The Man Who Loved Pride And Prejudice (aka Pemberley By The Sea) by Abigail Renyolds

Story Title: The Man Who Loved Pride And Prejudice (aka Pemberley By The Sea)
Author Name: Abigail Reynolds
Category: Pride & Prejudice
Story Url: Story Link
Alternate Url: Amazon Link
Content Rating: Mature
Status: Completed
Length: 123,800 words
Story Summary: Marine biologist Cassie Boulton likes her coffee with cream and her literature with happy endings. Her favorite book is Pride & Prejudice, but Cassie has no patience when a modern-day Mr Darcy appears in her lab. Silent and aloof, Calder Westing III doesn’t seem to offer anything but a famous family name. But there is more to Calder than meets the eye, and he can’t get enough of Cassie Boulton. Especially after one passionate night by the sea. But Cassie keeps her distance. Behind the veneer of scientific accomplishment, wit, and warmth, she is determined to hide secrets from her past. That means avoiding men who want to get too close, especially tempting and dangerous ones like Calder. Frustrated by Cassie’s evasions, Calder tells her about his feelings the only way she’ll let him – by rewriting her favorite book, with the two of them in the roles of Mr Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet. But only Cassie can decide whether to risk her future by telling him the dangerous truth.

Gioia’s Rec:
Abigail Reynolds is one of those authors who never disappoints.  I love her books.  I’ve had this one on my To Read list for a few years.  I initially hesitated to dive in because I wasn’t fond of modernized versions of P&P.  (I’ve changed my mind on that, as is probably apparent by some of my recent recs.)  I also had the mistaken impression – I don’t recall why – that this was an angsty story.  It’s not.  It’s inspiring, educating, emotional and romantic.

One reason I’ve not been as enthusiastic about modern versions of P&P is that I’ve seen a few which were rather light on character development and mostly just focused on the idea of how cool it would be to marry a rich man. (And yes, Fiddler on the Roof is playing in my head as I type that.)  It’s not that I’m entirely opposed to a Cinderella-ish story; it’s that, for me, Jane Austen’s book was always about far more than money.  It’s the character growth, the wit and the suspense which first sold me on Pride and Prejudice so many years ago.  Thankfully, that seems to be what Abigail Reynolds loves about P&P, too.  Although her version of Darcy is rich, it would be impossible to trivialize this book as simply being about money.  I won’t attempt to encapsulate the book’s purpose, but I will say that one thoughtful point made was understanding the difference between following one’s dreams at all costs vs. deciding that a new dream is more important to one’s happiness, even if it involves seemingly sacrificial choices.

The protagonists in The Man Who Loved Pride And Prejudice are flawed.  That really ought to go without saying in any novel, but again, I’ve been bored in the past by books that feature perfect people.  I’ve never been perfect, and I think a romance with such a person would be immensely annoying.  I relate far more to people who make utter disasters of their lives every once in awhile.  Reynolds’ protagonist, Cassie, is an extremely accomplished woman in that regard, even though every decision she makes is one that seems perfectly sensible and logical at the time, given the information at her disposal.  When a stiff, taciturn, snobby rich guy walks in making arrogant remarks and then freezing up when Cassie is friendly and welcoming, I was offended on her behalf.  And while I know the typical P&P plot structure fairly well (As per my son, “Popular, hot, rich guy is a jerk.  Middle-class, hot girl is a jerk back at him. Popular guy turns out to be nice.  Middle-class girl decides he’s not a jerk after all.  Cue make-out scene.), Reynolds still managed to blow me away with the journey her characters take.  And here’s the kicker: Even when I disagreed with Cassie’s opinions or actions, I was rooting for her every step of the way.

Mid-way through the book we have the Hunsford-esque scene, when the veil is torn from Cassie’s eyes and she suddenly figures pseudo-Darcy out.  Oh, but the way this happens is amazing. It’s brilliant. It’s sheer genius.  I was stunned.  The stand-in for Darcy’s letter is a phenomenal plot device.  Have you ever loved a book so much you wanted to give a standing ovation to the author?  I definitely had one of those moments here.

romney

I’ve wanted an excuse to post this picture for years. I give you the best Politician Barbie I’ve ever seen. Please note his patriotic color coordination and resolute expression.

Calder Westing III, Reynolds’ version of Darcy, turns out to be a member of a political clan that is very Kennedy-ish.  It’s as if John-John strolled into this book.  But that doesn’t mean that Reynolds writes Calder as if he’s some plastic Ken The Politician Barbie Doll.  Calder’s well-rounded enough to surprise me repeatedly, and so appealing I just want to hunt the poor man down and hug him.  Even his family is far more complicated than they first appear. His personality, goals and dreams are, too.  There’s no cookie-cutter Darcy here.

I’ve cried over these characters, booed a few, cheered my favorites on, and I was seriously tempted to do a little jig in a few spots.  Given what I’m juggling in life right now, this book was an incredibly welcome mental vacation.  As an angst-a-phobe, I’m also thrilled to attest to the fact that Reynolds doesn’t create pointless relationship angst. I’ve ranted many times in the past about how I like to see a literary couple face their troubles (aka growth opportunities) in issues originating outside the relationship, not within. There’s no reason to make people miserable just to provide conflict for a story.  Abigail Reynolds has not bought into producer Jason Katims’ absurd belief that, “A happy couple is a boring couple.”  Instead, she proves in this story that a happy, united couple can kick ass thanks to trust and unconditional love.

My Only Critique:  As with my last rec of Gardiner for America, be aware that the few political references in this story are from the perspective of a Democrat.  As a Republican who gets extremely annoyed when my beliefs are portrayed as signs of secret fascist urges, trust me when I say that you should have no problem with this book.  Unlike Gardiner for America, this book isn’t actually centered around politics.  But when political views are mentioned, it’s crystal clear that the bad guys are portrayed as bad guys because they’re bad guys – not because they hold to one political view or another.  If you’re tempted to recommend this book to your conservative friends, it’s far more pertinent for me to warn you about the love scenes than the politics.  I don’t think anyone’s enjoyment of this story will be hindered by the politics.  As for the love scenes, they were focused on the romance and the emotion, not the smut.   Even so, although my family wouldn’t blink over the politics, I’d probably tell my mom to pull out her official Judy Blume Black Marker Of Censorship if I loaned my copy of the book to her.   My poor copy of Tales Of A Fourth Grade Nothing was never the same, though, so I’ll probably just keep this book to myself.

Posted in Bennets have a son, Character Study, Chick Lit, Content Rating-P&P: Mature (R), Conventional (Canon) Couple, Drama/Angst, Era: Modern, Het: M/F, Hurt/Comfort, Introspective, Mr. Bingley/Jane Bennet, Mr. Darcy/Elizabeth Bennet, OMC/Elizabeth Bennet, Original Character featured, Pride & Prejudice, Prior Relationship for Elizabeth or Darcy, Published Novel, Romance | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Gardiner for America by Rosie J.

Story Title:  Gardiner for America
Author Name:  Rosie J.
Category:   Pride & Prejudice
Story Url: Story Link
Content Rating:  Teen
Status: Completed
Length:   82,670 words
Story Summary:   Seeking a shakeup in Governor Gardiner’s troubled Presidential campaign, Will Darcy goes looking for a new spokesperson and finds Elizabeth Bennet.

Gioia’s Rec:
“Gardiner for America” is such a fun story, I read it through twice before the story was finished. I had dreams about the characters. And thanks to this story, I’ve been re-watching The West Wing and re-reading certain passages from Tom Clancy’s Executive Orders. Since I enjoy the Jack Ryan plots, but detest Clancy’s bloviating writing style, that should offer proof of how much my imagination has been sparked by Rosie J.’s story, and the lengths to which I’ve been driven.

Comparing this story to The West Wing is probably the most accurate in terms of the general topic, the behind-the-scenes focus, and the chemistry and rapid-fire wit displayed by the protagonists. However, this story is focusing on the relationship that develops between William Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet during the presidential campaign of Margaret Gardiner. The West Wing tended to be focused on numerous characters at once while they were working in the White House. The heart of “Gardiner for America” is the relationship between two people; you won’t have to follow numerous plot threads at once. That approach is perfect for this story-telling medium.

The author does a marvelous job of naturally weaving in details that explain the process of a presidential campaign in America. That she can do this without subjecting us to a massive info dump is excellent. That she can do this without boring us to tears is even better. That she can imbibe it all with a nail-biting, edge-of-your-seat sense of excitement is simply amazing. It’s far harder than she makes it look.

I’ve been debating with myself whether it’s the personal elements – the romance, dialogue, friendships – or the exciting setting and rapidly changing environment which make this story such a success. I honestly can’t say which. The story wouldn’t work without both sides being so solidly written. As it is, this is an amazing finished product. I suspect I’ll be returning to this story many times in order to re-read my favorite quips and scenes.

My only critique:  The editing is superb. I only found one typo in the entire story.  The only thing I can think of that may detract from one’s enjoyment of this story is the politics. The campaign featured in this story is that of a Democrat, so of course all the politics are discussed from that angle. However, the author does a great job of not focusing on the nitty-gritty of the politics. Honestly, I was periodically annoyed by remarks on The West Wing (particularly by Amy Gardiner’s character). I don’t appreciate certain representations of my beliefs.   But Rosie J. never goes that route. The political issues aren’t hashed out, because there’s really no need to do so, as the characters already agree on their party’s platform. There’s criticism of fictional, conservative individuals (Will has a crotchety relative who is a conservative and a jerk), but I never felt that I, as a conservative, would be perceived as an ignorant monster by these characters. Let me emphasize again what a difficult job that must’ve been for the author. When one is trying to realistically depict a story set in the political arena, the truth is that everyone bashes the other side from behind the scenes. The fact that she could write a story set in just one political camp, make it feel natural and factual, while omitting anything that would offend a conservative, is quite remarkable.  So, to sum that up, if you’re like many of my relatives who can’t enjoy The American President or The West Wing, it’s possible this story won’t be your cup of tea. If you care more about the plot and the characters than their politics, you’ll be just as in love with this story as I am.

Posted in Alternate Universe, Bohemian or intellectual characterizations, Col. Fitzwilliam/Charlotte Collins, Content Rating-P&P: Teen (PG-13), Conventional (Canon) Couple, Drama/Angst, Elizabeth is wealthy, titled, or connected, Era: Modern, Fluff, Friendship/Mentorship, Het: M/F, Main Character Death, Mr. Bingley/Jane Bennet, Mr. Darcy/Elizabeth Bennet, Pride & Prejudice, Prior connections between Darcys and Bennets or related characters, Romance | Tagged | 1 Comment

Man-Whores and Wealthy Women by honorh

Story Title:   Man-Whores and Wealthy Women
Author Namehonorh
Category:    Doctor Who
Story Url: Story Link
Content Rating:  Teen
Status: Completed
Length:   5,549 words
Story Summary:  The Doctor and Jack have gotten themselves in a sticky situation and are about to be auctioned off as concubines on the planet Trioditis. What will Rose have to do in order to free her men?

Gioia’s Rec:
This story is just pure hilarity. There are several tropes rolling around out there which are completely absurd and silly. In this story, honorh embraces the farce and writes something so ridiculous, so insane, that one can actually imagine it happening.

I’m not sure when I first doubled over in laughter. Was it when the Ninth Doctor is goaded into actually taking the auction seriously and competing with Jack for bigger bids? Or was it when Rose marches in, dressed to kill, and playing a Paris Hilton wannabe to the hilt? Either way, don’t read this for serious character development. Read it for the unabashed silliness. Like me, you may even be surprised at the end to realize that the story has ultimately provided us with a character building, friendship-expanding event that explains the kind of camaraderie we see in “Boom Town.”

Posted in Companion: Capt. Jack Harkness, Companion: Rose Tyler, Content Rating-DW: Teen (PG-13), Conventional (Canon) Couple, Crack!Fic, Doctor Who, Doctor-09, Doctor/Rose/Jack, Fluff, Friendship/Mentorship, Humor/Parody, Out-of-character behavior (Deliberate), Spoilers for DW Series 2 | Leave a comment

A Shiver of Light by Laurell K. Hamilton

Story Title:  A Shiver of Light
Author Name:  Laurell K. Hamilton
Category:   Published Book
Story Url: Story Link
Content Rating:  Adult. Definitely adult.
Status: Completed
Length:   384 pages
Story Summary:   I am Princess Meredith NicEssus. Legal name Meredith Gentry, because “Princess” looks so pretentious on a driver’s license. I was the first faerie princess born on American soil, but I wouldn’t be the only one for much longer…

Merry Gentry, ex–private detective, now full-time princess, knew she was descended from fertility goddesses, but when she learned she was about to have triplets, she began to understand what that might mean. Infertility has plagued the high ranks of faerie for centuries. Now nobles of both courts of faerie are coming to court Merry and her men, at their home in exile in the Western Lands of Los Angeles, because they will do anything to have babies of their own.

Taranis, King of Light and Illusion, is a more dangerous problem. He tried to seduce Merry and, failing that, raped her. He’s using the human courts to sue for visitation rights, claiming that one of the babies is his. And though Merry knows she was already pregnant when he took her, she can’t prove it.

To save herself and her babies from Taranis she will use the most dangerous powers in all of faerie: a god of death, a warrior known as the Darkness, the Killing Frost, and a king of nightmares. They are her lovers, and her dearest loves, and they will face down the might of the high courts of faerie—while trying to keep the war from spreading to innocent humans in Los Angeles, who are in danger of becoming collateral damage.

Gioia’s Rec:

The biggest mystery: Who on earth is the cover model supposed to be?

The biggest mystery: Who on earth is that goth cover model supposed to be, and when did she last eat?

I’m reviewing this book separately from the rest of the Merry Gentry series, both because it’s the long-awaited continuation of the series after a 5-year break, and because it stands apart from the others for me.

This is actually the first of the Merry Gentry books which I feel comfortable recommending. Because Merry has her babies very early in the story, she’s under the typical postpartum moratorium regarding intimate relations. As a result, this is the least smutty of all the books. I think it benefits from that. Although she writes erotica very well, I’ve been anxious to see the story reach a few mile markers, and we finally see that here.

Some of the things I’ve critiqued in the past are still a factor in this book. The protagonists still talk, talk, talk, talk things to death. (As I have mentioned before, I think that’s actually one of the most realistic aspects of the series, as it mimics everything I know of politics and diplomacy: Miles of talking, but often very little ground actually covered.) But the issue of repetition and endless discussions is better handled here. For example, I only counted three occasions (Chapters 6, 11 and 35) in which they had to repeat the phrase, “Where is my Darkness? Bring me my Darkness.” And this time when they brought up the issue about whether or not the sidhe can lie or not, it is quickly addressed and then they move on. The characters don’t all stand around and argue the topic amongst themselves as if it’s a new concept. That’s a great improvement.

More to the point, things actually happen in this book. Decisions are made. Heart-breaking loss is experienced. There are some legitimately deep discussions about issues that are relevant to modern humans: PTSD, trauma, recovery, child-rearing – these things are addressed intelligently and with insight. I liked the specific ways in which the issues with Merry’s soldier friends are brought back into the story. There’s also a very interesting and serious concern about one of the babies which is well written. In some of the previous books, it often felt like the characters would never get to the point in their discussions; or that when they did, their point was not something the rest of us could relate to. Personally, I found that it was much easier to be pulled into this story in which Merry experiences things with which I, as a mom, could empathize.

I’m far more encouraged about the future of this series than I have been in quite awhile. So often, a series can start to drag out after several novels. It feels like this series has been re-energized. I like the direction in which Hamilton is taking the overall story arc and I’m eager to see what happens next. The future for Princess Meredith and her family looks exciting.

Posted in Baby/Kid-Fic, Chick Lit, Comeuppance/Vindication/Schadenfreude, Drama/Angst, Fantasy/Folklore/Mythology, Fantasy/Folklore/Mythology Novel, Fluff, Friendship/Mentorship, Het: M/F, Het: Multiple, Hurt/Comfort, Introspective, Main Character Death, Mystery/Crime Novel, Non-con/Reluctant Situation, Published Novel, Religious/Faith/Spiritual element, Romance, Series, Threesome, Tragedy, Violence or Abuse-Sexual | Tagged | Leave a comment

Darcy on the Hudson by Mary Lydon Simonsen

Story Title: Darcy on the Hudson
Author Name:  Mary Lydon Simonsen
Category:   Pride & Prejudice, Published Book
Story Url: Story Link
Content Rating:  Teen
Status: Completed
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?

Gioia’s Rec:
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.

Posted in Content Rating-P&P: Teen (PG-13), Conventional (Canon) Couple, Drama/Angst, Elizabeth is wealthy, titled, or connected, Era: Regency, Fluff, Friendship/Mentorship, Het: M/F, Hurt/Comfort, Improved Lydia, Introspective, Mr. Bingley/Jane Bennet, Mr. Darcy/Elizabeth Bennet, Original Character featured, Pride & Prejudice, Religious/Faith/Spiritual element, Resolution earlier than in canon, Rivals vying for Darcy's or Elizabeth's affections, Romance | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Hero at Large by Janet Evanovich

Story Title:  Hero At Large
Author Name:  Janet Evanovich
Category:    Published Book
Story Url: Story Link
Status: Completed
Length:  321 pages
Story Summary:  From the back cover:

Dear Reader:

In a previous life, before the time of Plum, I wrote twelve short romance novels. Red-hot screwball comedies, each and every one of them. The romances were originally published between the years 1988 and 1992. All immediately went out of print and could be found only at used bookstores and yard sales.

I’m happy to tell you that those stories have now been re-released by HarperCollins, presented in almost original form. I’ve done only minor editing to correct some embarrassing bloopers missed the first time around.

Hero at Large was the very first book published. It’s about a sexy guy who cooks a potholder in spaghetti sauce and charms a single mom and former world-class ice skater with the promise of a ride on his Zamboni. It’s got broken bones, giant turkeys, cantankerous cars, and Aunt Edna.

This was the book that changed my life forever and made me a published author. When Hero finally reached the bookstores, I was almost arrested for loitering in Walden’s. I stationed myself in the romance section and wouldn’t leave until I saw someone buy my book. It took three days!

Enjoy!

Gioia’s Rec:
I had expected Hero at Large to be complete fluff. I was wrong. Although it features a zany protagonist with an even zanier Aunt Edna (easily recognizable as an early version of Stephanie Plum’s Grandma from Janet Evanovich’s most famous series), that’s not all there is to this story.

When the protagonist, Chris, encounters a man who appears to be the Real Deal, Mr. Right, and Prince Charming all rolled into one, she immediately slams shut the doors of her heart. As a single mom, she’s already fallen for an impossibly unrealistic Happily Ever After, and she’s not doing that again. The first half of the book focuses on how Ken manages to get past her defenses and convince her that he’s for real.

The second half of the book, though, is where things get really interesting. Ken’s not all that he seems. So the question is, can Chris entrust the happiness and safety of both herself and her daughter to someone who hasn’t been honest with her? I loved that Evanovich doesn’t gloss over this. It’s a serious dilemma. Chris would’ve been a reckless and unlikable character had she just thrown her lot in with Ken, without giving serious thought to the emotional well-being of her daughter. I love the fact that Chris has to come to grips not only with changing her expectations of life, but trusting someone even when they’ve screwed up.

I’ve read several of Evanovich’s early, pre-Plum books. If they were all as good as this one, I’d be in hog heaven.

My Only Critique: As I mentioned, “Aunt Edna” is an early version of the Grandma in the Stephanie Plum series.  Having become accustomed to borrowed characters and plots thanks to L.M. Montgomery’s habit of pilfering both throughout her many books, this didn’t bother me at all.  But it’s possible that this might bother others.

Posted in Baby/Kid-Fic, Character Study, Chick Lit, Drama/Angst, Fluff, Het: M/F, Holiday, Humor/Parody, Introspective, Published Novel, Romance | Tagged | Leave a comment

Darcy Goes To War by Mary Lydon Simonsen

Story Title: Darcy Goes To War
Author Name:  Mary Lydon Simonsen
Category:   Pride & Prejudice, Published Book
Story Url: Story Link
Content Rating:  Teen
Status: Completed
Length:   260 pages
Story Summary:  Spring 1944 – Britain is now in its fourth year of war. In order to defeat Adolph Hitler and his Nazis, everyone in the country must do his or her bit. While a young Elizabeth Bennet makes her contribution by driving a lorry, Fitzwilliam Darcy flies Lancaster bombers over Germany. Because of the war, both are wary of falling in love, but when the two meet near an airbase in Hertfordshire, all bets are off.

Set against the background of World War II, in Darcy Goes to War, Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy battle something more than class differences. The greatest evil of the 20th Century is trying to bring Britain to its knees. In order to be together, they must survive the war.

Gioia’s Rec:
This one was a bit of a mixed bag for me. I loved the setting and the way that Simonsen captured the look, smell and feel of WWII England. She has a fantastic eye for the kinds of details that make it all feel so tangible.  I particularly loved the way she emphasized the difference between how war felt in London vs. how it felt in the country.  I’ve never read any other books which pointed out that very pertinent difference.  There is also a magnificent quote from Mr. Bennet, “it is not just an army or navy or air force that goes to war. It is a nation.”  It’s quite possible that this quote sums up the book perfectly, particularly in light of the way the war caused grief and required sacrifice from every member of the Bennet family, as well as everyone else in England.

Lizzy is beautifully captured and perfectly adapted to the 1940s.  I loved how unique of a character she is here.  Her emotional defense mechanisms for surviving the war, her irritations, her delights – they’re all depicted so clearly that I felt like I knew this character personally by the end of the book, and I was greatly disappointed to be leaving her behind.  I’d be thrilled to bits if there were a sequel, just so I could learn more about how Lizzy’s life proceeds.

Lydia is another whose characterization really stands out.  Again, we see a 1940s adaptation that is just pitch perfect.   She’s still giggly and foolish, but with the war affecting the populace more than seemed to be occurring in canon, and with the temptations before Lydia so much more explicit and transient, it’s interesting to see how that changed her story.

My Only Critique:  I must admit I was disappointed by Darcy.  When Lizzy first meets him, there is a moment similar to that at the Meryton Assembly, in which he insults her.  But in this case, it’s because he’s drunk.  I have to admit this was a big turn off for me.  In fact, it is mentioned a few times throughout the story that Darcy drinks when he’s upset.  That was a huge red flag for me.  Darcy himself describes his temperament as “rude, abrupt, moody” and “mercurial.”  All of those things could be said about Darcy in canon.  However, adding alcohol and a likely case of PTSD to such a mix was a big concern.  Additionally, he is so hurt and angry with his parents, that he has emotionally distanced himself from them.  Simonsen writes, “Despite his mother living in the midst of this latest attack on London, her son’s demeanor was so devoid of emotion that it reminded [Lizzy] of the man she had first seen at The Hide and Hare staring at her with cold eyes, and the thought sent a chill through her.”  Again, that’s a red flag for me.  It makes me wonder what’s going to happen during their marriage?  What happens when he’s having flashbacks or nightmares that send him into moody fits of despair? Will he drink? Will he emotionally distance himself from his wife and children?  Maybe none of that is possible, but it felt like their courtship was so rushed (in spite of it stretching out over many months, they’re largely apart), that Elizabeth has no way of knowing, and we certainly don’t, either.  Additionally, Darcy appears to have been a bit of a player before he met Lizzy, and he’s rather sexually aggressive with her up until the last act (when he finally seems to have understood the value in waiting), something which again bothered me.

It is entirely possible I’m reading too much into the situation based on my own personal experiences.  Personally, I’m wary of men who are moody and drink or are sexually aggressive and don’t seem to understand how disrespectful it is of their girl’s wishes to keep pushing the boundaries.  But if those aren’t hot buttons for you – and I’m quite willing to admit that I’m likely reading into things – then you’ll love the book even more than I did. And I really did adore everything else about this story.

Posted in Chick Lit, Content Rating-P&P: Teen (PG-13), Conventional (Canon) Couple, Deviates from canon at or after Meryton Assembly, Drama/Angst, Era: Modern, Era: Other, Het: M/F, Historical, Historical Novel or Setting, Hurt/Comfort, Improved Lydia, Introspective, Mr. Bingley/Jane Bennet, Mr. Darcy/Elizabeth Bennet, Mr. Wickham/Lydia Bennet, OMC/Lydia Bennet, Out-of-character behavior (Deliberate), Pride & Prejudice, Published Novel, Reunion-fic, Romance, Unconventional Couple | Tagged , | 2 Comments