Mr. Bennet narrowed his eyes with suspicious glee, “You did not watch their departure from a distance, did you? The very picture of the rejected lover?”
“Certainly, sir, if it brings you joy, then I’ll happily say that I did.”
“Very good! The image is quite priceless, be it true or not! What shall I do for amusement when all my daughters are married? Lovelorn gentlemen are the most diverting entertainment! Come in, Sir James, come in! We shall have a glass, and you will disclose the entire predicament. And do not leave out any details just because they make you look foolish, for those are the very best parts!”
(from Second Glances, pages 128-129)
Second Glances: A Tale of Less Pride & Prejudice Continues is the sequel to First Impressions and picks up the story a year after the first book ends. This reimagining of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice focuses on Kitty Bennet, who has been at school in Bath with her younger sister, Lydia, at the recommendation of Mr. Darcy. Before leaving school to join her good friend Georgiana Darcy for her first London season, Kitty has a chance meeting with Sir James Stratton, who is instantly smitten with the young woman when she gives him a fiery and passionate talking down.
Kitty doesn’t give Sir James a second thought until he arrives at the Darcy’s townhome, and she learns he is a longtime friend of the Darcys. All of the good manners she developed at school are lost under Sir James’ watchful gaze and teasing banter. Sir James is not shy about his intentions, and while Kitty understands that she should be honored and flattered by the attentions of someone of his high social standing, she refuses to be forced to marry him because of his title and fortune. And when it looks like she is warming to the man, he makes a reckless and impulsive decision that causes Kitty to question whether she can trust him.
Second Glances is a delightful novel, from Alexa Adams’ beautiful and playful use of language that brings to mind the style of Austen herself to her intriguing original characters. I couldn’t help but fall in love with the adventurous and exciting Sir James myself, and I could understand why he was a bit too much for Kitty to handle at first. The banter between Sir James and his best friend, Simon Brooks, who hits it off immediately with Georgiana, was hilarious as they recounted their childhood antics. Adams does a wonderful job portraying Kitty’s evolution as she becomes less like Lydia and more like her elder sister, Elizabeth Darcy, though without Lizzy’s impertinence. There’s also much to love about Adams’ teaming up Sir James, Mr. Bennet, and Mr. Wickham on a mission to save one of the Bennets from potential ruin, and so far, Adams is the only Austenesque author to make me actually like Lady Catherine.
I enjoyed Second Glances even more than First Impressions, and I do believe they need to be read in order to best understand how Adams has made these characters her own while also staying true to the original novel. The novels are short and well-paced, and Adams mirrors Austen in her humorous observations of the characters and their circumstances. I can’t wait to finish the trilogy later this week with Holidays at Pemberley, though I know I will be sad when I am finished. My only complaint so far is that the books are too short! Adams’ fondness for Austen shines through in these novels, and I’m not ready to let go of her version of these characters just yet.
Disclosure: I received Second Glances from the author for review.
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