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The Youngest Miss Ward Hardcover – December 1, 1998
"Children of Blood and Bone"
Tomi Adeyemi conjures a stunning world of dark magic and danger in her West African-inspired fantasy debut. Pre-order today
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From Publishers Weekly
Jane Austen herself might be pleased with Aiken's sequel to Mansfield Park, focusing on the life of a newly created younger sister to the three Ward women. Lacking beauty or a dowry, and therefore without social prospects, Hatty Ward is forced to work as an unpaid governess for difficult charges amid depressing surroundings. As the durable Hatty moves from one unhappy living arrangement to the next, Aiken effectively portrays England in the late 18th century, when social class strictly dictated the norms of behavior and an independent, clever young lady was often scorned by her elders. As in her previous Austen sequels (Jane Fairfax, etc.), Aiken captures the language, customs and style of an era when young women's lives were at the mercy of their parents, older siblings and highly connected relatives. Hatty is an admirable heroine, resolutely facing the challenges thrown her way, finding solace in poetry and the accomplishments of her arduous work. References to the distant French Revolution and to the indentured servant route to America bring period authenticity to the story. Intelligent, warmhearted Hatty and the hardships she must endure before she can find true happiness will please Aiken's loyal readers and satisfy Austen fans.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
In her latest Jane Austen read-alike, Aiken profiles Hattie Ward, the youngest of the Ward sisters of Austen's Mansfield Park. Hattie is a talented child, a writer, whose tribulations sometimes seem more Dickensian than Austen-like, as first she is torn from her mother through the machinations of the vicious Lady Ursula and then from the woman she has come to regard as a second mother. Even Austen would balk at the complications that befall Hattie. Though the prolific Aiken has a slew of fans, this latest copycat novel is too far off the mark, lacking the gentle mockery and acuity of Austen as well as her wit. Austen fans may wish to check out some of the novels by Emma Tennant and Julia Barrett from the early 1990s or Stephanie Barron's current Austen mysteries. For Aiken devotees only.?Francine Fialkoff, "Library Journal"
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top customer reviews
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We eventually find characterizations that are not humorous to laugh at, as so much of Austen has, but characterizations that we do not admire, and further find that our heroine struggles in vain so much of the time that she has little for admiration as well. Finally when she shows spirit in her nature, instead of letting calamity continue to beset her, the resolution rushes together and those carefully laid down layers of depth and complexity are nullified.
So much could be better here. And Spoilers----
for this one-The Duke's Heir that acts anything but, wanting to even try to be an indentured servant just so he can relate to such burdens, a social experiment that Wilberforce would never have done and I submit that was a much better man than Aiken's Hero, who in the end, she guts with a quick twist and makes him much less of one than we are led to expect. Of course Austen never meant for her creatures to know those beyond the rank of baronet, for even the Earl of M----K remains off the page for but a mention in Pride and Prejudice.
Aiken worked to include to high a star for her Austenesque Heroine and had to crash her back to earth after an entire book of trying to give us hope for a romance. Then, at the end, in the very last paragraphs she decided that all is not linked to the Austen saga as this Ward sister has fallen even further than Fanny Price's mother and shall be erased from all knowledge, only in the last line are we informed, 'she died young.'
So this is a never again. That only a completist I feel would want to add to their knowledge. The character of Harriet we learn to like, and she finds her place in the world, but she takes perhaps her greatest disappointment too stoically for a Romance, and then the instances of a sub plot over fortunes are bestowed in an epilogue that then are proved pointless. Even Fanny Price has her happy ending. Her Aunt it appears under the penmanship of Ms Aiken, does not.
Trust me: if you like Jane Austin and are a 21st Century woman (or a male Austin fan) you'll appreciate Aiken's wisdom and you'll be smiling with her by the last page.
The most interesting contrast in the book was that of Lady Ursula, well situated in the class structure but not able to cope with the consequences of her choices, and Harriet Ward, the quintessential poor relation who is better equipped to cope with life's vagaries. The novel provides more food for thought than one might otherwise anticipate.
Most recent customer reviews
i sure hope not. (utter failure)
the plot was stretched out over too many pages and interjected with...Read more