Literary Review: Old Friends New Fancies by Sybil G Brinton

Technically I read this particular novel a few years ago, and I have reread particular portions of the novel but it has been a while since I have read the novel front to back in its entirety. So after those few years I decided to pack up the book and reread it during my flight to the west coast and from there decided to break it all down again.

First a few generalizations to note:
The author does notate some passage of years for various characters (if not all), however, there was a distinct feeling that all six of the primary novels ended at approximately the same time. As thus there was a sense of convolution in trying to fit everything in as much as possible.

There were a fair number of characters that were either 1) mentioned in passing, 2) passing through as an obstacle or 3) passing through as a connection for other characters to meet. How do these break down? Well
1) Edward and Elinor Ferrars, Colonel and Marianne Brandon, Catherine Tilney, most of the Bertrams
2) Anne Steele, Robert and Lucy Ferrars, Sir Elliot, Lady Catherine de Bourgh
3) Lady Portinscale (Eleanor Tilney), Mr Yates

As always there were a few primary romances that occurred over the course of the novel… without providing any spoilers some of the characters in question included:
Northanger Abbey: James Morland
Mansfield Park: Tom Bertram, William Price, Mary Crawford
Pride and Prejudice: Colonel Fitzwilliam, Georgiana Darcy, Kitty Bennet
I am sure from the above you are able to figure out the majority of the pairings (if not all)

Overall I rather enjoyed this particular novel, despite all the typos, editing errors, etc. It is probably one of the better Jane Austen sequels I have read in a while. With the majority of the characters staying true to the original characterization as depicted by Jane Austen it is a real trip to try to remember how someone knew someone else and why. At the same time the new romances were fun to follow as I found myself getting involved in them as well.

But like all books… I have a few grievances:

Sense and Sensibility
– Colonel Brandon passed away far too soon
– Marianne Brandon only mentioned in passing while Margaret and Eliza Williams were nonexistant

Mansfield Park
– Not much mentioned about Henry Crawford except that he might have been interested in Elizabeth Elliot though no one truly knows why, in fact it is never mentioned as to what happened between Elizabeth and Henry if anything.
– Tom Bertram appears to be a shadow of the over exuberant theatrical player of Mr Yates… do not know if this is because he has spent more time with Mr Yates or simply the nature of his character. Speaking of character Tom in the book was much a playboy ish character who spent money all over the place… then he got sick and sort of got wise… it is unknown.
– If William Price is constantly out to sea, I would assume so would the likes of Captain Wentworth.

– I just do not see Emma Knightley nee Woodhouse moving to a large town/city like London or Bath, she prefer to be the big fish in a small pond as opposed to just another big fish in a school of big fish

Pride and Prejudice
– There is (though understandable) too much focus placed on past protagonists (Fitzwilliam and Elizabeth Darcy)
– Mary Bennet is nonexistant

– William Elliot is nonexistant

Although some backstory has been accounted for, there were others that the author assumes the audience would gloss over and move on… like some particular connections, just by the vast variety of characters in the novel. Which is odd because sometimes I felt like the novel was far too rushed, and other times I felt like there wasn’t enough information given at any moment in time.

However, as mentioned before the main thing is that this was a fun and enjoyable read, and one that I would be looking forward into going back to every now and then.

Leave a Reply