Story Title: Darcy on the Hudson
Author Name: Mary Lydon Simonsen
Category: Pride & Prejudice, Published Book
Story Url: Story Link
Content Rating: Teen
Length: 268 pages
Story Summary: When Fitzwilliam Darcy, Georgiana Darcy, and Charles Bingley set sail from England to New York, each travels with a different purpose. Georgiana wants to put a particularly jarring incident involving a family friend behind her, and Charles wishes to visit his uncle in an exciting new land. For Darcy, it is an opportunity to explore the possibilities of new sources of wealth in the expanding United States, but once Darcy meets American Elizabeth Bennet, it is the beginning of a love story. But will cultural differences and a possible second war with England keep them apart?
Darcy on the Hudson represents another opportunity for me to whine about Mary Lydon Simonsen costing me a night of sleep. I’m beginning to detect a trend here. Her entrancing book begins with detailed research which has clearly preceded the writing process. I now know why a certain shade of blue is so associated with all things Dutch. I know that the Erie canal was built by private investors, and loads of people thought it was destined to be an engineering failure. I know that the weird layout in my grandparents’ home, wherein there are no hallways, but rather a series of interconnected rooms, is a Dutch style of architecture. I also know that if I’m going to start one of Mary’s books at night, I need to set a timer so that I can get some sleep.
Another trend I’ve noticed in the last 3 books I’ve read by this author: She cuts through the angst born from misunderstandings and focuses on the plots. I adore this. I’ve always had a preference for stories in which the conflict comes from problems originating outside the relationship; not from within. Darcy on the Hudson continues that theme by giving us an Elizabeth and Darcy who get along and are attracted to one another almost from the very beginning. Their major dilemma is that Lizzy’s independent spirit seems right at home in the post-Revolutionary World of the United States, whereas Darcy’s conservative nature is more comfortable within the structured world of his native England. Although they each enjoy and appreciate the other’s country, it’s hard to imagine either Elizabeth or Mr. Darcy giving up their native land for a life with the other.
Mary Lydon Simonsen has easily become one of my favorite authors of historical novels. Ultimately, in spite of how much I enjoyed the character development and the intriguing plot, it is her careful research and the resulting details-rich narrative which so completely captivates me. She’s a meticulous story planner; that’s clear. And she does a marvelous job of carefully working through each character’s personal growth. But nothing compares to the way she makes her historical settings come alive. Barely a chapter in, and I swear I could hear the sounds of the Hudson River and smell the crisp air, all while sitting on a front porch at sunset with Mr. Darcy.
My Only Critique: I think I caught a few missing commas, but that was it. There’s nothing to criticize here. Mr. Darcy on the Hudson is about as close to perfect as I’ve ever seen.