A Young Woman Longing for Adventure and an Artistic Life...
Because she's an illegitimate child, Eliza is raised in the rural backwater with very little supervision. An intelligent, creative, and free-spirited heroine, unfettered by the strictures of her time, she makes friends with poets William Wordsworth and Samuel Coleridge, finds her way to London, and eventually travels the world, all the while seeking to solve the mystery of her parentage. With fierce determination and irrepressible spirits, Eliza carves out a life full of adventure and artistic endeavor.
PRAISE FOR JOAN AIKEN
"Others may try, but nobody comes close to Aiken in writing sequels to Jane Austen."— Publishers Weekly
"Aiken's story is rich with humor, and her language is compelling. Readers captivated with Elinor and Marianne Dashwood in Sense and Sensibility will thoroughly enjoy Aiken's crystal gazing, but so will those unacquainted with Austen."— Booklist
"...innovative storyteller Aiken again pays tribute to Jane Austen in a cheerful spinoff of Sense and Sensibility."— Kirkus Reviews
Others may try, but nobody comes close to Aiken ( Jane Fairfax ) in writing sequels to Jane Austen. Here she follows characters met in and suggested by Sense and Sensibility , spinning an absorbing tale rich in characterization and diverse settings. Raised with other ``by-blows'' (illegitimate children) by a disreputable foster mother, and uncertain of her parentage, Liz Williams regularly receives money and admonitions from a Colonel Brandon, who never visits her. (Brandon, of course, married Marianne Dashwood in the Austen novel.) Determined to discover the mystery of her parentage, Liz takes shelter with the Ferrars (nee Elinor Dashwood), who send her to school in Bath, where, through no fault of her own, she loses her reputation and her position and is forced to flee to London to make her way in the world. This she does--with a vengeance-- meanwhile discovering sobering truths about her parents and herself. Spirited Liz is an 18th-century feminist of the first order. Whether consorting with poets or fighting off brigands in Portugal, she holds her own with bravado and good cheer. Aiken's sense of time and place is impeccable, and her wit is employed to good effect. Her vision of the later lives of Marianne and Elinor embraces Austen's irony; while they did not achieve the happiness we would have wished for them, here they find fulfillment in unexpected ways.