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Posted: 20/02/2016
The Disembowelling of Pride & Prejudice - a review of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

‘It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a zombie in possession of ...

Darcy & Friends

Did you know - 'It is a truth universally acknowledged' that all Jane Austen's heroes have strong connections with Darcy's story? That's why Juliet's series of Jane Austen modernisations is called 'Darcy & Friends'.

At the start of each book is a Foreword by Will Darcy highlighting his connection with this particular hero. Here's an example from The Importance of Being Emma.

Foreword

by Will Darcy

Naturally, nowhere else in England compares to Pemberley. But Ashridge, an estate in Hertfordshire that once belonged to the Duke of Bridgewater, is almost my second home.

Like Pemberley, it has an elegance of architecture and setting that helps me to think and talk more elegantly – or so I tell myself. Very appropriate, since it's a world-renowned business school. And I'll never forget my first visit there some years ago - not so much for the teaching, although the Leadership course I attended was exemplary, but for a conversation about a painting.

You see, I love art - whether expressed through words, music, or brush strokes on canvas. And Ashridge has a little gem by famous eighteenth-century portrait painter Sir Joshua Reynolds, entitled 'A child asleep'. When I first saw it, I had no intention of having any children myself; where in the world was there a woman who would make me want that sort of commitment? I now realise how much I had to learn.

Back then, however, there was only one child that this painting brought to mind: my sister Georgie. I was in my teens when she was born, and could remember her vividly - so happy and biddable. In that respect, she'd hardly changed ...

Behind me, a man's voice interrupted my thoughts. 'Good God, that's just like Emma!'

I turned to him, eyebrows raised but my mood mellow. 'Your daughter?'

He shook his head. 'More of a little sister, although not so little now.'

'We must be secretly related then, because this is the spitting image of my little sister when she was a baby.'

The man - Mark Knightley, according to his name badge - gave a good-natured laugh. Instinctively, I decided that he could be a good friend - and I always trust my instincts. 'They're adorable at that age, aren't they?' he said.

'Especially when they're asleep,' I added dryly.

He laughed again, then frowned. 'But they're not adorable for long. The last time I called Emma my little sister' she ran away. She isn't actually my sister, I just think of her like that.' I detected a slight flush under his tan, as if something was troubling him. He went on, 'We used to get along brilliantly until - well, I found out recently that she had a teenage crush on me. Very embarrassing.'

'The crush - or finding out about it?'

'Both.' He cleared his throat. 'But she's a sensible girl' I'm sure we'll soon be back to normal.' A pause. 'Not that I've seen her much since it happened - and, anyway, I'm about to move to India.'

Little did I know that Georgie, fifteen years old at the time, was harbouring a teenage crush of her own - one that would have far-reaching effects. While the little incident between Mark and Emma had caused a rift that he only discovered years later.

This is their story ...