Monday, January 09, 2012

The Ballad of Gregoire Darcy by Marsha Altman

The Ballad of Gregoire Darcy is the 4th book in Marsha Altman's Pride & Prejudice spin-off series and they absolutely must be read in order, but let me just put this out there: They're my favorites. If you like Austen spin-offs, you should definitely read them, in my humble opinion.

Onward. Gregoire Darcy is one of two unexpected brothers that Fitzwilliam Darcy manages to discover in Altman's wild and crazy series. I think he showed up in the second book, but there's been enough space between the reading of the titles that I'm not certain. At any rate, he's a monk and the book is not merely about Gregoire. It's a continuation of an epic family saga written by the one author I believe stays closest in characterization to Austen's originals (at least, in dialogue). And, yet, she is so wildly creative that -- at the same time -- Altman manages to make them all her own.

In The Ballad of Gregoire Darcy, Gregoire nearly dies and he is excommunicated. I think that's the right word. He's kicked out of the monk business, at any rate, but the reasons are quite fascinating. I can't go into details; that would be telling. In England, Gregoire must find his place. Will Gregoire ever be able to reconcile his austere days with his new life as a gentleman? What should he do next? And, might Gregoire possibly find love in this new life?

Meanwhile, there's all sorts of other adventure and madness happening. The only problem I have with The Ballad of Gregoire Darcy is the fact that the Darcys and Bingleys are so freaking prolific that it's hard to keep track of and distinguish between all the youngsters running around.

The Ballad of Gregoire Darcy is a marvelous, escapist read. There are a few characters who are almost clownish in their oddity and they are the reason the third book was my least favorite. Fortunately, those particular characters have a lesser role in the fourth installment and I absolutely loved it.

Recommended for readers of Jane Austen spin-offs and/or fans of epic family sagas who don't mind the fact that the author used someone else's characters as a starting point. Just be certain to read them in order.

The other books in the series (with links to my reviews):

Things I'm working on but for which you should not hold your breath waiting:

  • 2011 Reading Year in Review Post, which may include my reading goals if adding them doesn't make the post so long it won't fit on your screen.
  • Learning to speak Italian (I just did Lesson 1).
  • Highlighting the "1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die" list to see how many I've read (and, in another color, those I've attempted and given up on -- quite a few of those, near as I can tell).
  • The laundry. It never ends.
Other totally useless information:

I gave this eyeglass holder (which we refer to as "The Nose") to Kiddo as a stocking-stuffer for Christmas. He announced that he found it distasteful (actually, he may have used a lesser word) and I have therefore adopted The Nose. Quite frankly, I really love The Nose. I think he's quite handsome and it's very nice knowing where to find my glasses.

©2012 Nancy Horner. All rights reserved. If you are reading this post at a site other than Bookfoolery and Babble or its RSS feed, you are reading a stolen feed. Email for written permission to reproduce text or photos.


  1. I should hang my head in shame because I've had this book on my shelf for several months and haven't read it yet. I plan to do so soon because I loved the 1st 3 books! I love how Altman has made these characters her own while staying true to the original.

  2. I like the Nose, and could certainly use it in the evenings when I take off my glasses and go to sleep.

    Haven't read much in the way of Austen spinoffs, but I do have quite a stockpile of them on my Kindle! I perhaps need to read these as well. I am glad that you enjoyed it so much!

  3. Rod has several pairs of reading glasses and sunglasses scattered all over the house. He could use a half dozen "noses"!

    I still have to write up my Top Ten for 2011 post. At least I finally got all my reviews for the posted.

    Studying Italian, eh? Does that mean what I think it means? :)

  4. Anna,

    Hurry up and shove it up to the top of your TBR! It's absolutely loads of fun, just like the rest of the series. In fact, I think this book is one of my favorites from the series. Yes, same here. I always find myself picking other spin-offs to pieces but the characters in Marsha Altman's books somehow manage to be both true to Austen and unique, at the same time. Altman's a master, IMHO.


    I've read quite a few of them and, honestly, there are very few that I love. One other author came close. I think Marsha Altman's books are the only Austen spin-offs in which the characters' dialogue makes them sound just as they did in Pride and Prejudice (Mr. Bennet is one of my favorites - he retains that same sarcastic wit, throughout) but at the same time she manages to go spectacularly off the rails in a good way. They're all adventurous reads. I hope you'll at least give The Darcys and The Bingleys a go, just to see if you like them!

    The Nose is awesome. I really need 6 noses because I have reading glasses, reading sunglasses, distance sunglasses, distance glasses, bifocals, etc. I have not succeeded in getting myself used to bifocals, so I do a lot of switching.


    Yes, same here. I need to go back to Nashville to get more noses. LOL Right now, I'm keeping my distance glasses perched on The Nose on the mantle because I really only use distance glasses while watching TV. My eyes aren't all that bad. But, I can no longer read without reading glasses. Bummer. This getting old business kind of sucks.

    It takes me forever to write up my end-of-year posts because I have a pretty lengthy format that I've used since the beginning and I have to do a lot of pondering to narrow down. It's fun, though, and I continue to use that same format because it's great for looking back at past years.

    Yes, I do believe it means what you think. Huzzybuns says I chose Japan for his milestone birthday (note that I'm avoiding the number -- it makes my skin crawl) so he gets to choose our destination for mine. And, he's saying Italy is IT. I guess I should start reading about Italy, too.

  5. Cherri T.2:59 PM

    I quite agree, Marsha is one of the best out there for Darcy fanfiction. Love, love, love her take on the Darcy clan. I can hardly wait for book 5! If it's been awhile between books I read the last one in the series to brush up on the charaters, there are so many. Marsha has quite the imagination. Go Marsha go!

  6. Cherri,

    That's good thinking. I have a tendency to bury books I've already read (if I do keep them). I've kept this series because I love them so much, but Lord knows where I've put them. I absolutely love Marsha's wild imagination, too!

  7. Cherri T.5:03 PM

    Thats why I love my Kindle, my entire library fits in my purse :)

  8. Cherri,

    I'm one of those people who panic at the thought that if I start buying only e-books, paper books will disappear. Doing without Borders has been miserable -- miserable, I tell you! It was my happy place!!

  9. You' re così impressionante!

    Il naso è impressionante, anche!!

  10. Carrie,

    I'm only on lesson 1!!!! I have no idea what you just said. I just know things like "Bon giorno" and "Il bambina mangia." Even those are probably wrong. LOL

  11. Okay, got it. I'm impressive and so is the nose. *snicker*


Thank you for visiting my blog! I use comment moderation because apparently my blog is a spam magnet. Don't worry. If you're not a robot, your comment will eventually show up and I will respond, with a few exceptions. If a comment smacks of advertising, contains a dubious link or is offensive, it will be deleted. I love to hear from real people! I'm a really chatty gal and I love your comments!