Review: Vanity and Verity

Apr 9, 2012 by

Prequels. I’m not going to lie, as a recovering Star Wars fangirl, George Lucas has beyond ruined the concept for me. When we received Vanity and Verity to review I was interested in the concept of a novel about Darcy’s parents, but my wariness outweighed my interest. I wasn’t sure it could be done well, and so I admit it took me a long time to open this book. Ladies and gents, I was an idiot. Seriously. A complete, total dunce. I could have enjoyed this book weeks before I did (I enjoyed it so much I stayed up all night to finish it. All night. I have toddlers that get up early so this is a sign of ardent love and admiration). But the wonderful thing is, my lovelies, you don’t have to partake in my previous idiocy. You can read this review, head straight on over to Amazon or Barnes and Noble, buy it, and read it as soon as possible without wasting precious time like I did.

 

 

Vanity and Verity is a prequel. One in fact, that should put Lucas to shame. It actually does what prequels are supposed to do (gasp), tells us a cohesive and believable origin story. In this case the love story of Anne and George Darcy and the transformation of a seventeen year old girl into Darth Vader, er, I mean Lady Catherine de Bourgh. Waters has done an amazing job of making these characters relatable and believable, as well as imitating the flow of an Austen novel closely enough that I felt as if I had somehow magically gotten my hands on an undiscovered Austen novel.

I loved getting to know Anne Fitzwilliam. I could see tantalizing glimpses of the personality of Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy in both Anne and George Darcy. Because the reader spends more time with Anne, though, the similarities there are the strongest. I really felt what a loss it would have been for Darcy to lose his parents as young as he does. The reader truly comes to care for them

It was fascinating to watch Lady Catherine turn into, well, Lady Catherine. When the book begins she’s a spoiled and somewhat flighty seventeen year old. Not the best person in the world, but definitely a far cry from the Lady Catherine we all know and love to hate from Pride and Prejudice. I kept wondering how she was going to get from point a to point b and have it be realistic. Waters did not disappoint. Each step in Catherine’s transformation was completely believable.

The narrative voice in this novel is incredible. As I was reading I often forgot that I was reading a story written by a modern author. The dialogue was also very well done. Waters also utilized a very smart technique for making her novel feel like Austen while still feeling fresh. Many of the minor characters and story lines are types we have seen previously in Austen novels, but they are given their own life and personality in this book. For example, while the ingratiating young female character who is secretly working against the happiness of the sisters may remind us of Lucy Steele, she is still enough her own character that we believe in her fully and realize that this type of person exists in the lives of many heroines. The minor characters, especially when we came across one we knew to become later important to Austen’s stories, made for an engrossing read.

 

Five out of Five Stars

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1 Comment

  1. charlene

    Jessica I’m with you. I loved this book it gave that bonk on the head when I read about Lady Catherine growing up! It was like YAH Really I can see that! I saw some not so good reveiws and didn’t understand. I thought that any Jane Austen fan would love this book. Jane herself would see the follies! :D

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