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Jul 05, 2007  |  Vote 0    0

Shelf Life

Stratford Gazette

ADULT

Mr. Darcy's Diary

By Amanda Grange

@SPL: FIC Grang

The influence of Jane Austen's novels, specifically Pride and Prejudice, has not waned in the 21st century, if the newest crop of sequels, prequels and related novels is any indication. There have been many "flip-side" novels as well, those that imagine Mr. Darcy's side of his hate-love relationship with the lively Elizabeth Bennet (i.e. the unsatisfactory trilogy by Pamela Aiden and the wonderful rare gem by Mary Street) and while Amanda Grange's novel is also in this category, she couches her re-invention in the form of a diary, a tantalizing glimpse into the mind of that most taciturn of literary heroes, Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy, while using much of the sparkling dialogue from Pride and Prejudice. What is especially pleasing is that she fleshes out some of the secondary, but intriguing characters like the amiable Mr. Bingley, Anne de Burgh (just why is she so sick?) and Darcy's mild sister, Georgiana.

This novel is for any fan of genteel historical romance and of Jane Austen in particular; it is a most seriously pleasing narrative. - RG

YOUTH

How It Happened in Peach Hill

by Marthe Jocelyn, 232 pages.

@ SPL: J Fic Jocel

Annie and her mother, "Madame Caterina", have been on the move from town to town for as long as Annie can remember. Annie's mother - with her daughter's assistance - uses her "psychic abilities" to help gullible clients communicate with their departed loved ones, find missing valuables, and solve other problems. As "spiritual adviser", Madame Caterina is brilliant and mesmerizing ... but eventually, in every town, doubt and scepticism of her true abilities set in, and Annie and her mother are forced to move on.

Annie's fondest wish is to settle in one town, attend school and make friends. More than ever, she would like this to happen in Peach Hill. Is it possible?

Marthe Jocelyn, an award-winning children's author, continues to create stories which are unusual, unique, witty and thoroughly intriguing. Stratford is very, very fortunate to boast of Ms Jocelyn as a local author!

Recommended for ages 10 to 15 years. - SH

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