A firm fix on Austen's style and a finely tuned ear for her barbed dialogue...even the persnickety Miss Austen would approve. DSChicago Tribune
The focus in "Presumption" is on Georgiana Darcy, the younger sister of the hero of "Pride and Prejudice". Some readers were upset that the focus wasn't on Darcy himself and Elizabeth. But we know at the end of "P&P" that those two were married and lived happily ever after, and what else is there to be said about people who live happily ever after? So a new focus is needed, and Barrett chooses Georgiana Darcy, not a bad choice at all when you come to think about it, because all we knew about her from "P&P" is that she was very young, innocent, almost made a disastrous elopement with the detestable Wickham and came to her senses in time, and was devoted to her brother and Elizabeth.
Julia Barrett (actually a trio of three different writers each trying to write like Austen and not succeeding very well) needs to marry Georgiana off, so two prospects are introduced: James Leigh-Cooper, an up-and-coming young architect to the aristocracy, and Captain Thomas Heywood, a dashing, handsome army officer distantly related to Darcy's noxious aunt Lady Catherine DeBourgh. Lady Catherine, blinded by Captain Heywood's good looks and charm, wants to marry him off to her daughter Anne, since she thinks that being related to the DeBourghs, he must be rich like they are. Boy oh boy, is she about to be disillusioned. Seems Captain Heywood, who doesn't have a shilling to his name, has leagued with the loathsome Wickham in a dastardly plot to frame an honest woman for shoplifting and blackmail her to get rich. Of course the poor victim has to be nobody else but Mrs. Phillips of Meryton, Elizabeth's airhead aunt.
While Darcy goes off to London to help untangle the mess with the assistance of Elizabeth's uncle Gardiner, Leigh-Cooper is trying to make Georgiana fall in love with him but she has a crush on Captain Heywood who is trying to hook either Anne DeBourgh or Caroline Bingley, 24 and still unwed, and the whole thing gets terribly complicated. Meanwhile, Kitty Bennett is off visiting Charlotte Collins at Hunsford, where she manages to captivate Mr. Collins' new curate, Samuel Beasley, while right across the road, Captain Heywood is busy at Rosings charming Anne DeBourgh. Lady Catherine loathes all Bennets on principle with a purple passion and tries to talk (or bully) Mr. Beasley out of this attachment, but she's bitten off more than she can chew here, and fortunately for Kitty and Mr. Beasley, Lady Catherine has more important fish to fry, as she discovers Captain Heywood is poorer than the proverbial church mouse for all his looks and charm, and gives him an unceremonious heave-ho from her premises. So Captain Heywood salvages what he can and elopes with Caroline Bingley, rescuing her from incipient old-maidhood while making himself considerably richer off her inheritance.
Of course everything gets untangled in the end, Georgiana finds and marries her true love, Wickham's dastardly plot is discovered in time, Jane and Bingley and their baby daughter Eliza are happily settled in their new estate within hallooing distance of Pemberley, Darcy and Elizabeth are still living happily ever after with their new son, Kitty becomes Mrs. Beasley in spite of the howls of protest from Lady Catherine, and Lady C. herself still has her unmarried Anne on her hands. Just what we expected. No, it's not very profound, and whatever the writer(s) intended, it is not, and never will be, Austen; but it's a fun way to spend a rainy afternoon. Just don't expect too much from it.