Much has been made of the billing of Antonia Barclay and Her Scottish Claymore: A Rebellious Romantic Comedy as a combination of some of the key elements of Jane Austen’s work and of William Goldman’s The Princess Bride. While reviewers have found similarities between the comedy and the latter text, in terms of them both being fairy tale adventures about a beautiful young woman and her one true love, combining elements of comedy, adventure, fantasy and romantic love, they have tended to dispute any resemblance to the former doyen’s writing. Some suggestions are made in this review as to which aspects of Jane Carter Barrett’s tale bear some likeness to Janeian elements, most specifically in Pride and Prejudice.

The two-dimensionality of the male characters in Antonia Barclay and Her Scottish Claymore, shown in the bad versus good dichotomy of the diabolical Sir Basil Throckmorton and his evil son Rex versus the noble Highlander, Breck Claymore, echoes Austen’s portrayal of such relatively minor characters as the ludicrously pretentious Mr. Collins, as poised against the well-meaning, but rather bumbling, Mr. Bennett in Pride and Prejudice.

Pride and Prejudice has been likened to a Cinderella story, in terms of the female protagonists being overly obsessed with trying to captivate the man of their dreams, as is Antonia Barclay. That the felicitous ending of Jane’s masterpiece was as unlikely to occur in the everyday life of the times in which it was written as are the events in a fairy tale compels the reader to suspend his or her disbelief in both cases. The audience anticipated for both Jane Austen’s works and for Antonia Barclay and Her Scottish Claymore was, and is, also largely female in nature.

That women are figures who are ubiquitously on show in Austen’s work is paralleled by Barrett’s obsession with manners and the need for regal display in Antonia Barclay and Her Scottish Claymore. For instance, to Breck Claymore, the leading male protagonist in the latter novel, the heroine’s “majestic manner ... and commanding presence were undeniably and patently evident, as was her musical talent ...” One recalls the scene, in Pride and Prejudice, which is staged at Pemberley, where Mr. Darcy so intently watches Elizabeth play the piano forte that she teases him about trying to frighten her.

In short, there are many parallelisms between the two works, and the hype that Barrett’s writing has received as being reminiscent of Austen’s work is well justified. So, if you are a Jane Austen fan, you are quite likely to enjoy Antonia Barclay and Her Scottish Claymore too.