Prejudice‘s lesser loved characters. Lady Catherine’s daughter, Anne de Bourgh.
I have to say I have never once wondered how Anne felt, what her child was like, or what happened to her after Darcy and Lizzy got together, but for those of you who have wondered, this is your answer. This book not only explains Anne’s view of the whole Lady Catherine-planned engagement of her daughter to Mr. Darcy, but it flashes back to their childhoods. Part adulthood and part childhood, this story flips back and forth, explaining their relationship as cousins. Their first meeting, as they both lost their parents at the same time and wrote letters to each other of encouragement, and how as they grew older the pressure of engagement infected their otherwise pleasant relationship.
While this book may not wow Darcy fanatics, it does give a nice glimpse of his possible childhood. It also connects another of Kara Louise’s variations, Mr. Darcy’s Rival.
My favorite bits of information gleaned from this book are:
- Getting a glimpse of Anne’s father before he passed. Hard to imagine what kind of man would put up with Lady Catherine.
- Richard (Col. Fitzwilliam) I’ve always liked him but he really comes alive in this book. I like the way Kara portrayed him here.
- Seeing the “Georgianna goes to Ramsgate” situation arise while Darcy is at Rosings and Anne encourages him to investigate.
- The fact that Anne is a writer and publishes books behind Lady Catherine’s back. Take that!
- The connection this book has to Kara Louise’s Mr. Darcy’s Rival book.
- Anne’s love interest is rather interesting and I love how the elopement is conducted.
A line from this book I find especially inspirational is what Anne’s love tells her when she mourns not being able to do things because of her asthma.
“Do not regret what you cannot do. You must allow yourself to fully enjoy those things you can do and be thankful for those blessings.”
This is a quote I will be putting up in my office to remind myself everyday. After being in a wheelchair for seven months last year, I could have used this little insight during recovery! But it’s a good thing to remember at all times.
While I’m not a fan of Anne de Bourgh in general and probably would not have read a book centered on her except for Kara Louise writing it, I am glad I did read this book for the pieces it filled in for me.
Now, if she’d only write a Colonel Fitzwilliam book! 🙂