Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Perfect Bride for Mr. Darcy by Mary Simonsen

book cover

The Perfect Bride for Mr. Darcy
by Mary Lydon Simonsen

ISBN-13: 9781402240256
Trade Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Released: January 1, 2011

Source: Advanced Reader's Copy from the publisher.

Book Description, my take:
In an attempt to get out of dancing, which he dislikes, Mr. Darcy snubs Miss Elizabeth Bennet. A little later, when he gets a better look at her beauty, he regrets his tactless words. He doesn't think he'll ever see her again, though, so he doesn't take the time to apologize. Still, he can't stop thinking about her.

When he hears that Elizabeth is in Kent, he makes an unexpected visit to his aunt, Lady Catherine de Bourgh. One evening, on impulse, he makes Elizabeth an offer of marriage while thinking through the cons of such a match out loud. Yet again, he's unintentionally offended Elizabeth. In a private talk with his cousin, Anne de Bourgh, he confesses that he proposed to Elizabeth and was rejected.

Anne wants to remain single, so she comes up with a scheme to bring Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth together again. She urges Elizabeth to visit Pemberley during her upcoming trip and causes Mr. Darcy to return home earlier than planned. Surely Darcy and Lizzy will see that they're the perfect match, but little goes as planned...

The Perfect Bride for Mr. Darcy is a historical romance set in 1808 in England, and it's a Pride and Prejudice re-write. The author referred to several historical events occurring outside of England and had them affect the characters in the story, but she generally didn't delve deeply into the day-to-day historical aspects.

The characters weren't faithful portrayals of those in Pride and Prejudice. In this version, Mr. Darcy had a couple of mistresses before meeting Lizzy. The author made Lizzy's family poorer and of lesser social class. And while Lizzy had wit, it's a different kind of wit. The characters also forgave all wrongs and fell in love much more quickly than in the Pride and Prejudice timelime. In fact, multiple events were changed slightly though the overall framework was maintained.

The author did assume the reader was familiar with the original story. She mainly filled in the scenes that Jane Austen didn't write. She also created a number of new characters and had them play major roles. Even though the story "wasn't really Pride and Prejudice," I enjoyed her characters and her version of events. Overall, the story was quite engaging.

I found one stylistic thing confusing, though. The author would sometimes start a new section with a new point-of-view character but jump back in time without clearly indicating this backward time change.

There was a minor amount of British and American bad language. There were a few, very brief, vaguely explicit lustful thoughts on Darcy's part, but no sex. Overall, I'd recommend this novel to Pride and Prejudice fans as enjoyable reading.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt from Chapter One
Summer 1808

Fitzwilliam Darcy paced up and down the side of the road. He had been within five miles of Netherfield Park, the country estate of his friend, Charles Bingley, when the carriage had veered violently to the right. After learning from his driver that the axle was bent, he had sent his footman in search of a horse, so that he might continue his journey.

A month earlier, Bingley had signed a lease on a handsome two-hundred-acre estate in Hertfordshire with a well-stocked lake and an uninterrupted view of the surrounding countryside. The manor house was the perfect size for Bingley and his small party. The rent on the house, which was owned by the Darlingtons, was reasonable, and above all, it had stables and pastures for Charles's horses.


MarySimonsen said...

Hi Debbie, Please forgive my late response. On the day you posted the review, I was with my daughter and son-in-law at the hospital with their newborn son, and it just got away from me. Thank you for your kind review. I'm glad youo enjoyed it. :) Mary

Genre Reviewer said...

Hi, Mary.

Thanks for dropping by--no time is too late! I can certainly see why the birth of your grandson "distracted" you. :) I hope all is going well with them.