What a wonderfully written prequel to Austen's Pride and Prejudice! I simply could not put it down. The plot had me enthralled and I was crossing my fingers that the characters would all find their happy ending. A great version of the Wickham Darcy connection and an overall pleasure to read. For any Austen fans this is a must read!! It also stands alone as a well developed and delightful story. I look forward to more novels by this author.
I was extremely excited to read FOLLIES PAST and it definitely didn't disappoint. When it comes to PRIDE & PREJUDICE, I can never get enough. I'm always eager for more re-tellings, or anything that adds to the story itself. In FOLLIES PAST, Melanie Kerr gives readers a more in-depth backstory to P&P...and I have to say, she did a remarkable job!
What I loved most about FOLLIES PAST was the fact that it is immediately obvious that Melanie Kerr loves Austen. This book is like a love letter, or an ode, to all things Austen and P&P. It adds a lot of depth to Caroline, Mr. Darcy, and Georgiana's characters, and it also introduces a few new characters that really help to round out the story. While FOLLIES PAST doesn't actually feature Elizabeth like P&P, it does still feel like something Austen would've written...if Austen were around now and had been pestered...or should I say "encouraged," to write some kind of prequel or sequel to P&P, I think FOLLIES PAST could definitely be that work!
Not only does FOLLIES PAST feel like something Austen would've written, it adds so much to Austen's own characters. We see what happens between Mr. Wickham and Georgiana Darcy in a completely new way, and we even get to see what happened when Caroline Bingley and Mr. Darcy were introduced. We get to see so many more aspects to the backstory that I never even imagined! I also loved that we even get to see more of characters that are almost invisible in P&P, like Lady Catherine's daughter, Anne! And we're introduced to several characters that don't appear in P&P, my favourites were Lord Ashwell, Colonel Fitzwilliam's brother, and Georgiana's school friend, Clare...and trust me, if you love Austen, you'll LOVE their parts in the story! :D
I loved getting to read an in-depth view of what happened before Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth ever met. I definitely still love their story, but it was also a pleasure to peek behind the curtain into the past that Mr. Darcy relates to Elizabeth in his letter. So, since I've been raving about this book during this whole review, it should come as no surprise that I loved every single minute of this story and reveled in getting to read it! I think the only thing that might've made me love it more would have been if we could've seen inside Mr. Darcy's and Mr. Bingley's heads when they meet Jane and Elizabeth for the first time. ;)
Overall, I absolutely ADORED FOLLIES PAST! It was absolutely perfect for PRIDE & PREJUDICE fans, and I believe that Melanie Kerr has PERFECTLY captured all of these characters and she's also given us even more characters to love!! I definitely hope that she writes more Austen-inspired works in the future because I cannot get enough of them! ;D
*The author provided me with a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review because she knew how much I also loved Jane Austen. All opinions are my own.
I am not sure what I expected really. Jane Austen left a lot of room for prequels. I love that there was a good love story involved and the Ramsgate affair was more Mrs Younge than Wickham. It's a little confusing what the relationship is between those 2 ? I can't see Colonel Richard Fitzwilliam loving a kid like Georgiana. It seems too weird. Usually it is mutual or Georgiana becoming silly attempting to attach herself to him. It's Richard, not John. Ugh. Nice to see Ashwell being kind for a change and not the proud Viscount with a bad arranged marriage. This sets the stage for Darcy considering Elizabeth later. How could he even have considered Caroline Bingley, gag. Her behaviour and standing is not better than Elizabeth. It all came down to money. Caroline is from trade. Pfft. So that makes little sense. Caroline, the love of WICKHAM s life. I am holding my stomach. Maybe that was a possible reason for her warning Elizabeth in the actual book. Too embarrassing.
Still a very well written book though to set up the P&P original.
I have a fairly eclectic taste in books and although I have my favourite authors I do like to step out of my comfort zone occasionally and read something completely different. Follies Past was just that; a book written in the style of Jane Austen and charting events leading up to the story of Elizabeth Bennett and Mr Darcy in Pride and Prejudice.
Excellent characterisation and plenty of surprises as the novel progressed. I loved the way the book did not simply focus on Mr Wickham’s attempted seduction of Georgiana Darcy but ran a parallel love story between Lord Ashwell and Georgiana’s friend Clare. Wrapped around all of this were a host of characters, some likeable and some not, all with essential parts to play.
I tend to avoid spoilers in my reviews so will simply say if you enjoy Jane Austen then this is a must read and well deserving of five stars.