Old Friends and New FanciesBy Sybil G. Brinton
In writing Old Friends and New Fancies in 1914, Sybil Brinton trail-blazed the way with the very first Jane Austen sequel - a concept now much in vogue (culminating in the recent Austen Project and the P.D. James bestseller Death in Pemberley). It is clear that Austen's literary career left generations of readers wanting read more - Taking in all of Jane Austen's preferred locations and backdrops, the plot of Old Friends and New Fancies takes us from London to Bath and, of course, to Pemberley. Picking up where Pride and Prejudice leaves off, Elizabeth and Mr Darcy are now happily married and the new bride has taken it upon herself to match-make for her single family and acquaintance - beginning with her new sister-in-law Georgiana and Colonel Fitzwilliam. Kitty Bennet too remains in the market for a husband - now she has grown up and sobered up a little. Austen fans will be thrilled to see such a wide palette of characters making their appearances, with personalities from each of her six novels playing a role in clever combinations. The union between Tom Bertram (from Mansfield Park) and Isabella Thorpe (from Northanger Abbey) is a brilliant new romance to discover. Yet it is also lovely to encounter once again the familiar tender relationship between Emma and Mr Knightley. Written in a style truly reminiscent of Austen's and making free use of her characters, Brinton's work is a must read for Austen fans and one which they will devour with relish.