Pride and Prejudice: The Next Generation
Many authors have taken different approaches to creating the children of Darcy and Elizabeth, and sometimes Bingley and Jane (as I do in my P&P continuations). The temptation is there to make the children either spitting images of their parents or quite the opposite, but in either way reflect the initial characters but in a new generation. In some cases the characters seem to have read Pride and Prejudice, in that they’ve learned the lessons of their parents and don’t intend to make the same mistake. In reality, children have to make their own mistakes, and aren’t inclined to listen to the history of their parents’ courtships even if the parents are inclined to tell it. So you get somewhat of a fresh slate with the kids, who have shades of their different parents as they develop.
I really like Mr. Darcy’s Great Escape in that the oldest children (Geoffrey Darcy, Georgiana Bingley, and George Wickham III) have emerging personalities beyond “I am an adorable kid.” You can start to see, beyond age 2 or 3, which kids are shy and which kids are outgoing, though you saw a bit of that in the previous book with over-exuberant Geoffrey and a speech-delayed Georgiana. Geoffrey Darcy has more shades of his mother than his father when he’s young, which is not to say that the responsibilities of being Mr. Darcy won’t influence him when he’s older, but he isn’t either parent. Geoffrey’s more of a solid mix, which makes him a well-balanced character. Georgiana Bingley isn’t like either of her parents, because you have to have one of those in the family, as if a stork arrived in the wrong house (albeit with a child with the Bingley red hair). Charles and Eliza Bingley, the twin children of Charles and Jane, are more like their parents.
In this book George Wickham III is introduced, though it’s arguable thanks to his grandmother’s secret affair whether he’s actually the third or the second, since his Uncle Darcy is a blood relative (as was explained in the last book). If the story continues he becomes an important character, and thanks to genetics and some social conditioning, the most like Darcy of the entire tribe – and after they have all those kids, it really is a tribe. In this book he’s bookish and reclusive, and we get a little Darcy genetic history as to why that might be.
The ultimate nature vs. nurture argument is for Frederick Maddox, the adopted son of Daniel and Caroline Maddox, but the biological son of the Prince Regent, so he couldn’t have more contrasting fathers.
I could go on and on about the different children and decisions I made for them, but a lot of them aren’t old enough yet for those decisions to be evident (here’s hoping we get to that point!). The bottom line was that no child is the identical twin of their father or mother, or their evil twin. Genetics, conditioning, and plain old blind luck results in a different generation than the last.
MR. DARCY’S GREAT ESCAPE—IN STORES FEBRUARY 2010
Much to his dismay, Charles Bingley is left to hold the fort at Pemberley while his sister Caroline, Elizabeth, and Col. Fitzwilliam traverse Europe on a daring rescue. Meanwhile, Lady Catherine de Bourgh kicks up a truly shocking scandal.
One never knows what might happen next between the estates of Rosings and Pemberley.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Marsha Altman is a historian specializing in Rabbinic literature in late antiquity, and an author. She is also an expert on Jane Austen sequels, having read nearly every single one that's been written, whether published or unpublished. She has worked in the publishing industry with a literary agency and is writing a series continuing the story of the Darcys and the Bingleys. She lives in New York.