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12 March 2014

Review & Guest Post: 'Second Glances' by Alexa Adams (2013)

A year has passed since the conclusion of First Impressions, and the marriages made by the three eldest Bennet ladies are prospering. Expectations are high for the two youngest sisters to do equally well. Kitty, having excelled in school, receives an invitation to join Georgiana Darcy in her first London season, leaving Lydia to bear the burden of the classroom alone. Will the most forward Bennet tolerate such inequity? Kitty arrives in London prepared to be happy, but her delight is marred when she finds a most unwelcome gentleman on intimate terms with her hosts. She has met the reckless Sir James Stratton before and would like nothing more than to never encounter him again, but his acquaintance she is forced to endure. Struggling for firm footing amidst the whirlwind of London society, will Kitty be allowed to follow her heart, or will her family force her hand? Join the reimagined cast of Pride and Prejudice as they pursue happiness amidst the ongoing obstacles of life, love, and interfering relations.

At the start of this year I read and reviewed Alexa Adams’ novel ‘First Impressions’, an adaptation of Jane Austen’s classic ‘Pride and Prejudice.’ As a dedicated Jane Austen fan, I’ve read numerous rewrites of Darcy and Elizabeth’s love story, and Alexa Adams’ work was definitely one of my personal favourites. Lucky me, I didn’t just receive a review copy of ‘First Impressions’, but also of the other two parts that make up this trilogy. I couldn’t wait to sit down with the second part of the series, ‘Second Glances’ and step back into the familiar world of Austen’s characters!

‘Second Glances’ starts a year after the end of ‘First Impressions’ where the three oldest Bennet sisters all got married. It is now time for the two younger sisters, Lydia and Kitty, to shine. After being sent to school in Bath, Kitty has shown her true potential by excelling while Lydia has kept herself occupied with gossip and the search for an eligible bachelor. When Kitty is invited by her dear friend Georgiana Darcy to spend her first season in London, she is thrilled and can’t wait for all the entertainment, fun and sophistication the city will undoubtedly bring her. However, events turn out slightly different when Kitty keeps running into sir James Stratton, a conceited man who almost ran her over with his horse. It is clear Kitty has captured James’ heart and he is willing to go a long way to convince her that he is the right man for her...

I’m happy to say the second part of Alexa Adams’ Austen rewrite definitely did not disappoint! In ‘Second Glances’, the focus lies on a different part of the Pride & Prejudice cast, most specifically Kitty and her new best friend Georgiana (Darcy’s younger sister). I’ve always liked Kitty and thought it was too bad how she was kind of ignored in Austen’s original story. It was great to learn more about her and see her personality develop in this retelling. Her storyline involves a rather charming man in the form of Sir James Stratton and between them we find the prejudice and misunderstanding that played such a central role in the original ‘Pride & Prejduice’, resulting in a thoroughly enjoyable tale of romance.

Alexa Adams’ writing is just as clever, satirical and Austen-like as the first part of the series, which is just a joy to read. The only negative thing I could say about this book is that it was rather a quick read I managed to finish within a couple of hours, and I certainly would not have minded if it had been a bit longer! ‘Second Glances’ is a truly delightful, amusing and well-written read and a great continuation of a wonderful classic!     


For more information about this book: Amazon UK Amazon US / Goodreads

I'm really excited to have Alexa Adams on the blog today with a special guest post and excerpt from her upcoming release, 'The Madness of Mr. Darcy'!

I’m so please to be back at 'A Spoonful of Happy Endings' to talk about my new book! The Madness of Mr. Darcy is a reimagination of Pride & Prejudice, like my earlier works, but there the similarity ends. The story is set in the 1830’s, at a time when the care of the insane was rapidly changing in England. The previous two decades have been extremely difficult for our hero and heroine, who were separated when both Lydia and her reputation were permanently lost. Their paths cross once again when Mr. Darcy, battered by depression, places himself in the care of Sir Frederick Wilson, owner of the private madhouse where Elizabeth is matron: the highest ranking female employee of the institution. Lady Elliot (nee Penelope Clay), Mary Crawford, and John Knightley are also “guests” at Ramsey House, and along with several original characters. I’ve greatly enjoyed populating my little bedlam, but I had no notion that Austen characters from other books would creep into the narrative when I began writing the book. This odd company bears witness to a romantic reunion in the most unlikely of places. I’ve had a long standing interest in portrayals of madness during the Victorian period, but it took some creativity to combine that study with Austen. First I had to figure out what might drive Mr. Darcy insane. The following excerpt hints at some of the upheavals orchestrated in order to make the plot work. Please bear in mind that this is still a rough draft and subject to possible change (I rewrote the end of Second Glances less than a month before publishing), and rest assured that there is a whole bucketful of happy endings awaiting Darcy and Elizabeth. Enjoy!

Darcy walked up the ramp to the freshly painted door. He made certain conditions at the cottage were maintained perfectly. Though other areas of the estate might suffer neglect, this place saw none of it. The gardens were tended and walking paths maintained with the same attention devoted to the big house. The inside had been refurbished with the most modern conveniences and contrivances, all installed with the occupant’s condition in mind. No detail was left unattended.

“Good morning, Mr. Darcy,” the plump woman he hired as both housekeeper and nurse to George greeted him.

“Good morning, Mrs. Able. How are you?”

“Tell Darcy he needn’t mind the pleasantries, Hatty,” the familiar voice called from inside. “If he did, he wouldn’t be here at all, for nothing about his visits are ever pleasant.”

“Hello, George,” Mr. Darcy replied, entering the cheerful front room. Wickham sat by a large window that framed the pleasing landscape bounding the cottage’s south side, examining the scene with a determination born out of a refusal to face his guest.

“What do you want, Darcy?”

“I have something I need to tell you.” He remained standing, staring at the back of his former friend and longtime enemy’s head, which suddenly twitched to the side, revealing the briefest glimpse of profile.

“Oh, do sit down man! Still stubbornly formal, I see. It’s a trait I’ve always detested in you.” Darcy perched himself upon the nearest seat, but he could not abandon his rigid posture, quite necessary for his endurance of this ordeal. “What have you to say?” demanded Wickham, with renewed focus on the scene outside.

“I’m leaving Pemberley for a while, and I am not sure when I will return.”

“What! Will you deprive me of your precious company?” he huffed. “I didn’t think you had much occasion for mixing with the world anymore.”

“I don’t.”

The wheeled chair in which Mr. Wickham sat suddenly lurched forward and around to confront Mr. Darcy directly. Unwillingly, Mr. Darcy flinched at the sight of George’s scarred face. “Then where do you go!” he demanded.

Mr. Darcy looked him directly in the eye, trying not to stare at the disfigured flesh. “To a mad house, if you must know.”

“A mad house?” the harsh visage softened with incredulity. “You mean you go willingly?”

“The man who runs it offers hope, and I have none other before me.”

“You must be mad, Darcy, to consent to such a thing! And if you aren’t, you surely will be before long. Do you not know what happens in such places?”

“I have spoken to the doctor myself, and he has described his methods. I know what to expect.”

“Like hell you do! Good riddance to you, then. We shall not meet again.” He turned back to the window.

“I am not leaving for some weeks.”

“I see no reason to beleaguer our goodbyes.”

“Nevertheless, I will come see you before my departure, and I’m sure I will see you again before the year is out,” Darcy told the balding head before him, rising to leave as he did so. Upon receiving no response, he continued, “I will leave instructions regarding your needs.”

A bitter laugh escaped Wickham. “I did not think you would leave me unguarded.”

“Take care of yourself, George.”

“Just go, Fitz.” He moved towards the door, but hesitating he turned back and stood for several moments, staring at the rigid head. “Oh for God’s sake, Darcy! What is it?”

“The man who runs Ramsey House is an old friend of Lord Matlock,” he said softly.

“And why should that matter so to me that you must stand there in silence like an imbecile?”

Darcy forced the words out. “The matron who works beside him is called Mrs. Bennet.

The head twitched. “I see,” Wickham said.

“So you do recall the name?”

The crippled man spun his chair around with surprising force. “Of course I remember the name, Darcy! What do you take me for?” he spat angrily.

Numbly, Darcy replied, “The kind of man who would destroy an innocent, wreaking havoc upon an entire family in the process.”

“Oh, yes!” Wickham smirked. “I had forgotten about that.“

Darcy felt his hatred for the man swell up for the first time since the fire. “I do not see how you could,” he said through clenched teeth.

“Yet you just expressed surprise that I recall the name Bennet! Do make up your mind, Fitz: am I a complete heartless cad, or will you grant me the humanity of having a conscience?”

“Do you?” Darcy asked wearily.

Wickham held his eye. “It does not matter how I reply. You made up your mind as to my character many, many years ago.” He turned back round to the window. “So you think Mrs. Bennet is a relation to those of Longbourn?”

“It seems possible,” Darcy admitted reluctantly.

“Be sure to send her my regards, should she prove an acquaintance.”

“You make me sick, George.”

“I have no desire for your presence, either, Darcy. Do take yourself off already.”
Darcy left without another word. Once he heard the door shut, Wickham rolled himself over to the front window, where he watched Darcy mount Jason and ride hastily away. Had the master of Pemberley bothered to turn round, he might have perceived the vigil, one silent tear making its bumpy way down a distorted cheek.
Thanks so much, Alexa!


  1. Thanks Jody! It's a lovely review. Reading it set my day off to a great start! You'll be glad to know that The Madness of Mr. Darcy is almost twice the length of Second Glances. Thanks again!

  2. Wonderful review! Thank you so much! I just purchased it!
    THe excerpt has me very curious as well! Thank you Alexa! You know how much I love your work and now I have another to add to the wish list!! Thank you!

  3. You have whetted my appetite with this excerpt. There are more questions than answers. What happened to Elizabeth? Is Darcy going there to find out? What fire? When is this being released? I can" t wait to read it. Whenwwilling be out on NOOK? O have a long list of TBT books and this one will be added. I've enjoyed your first 3 full length P & P novels.

    1. Thanks! I hope the book will be out early next year, but that's tentative at best. I will be posting more definite info as the process moves forward, as well as sharing more excerpts. Elizabeth is the Mrs. Bennet mentioned, having assumed the title for employment purposes. The fire took place about a year before this scene, consuming several cottages at Pemberley, and that was when Wickham was injured.