Follow Here To Purchase Second Impressions

Author: Ava Farmer

Publisher: Chawton House

ISBN: 0-978161364475-0-9


This has been a good year for Janites! First out of the gate , early in the New Year, was P.D.James’s Death Comes to Pemberley, and now in mid-summer comes Ava Farmer‘s stylistically rich Second Impressions. Both these sequels to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice will appeal but probably for quite different reasons.

Ava Farmer, the nom de plume ,of Sandy Lerner, the author of Second Impressions, is in real life a farmer who owns and operates Ayrshire Farm in Upperville, Virginia. Ms. Lerner is obviously a woman of many talents because she also manages Home Farm Store in Middleberg, Virginia and is publican of Hunter’s Head Tavern in Upperville. As well, Ms. Lerner is Chairman of the Trustees of Chawton House Library and the Centre for the Study of Early Women’s Writing in Alton, Hampshire, UK. She is also founder of a large technology company and a small cosmetics company. She is the editor of a dictionary of digital music and a book on carriage driving. Chawton cottage now houses the Jane Austen Museum.in Alton , Hampshire , a setting typifying England’s ‘green and pleasant land.’Early in 1809, Jane’s brother ,Edward, offered his mother and sisters the use of this cottage, in Chawton village, that was part of Edward’s nearby estate, Chawton House. There the family lived a quiet life working with the poor, or teaching privately while Jane devoted herself to writing. And it was at Chawton cottage that she wrote Sense and Sensibility (1811), Pride and Prejudice (1813), Mansfield Park (1814), and Emma (1815)

The mixed enthusiasm that greeted James’s Death Comes to Pemberley is the result of unfulfilled reader expectations. The novel is neither pure mystery as James readers are used to nor pure facsimile Austen as the title suggests it might be. Second Impressions avoids this kind of disappointment because it is probably as pure Austen as one can expect when one considers     its authorship. Not only is the story solid, but the language is extraordinary in its imitation. Consider the following:


“At length, it was again Mr. Darcy who secured the respectability and comfort of the last of Mrs Bennet’s unmarried daughters, although in this instance, not with perhaps such universal gratitude.”

or this:

“There is little wonder to that, you poor dear,”said Elizabeth as Georgiana gave the horse the direction toward the home farm. “I will be completely quiet all the way home, and promise to offer you no tea-cakes for a week.”

Ms. Farmer takes up the story of the Darcy Family. Ten years have past since the end of Pride and Prejudice, Mrs Bennet has died. The French War is over and peace has come at last. The question posed is how will the characters created by one author cope with industrialization and the new fortunes made in trade as described by another.

Whatever your thoughts regarding this kind of literary continuation of a classic tale, I would give this one a chance. It is worth the effort just to enjoy the glory of the language.


Follow Here To Purchase Second Impressions