Having read so many wonderful reviews of Side By Side Apart I was very expectant about Ann Galvia’s second book, What’s Past is Prologue. In this sequel Galvia approaches Darcy and Elizabeth’s relationship in a very realistic manner by bringing into the narrative topics that are not always present in this type of literature, but which could also be a little controversial, and not to everyone’s tastes, due to the detail with which they are explored.
It wasn’t easy for me to get into the story in the initial chapters, and I believe it will be beneficial for readers to either read the blurb or reviews explaining the premise before starting to read this book. In What’s Past is Prologue it is Jane who goes on the trip to Derbyshire where she meets Darcy and reunites with Bingley. While there, she receives a letter from Elizabeth telling her about Lydia’s elopement and Darcy still saves her, but when Mr. Bennet discovers his involvement he goes to London to ask for explanations, and Darcy confesses he has intervened only because of Elizabeth. Due to this confession, he feels obliged to propose and Elizabeth feels obliged to accept. Of course she knows Darcy loves her still, but she accepts mainly because of gratitude and is not yet in love with him. We don’t see any of these events taking place because the book starts right after their marriage when they travel to Kent to help Lady Catherine with estate matters, so it’s important to know this before reading the book in order to get some context when the narrative begins.
The story starts at Rosings where the couple is accompanied by Kitty and Georgiana. Elizabeth is still adapting to her married life, struggling with her own insecurities, feelings and society’s expectations as well as Lady Catherine’s disrespect and Anne de Bourgh’s cold manner. Surprisingly we don’t see Darcy come to the rescue of his wife as I would have expect and he has little intervention in the treatment his wife is receiving from his family.
The story is told from Elizabeth’s point of view and her misapprehensions and insecurities made the narrative dispassionate, cold and dry in my opinion. There is a lot of focus in physical aspects, though not in a sexual way, and not much in the love that Darcy may feel for her. He is seen as an insatiable man and this could have been interesting if we could see it as a demonstration of love, instead we see Elizabeth looking at this as an obligation to provide an heir to Pemberley. We know that Darcy loves her, and she even welcomes his caresses, but it is always too mechanical for my taste.
Readers who like a lot of Darcy and Elizabeth time will be happy to know that there are a lot of scenes between them and several long dialogues. This is something I always like to see on a book, but I confess that their dialogues felt too cold and distant, and I only started to feel a true connection between them towards the end of the book.
I enjoyed the characterisation of Sir Lewis the Bourgh and his opinions on the education of women, this along with the literary mentions were a good addition to the narrative and kept my interest every time it was brough up. Lord Wortley’s second son, Thomas Fitzwilliam, was also an addition I enjoyed in this book. It is hard to read him at first, but I ended up liking the character and would even like to see more of him in this story.
My main quibble with this book was the lack of passion and story developments in the sense that I kept expecting something to happen, but never did. I thought that some character behaviours would lead to some interesting revelations or for something to be uncovered, but that never happened. This book was not intended to be an action driven book, I believe Galvia’s main interest was to have a character driven novel, but I didn’t feel any connection to either Elizabeth or Darcy and for that reason some action would have helped me to keep invested in the book.
I believe What’s Past is Prologue is a book that may appeal to readers interested in feminist stories not only because of Sir Lewis de Bourgh’s views of women’s education and role in society, but also because of the trust that Darcy places in Elizabeth. Their dialogues show that Darcy sees Elizabeth as an equal with whom he can discuss serious matters regarding the estate and daily issues that may arise. This was what captivated me the most about this book and I believe readers with feminist sensibilities will appreciate it too.
You can find What’s Past is Prologue Review at:
Ann started writing sometime before she knew how letters functioned. Her first books were drawings of circus poodles heavily annotated with scribbles meant to tell a story. Upon learning how letters were combined to represent words, she started doing that instead. This has proven to be much more successful.
Sometime after that, she decided she wanted to study Anthropology and sometime after that, she decided she liked cats more than dogs. And sometime after that, she decided to become an educator and teach a new generation of kids how to combine letters to represent words, and use those words express ideas.
And sometime after that, she realized all she really wanted to do was write, which probably should have been evident from the beginning.
Don’t forget to follow the blog tour for more news on What’s Past is Prologue 🙂
August 1 / Savvy Verse& Wit / Guest Post & Giveaway
August 2 / Of Pens & Pages / Book Review & Giveaway
August 3 / Babblings of a Bookworm / Book Review & Giveaway
August 4 / Just Jane 1813 / Book Excerpt & Giveaway
August 5 / Liz’s Reading Life / Author Interview & Giveaway
August 6 / From Pemberley to Milton / Book Review & Giveaway
August 7 / More Agreeably Engaged / Guest Post & Giveaway
August 8 / Austenesque Reviews / Book Excerpt & Giveaway
August 9 / Diary of an Eccentric / Book Review & Giveaway
August 10 / My Vices and Weaknesses / Book Review & Giveaway
August 11 / Margie’s Must Reads / Book Review & Giveaway
August 12 / My Love for Jane Austen / Book Excerpt & Giveaway
August 13 / So Little Time… / Guest Post & Giveaway
Meryton Press is giving away 8 ebooks of What’s Past is Prologue. Readers may enter the drawing by tweeting once a day and daily commenting on a blog post or a review that has a giveaway attached for the tour. Entrants must provide the name of the blog where they commented. If an entrant does not do so, that entry will be disqualified.
One winner will be selected per contest. Each winner will be randomly selected by Rafflecopter and the giveaway is international.
To enter, please use the Rafflecopter link.
Good Luck everyone!