Karen V. Wasylowski has done it again with Sons and Daughters, an often hilarious, sometimes soul-wrenching, but always engaging tale as she continues the saga begun in the delicious Darcy and Fitzwilliam: A Tale of a Gentleman and an Officer.
True to the title, Darcy's and Fitzwilliam's children dominate the story. Darcy has three and Fitzwilliam nine. (Nine, you say? The man has worked overtime.) The book spans twenty years and we laugh and cry along with both clans as the parents age and their children grow and navigate the always difficult transition to adulthood.
Ms. Wasylowski’s flowing prose keeps you turning the pages to see what will happen next. With so many characters, something new, perhaps funny and perhaps heartbreaking, always happens. Like the time when the children, mostly preadolescent, find some erotic prints Fitzwilliam saved and aren’t sure what to make of them, although they’re certain they must be scandalous, to when Fitz’s wife, Amanda, has her ninth child in a very difficult birth.
Ms. Wasylowski’s is a master at writing the emotion of both adults and children, especially as she shows how the children’s feelings change as they mature. She also has a good ear for realistic dialog, whether the character is child or adult, male or female. At times, the boys are disgustingly boys, and the girls, while perhaps a little nicer, are the boys' matches in every way. And the parents, as parents do, yell and threaten as well as love their children to distraction.
I only wish the book was longer. With so many characters, Ms. Wasylowski by necessity had to skim over some stories. I’d like to know more about George and Kathy, and Anne Marie and Mr. Wentworth. Maybe a few novellas?
But if you want more fun with Darcy and Fitzwilliam, read Sons and Daughters.