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Presumption: An Entertainment: A Sequel to Pride and Prejudice Paperback – October 15, 1995

67 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0226038131 ISBN-10: 0226038130 Edition: 1st

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Aside from the intelligence native to its title, this continuation of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice has little to commend it. Barrett (the pseudonym of writers Julia Braun Kessler and Gabrielle Donnelly) essentially reassigns the plights of Austen's characters. Thus Darcy's sister, Georgiana--Barrett's heroine--prejudges an honorable fellow even as she is dazzled by the duplicitous, Wickham-like Captain Heywood. This dastardly fellow hooks up with Wickham himself in an extortion scheme whereby Elizabeth's aunt Philips is imprisoned on charges of shoplifting. Haughty Caroline Bingley, running off with Heywood, implausibly enacts the role previously assigned to Lydia, while Georgiana (of course) finds solace for her wounded heart with aforesaid honorable fellow. Elizabeth, almost a minor figure, is rarely allowed to simply speak: she "cries, " "says smiling" or even "cries . . .with sparkling eyes" her various utterances. Arch and cumbersomely worded pseudo-aphorisms take the place of Austen's witty comments. The real presumption here is not the attempt to reincarnate Elizabeth, Darcy et al., but the titling of the work "an entertainment." Readers will more likely cringe.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Presumption , Barrett's skillfully styled sequel to Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice , continues the story of the Bennet, Bingley, Wickham, Darcy, and Collins families, focusing mainly on Georgiana Darcy without, however, neglecting the other colorful characters. Georgiana, sister to the formidable Darcy, is suffering from past romantic indiscretions and is determined to remain more rational in her reactions to masculine attention. However, she soon finds her thoughts turning with alarming frequency to a dashing naval officer as well as to the talented architect her brother has hired. Meanwhile, her irrepressible sister-in-law copes with supercilious friends and neighbors--a task made more difficult by the continuing vulgarity of her mother and the imprisonment of her aunt. Barrett expertly captures Austen's ironic voice and subject matter in a book that is sure to delight and intrigue most Austen devotees. Highly recommended.
- Cynthia Johnson, Cary Memorial Lib., Lexington, Mass.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 238 pages
  • Publisher: University Of Chicago Press; 1 edition (October 15, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226038130
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226038131
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,943,854 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author



Reviews of all four [Kindle] eBooks sequels to Jane Austen's novels will be found at this website. Just click on each cover item.


Julia Barrett is the author of four continuations to the great novels of Jane Austen, as well as a completion of her final work. As a novelist, she has addressed herself to picking up Austen's wonderful creations -- people so lively and so vivid for us all -- to see if she could extend our encounters with them, increase our pleasures in them -- while yet keeping within the author's own themes, speaking in her language, and remaining true to her remarkable wit.

Her first was PRESUMPTION: AN ENTERTAINMENT, a sequel to Jane Austen's PRIDE AND PREJUDICE (undertaken with English novelist, Gabrielle Donnelly, who for that book only joined with the pseudonymous JULIA BARRETT).

This work was called by THE LONDON TELEGRAPH "the next best thing to discovering a hitherto lost novel by Jane Austen"; and THE NEW YORK TIMES wrote of it: " ... energetically and often delightfully handled, evoking the spirit of PRIDE & PREJUDICE." BRITISH HERITAGE said it was "a glittering gem" of which he title alone gave fair warning of (Barrett's) approach: respect, common sense, and both altogether a strong dose of humor."

Her next continuation was a continuation of Austen's SENSE AND SENSIBILITY, this time as JULIA BARRETT, completely on her own.
The work was entitled THE THIRD SISTER. Of it, THE NEW YORK TIMES said, "... a good story, tight writing and a heroine with brains and charm. BRITISH HERITAGE MAGAZINE declared, "Both Barrett and Austen excel at what should be the primary goal of novelists, yet one that so few authors seem to be able to achieve: capturing our imaginations, holding us spellbound, and -- even after the story's resolution -- leaving us wanting to know more."

Still another triumph followed for Barrett when she elected to answer one of those unresolved fictional questions left by Jane Austen's short writing career: Where might she have gone next as a novelist?

This novel was entitled JANE AUSTEN'S CHARLOTTE: HER FRAGMENT OF A LAST NOVEL, COMPLETED. That truncated manuscript left by the author at her too-early death as a mere seventy-odd notebook sheets is taken up in mid-sentence by Barrett and carried through to its surprising and bold conclusion.

Of that work, THE WASHINGTON POST said, "Barrett's vision is sound and she bring this very entertaining book to a proper Austen-like conclusion, in which foolishness is chastened, strength of character rewarded and society...hums in equilibrium once more." The LIBRARY JOURNAL tells us that, "Barrett knows the style and themes of her predecessor is difficult to know when Austen leaves off and Barrett begins ...."

Of Austen's MANSFIELD PARK the great critic, Lionel Trilling observed: "Jane Austen's character was conceived as "all pungency and wit" to win the admiration of almost any reader." "Her mind is lively and competent as her body; she can bring not only a horse but a conversation to a gallop...." Yet he laments, in the end "we are asked to believe that she is not to be admired...." Here Barrett frees Mary Crawford to become herself at last.


Under her own name, Julia Braun Kessler, she has had an extensive career in writing, editing and journalism, serving as Features Editor for SEVENTEEN MAGAZINE, Research Editor for ENCYCLOPEDIA AMERICANA, and Publications Director for the University of Michigan's INSTITUTE FOR SOCIAL RESEARCH.
She taught the Humanities at UCLA, and served with the University of Southern California's Ethel Percy Andrus Gerontology Center as Editorial Consultant. She holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Chicago and a Master of Arts from Columbia University.

Her articles and newspaper features have appeared in magazines and papers all over the country; among them: SEVENTEEN, FAMILY CIRCLE, TRAVEL & LEISURE, GEO, HUMAN BEHAVIOR, MODERN MATURITY, EAST-WEST NETWORK PERIODICALS, LOS ANGELES TIMES, LOS ANGELES HERALD EXAMINER, LOS ANGELES DAILY NEWS, SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE, and countless others more.

Her first book was non-fiction: GETTING EVEN WITH GETTING OLD, a study of aging in various cultures.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

81 of 86 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 20, 1998
Format: Paperback
Having been gullible enough to purchase and read the sequels to Rebecca and Gone With the Wind, I was VERY hesitant to invest any time or money in yet another poor imitation and sad continuation of a most beloved book. But I just couldn't get enough of Pride and Prejudice or any of the Jane Austin novels, and HAD to have one more. (I was tempted to write it myself if necessary.) Thankfully, I found Presumption. I expected this novel to focus almost entirely on Elizabeth's life at Pemberley. I mean who can deny that they wanted to know what happened after the dramatic courtship and satisfying wedding of Darcy and Elizabeth? But I was pleasently surprised when Julia Barret (actually two authors collaborating) primarily set her focus on Georgianna Darcy. Barret presents a very plausible (a must in a sequel), interesting, and fun-to-read story surrounding Georgianna's marriage prospects. She throws in some very amusing portraits of the delightfully "wicked Wickham" (as I like to think of him) and Lydia. We even get to fnd out what happens to Bingley's unmarried sister (a just result, rest assured) and other minor characters. It's lots of fun, if you were, like me, disappointed that Pride and Prejudice wasn't longer.
I was especially pleased with Barret's phrasing and language. As you know, Austin was a bit sparse in her descriptions and explanations. But Barret emulates Austin's style well. We learn about the characters more from their conversations and actions rather than lengthy descriptions of their feelings or appearances.
If you ever wished for one more Jane Austin novel, I really do recommend this book. And, if you haven't yet read Pride and Prejudice, I think you might still enjoy this book.
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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 11, 2002
Format: Paperback
When I bought the book, I didn't have high expectations of reentering the world Jane Austen created for these characters, but I expected a LITTLE more effort on the parts of the two authors who use the pseudonym Julia Barrett. After all, to take on such a task as writing a sequel to P&P, they should really have done their homework, but it seems like they neither read the original book nor saw the wonderful 1995 movie. They got the characters wrong in many instances: they couldn't decide whether Elizabeth's nickname was Lizzie or Lizzy and so used both, they gave Mr. Darcy's mother the wrong name, and the actions and emotions of all the characters were so out of place as to ruin any suspension of disbelief for me. Elizabeth - crying because Mr. Darcy's servants were mean to her? What is this, "Rebecca?" And Mary wanting to come to the ball, and Elizabeth being upset that her parents couldn't come? I should think she wouldn't be too upset about her mother's not coming. Also, Mr. Darcy and Mr. Bingley are delegated to the background, and none of the interaction between Darcy and Elizabeth, which made the original book so wonderful, occurs in this one. The dialogue and settings are very contrived. All in all, it feels as though the two women using the name Julia Barrett had bought themselves a set of P&P paper dolls and were playing with them like little girls, paying little attention to the original plot and character types, making up their own story as they went along. Again, the story seems like "Rebecca," or, even worse, like the corny cartoon sequel for "Cinderella" that came out this past year. And I hardly think Elizabeth, always described as being spirited and independent, would suddenly have the same sort of emotional insecurity as the second Mrs.Read more ›
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Sherwood Smith on September 28, 2001
Format: Paperback
I really wanted to like it. I sure needed some escapism after the news of the past couple weeks. The title promised wit. And the first few pages were pleasant, with just a few tiny errors of useage, but as the book progressed, and Austen's characters became flatter, more distorted, doing things they simply would never have done, it became acutely uncomfortable to read more than a page or two, and I finally gave up.
The authors don't really have anything to say, so the story doesn't go anywhere. They also don't really seem to understand the mental paradigm of the time, much less the niceties of manners. (And if you're going to write a comedy of manners, then, yes, the little things DO matter.) Georgiana simply would not have hared off to London alone. Mrs. Bennet would not have mentioned to strangers, especially strangers perceived at a higher social level, that her sister was in jail. She might have moaned and acted lachrymose and dropped hints that her life was tragic, but even she would never have gone that far. And Miss Bingley would never have referred to Kitty and Mary by their first names--thus claiming a familiarity she utterly despised.
About all I can attest to in its favor is that at least the authors did not clutter the book up with a lot of Georgette Heyer slang. Lady Catherine de Bourgh, I am grateful to say, never told Georgiana "Stop making a cake of yourself." And Elizabeth Darcy did not, thank heaven, say to her husband, "You're bamming me!"
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 16, 1999
Format: Paperback
This is the first sequel to P&P that I've read. I was slightly skeptical, but based on the other reviews, I expected a decent story. And I wasn't disappointed. It's certainly not from the pen of Jane Austen, but the author does a fair job of capturing Jane's spirit and style. Some of the characters, particularly Lady Catherine de Bourgh, are exaggerated and come across as caricatures of their original counterparts, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. The author has obviously done her research, right down to the stolen-lace incident involving Aunt Phillips that actually happened to Jane's own aunt--that was fun to discover. I'm on to more P&P sequels now--but Presumption has set a pretty high standard.
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