I said, after reading Aston’s writing jane austen, that I would give her Austen books another try. This was the title in our library. It rides on the coattails of P&P by using the name of Darcy, but Fitzwilliam and Eliza play no real role in this story. Their daughter, Alethea, has married a vile man while on the rebound from a spineless man and the tale begins with her flight from her marital home while in the guise of a young man. Crazy adventures ensue as she and her similarly disguised maid reach Paris and then cross the Alps to Venice, where Alethea sings in Figaro as a castrato. Along the way she runs into Titus Manningtree, who is fleeing heartbreak at the hands of his former mistress. Manningtree recognizes her through her breeches and seeks to protect her while maintaining the pretense of her disguise.
This is the kind of book I’m embarrassed to be caught reading, and yet am not too proud to read. It was not a great story. In a too-convenient plot turn, Alethea’s abusive husband is murdered just as she returns to England from her cross-dressing escapades. Aston throws in the word ” haha” as she had in writing jane austen, to display her historical accuracy. My curiosity has been satisfied.