As Pride and Prejudice fans the world over know, there is only one Jane Austen and she did not write a follow-up to her beloved novel. So we are left with modern authors trying to take pen in hand (keyboard in fingers just doesn't sound as good, does it?) and explore the world so many of us are loathe to leave once the last page is turned.
This isn't properly a sequel really as it takes on a whole raft of new characters in the persons of Darcy and Lizzie's five daughters but it does include some of the characters from the original. Wait, you say. You think you've read something before about five unmarried daughters, some of whom get into scandals or scrapes. Yes, Aston has tried to mimic the form of the original. However, she has done this to the detriment of the original Austen characters. Darcy and Lizzie have left for a diplomatic posting in Constantinople, leaving the chaperonage of their five daughters to Colonel Fitzwilliam and his wife. This diplomatic posting means that we don't get to see our favorite hero and heroine at all. And amazingly, the Darcy daughters are as silly or flighty or rigid as the Bennet sisters were. Colonel Fitzwilliam is nothing like his character in the original, nor are the other Austen creations.
As an entry into the "following in Austen's footsteps" canon, this is a disappointment. However, if you can read this without connecting it to Pride and Prejudice, this is rather an entertaining story. The Regency setting is well-researched and generally a favorite historical time of mine. The girls are perhaps a bit risque for genteel society but many other Regency-set stories use this same convention to point up the rigidity and hypocrisy of the age. There are some obvious deviations from the parallels to Pride and Prejudice, in the unravelings and outcomes of the scandals but they are generally acceptable and only a little far-fetched. Although I am certainly no Jane Austen purist, I still don't think this will satisfy fans unless they can read this purely as a novel set some 20 years after the setting of Pride and Prejudice and really unrelated in most every way from it.