Thursday, 28 October 2010

Mr Darcy Takes the Plunge by J. Marie Croft

GENRE: Jane Austen fanfiction/historical romance/humour


Impeccable comportment is mandatory in Regency England, a society governed by strict rules of conduct. Perfectionist Fitzwilliam Darcy, heir to an august ancestral estate, is the epitome of an unimpeachable gentleman, at least until... Our hero's immaculate image is somewhat tarnished when he and his traveling companions arrive, hot and sweaty, at Pemberley and decide to take a fateful plunge into a scummy pond. An embarrassing encounter on the estate's lawn leaves a long-lasting impression on Jane and Elizabeth Bennet, who are new acquaintances of Georgiana and Anna Darcy. With both families in London for the Little Season, Darcy finds himself thrown again into the path of perky Elizabeth Bennet; but a handsome army officer just might blockade further advances. This romantic comedy is a lighthearted adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, featuring a softer, sweeter, sillier side of Austen's beloved characters.

This "PUN-filled" tale will certainly not be a PUN-ishment to read.

Mr Darcy fails to make a good first impression in Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. It is no different in Mr Darcy Takes the Plunge, only that this time Mr Darcy makes quite a memorable first impression, in an interesting way. Picture this: Elizabeth Bennet is visiting her friend Georgiana Darcy at Pemberley and Mr Darcy and his friends return home without knowing that Pemberley has visitors. So, the boys decide to freshen up in the (dirty) pond on the grounds of Pemberley (Darcy’s idea), while they girls are taking a stroll. When Elizabeth meets Darcy, he is wet and covered in scum. And so, the story begins with an awkward and embarrassing first encounter between our two epic lovers. I knew right then that I was going to have fun reading this novel.

I can assure you, this novel is filled with humour, fun and wit and the puns are delightful. There is no end to funny and awkward situations, especially once Darcy decides to court Elizabeth, but it turns out he is not the only man determined to win her over. I often found myself giggling at the funny situations, and I especially loved the puns. One can always find puns in chapter titles and in almost every paragraph and it was so much fun detecting double meaninsg of a situation. I have to say that one of my favourite chapter titles was “Darcy’s Evening Goethe from Werther to Better”. This one really remained stuck in my head. Apart from the humour, there is also a lot of romance that should please any Austen fan, in particular a fan of Elizabeth and Darcy. But all ends well, although after a lot of (fun) strife, and I really liked that the author didn’t end the story with marriage, but showed the reader what happened after Elizabeth and Darcy got married. This really rounded up the story nicely.

I have to be honest, however, because although I really enjoyed reading the novel and had a very fun time doing that, I do have one complaint. I know that when it comes to sequels and re-tellings, the reader must expect changes. I always do and I take them into account. Regarding the changes made in this novel, I did not particularly appreciate that the characters of the original novel were so out of character at times. I missed the brooding and arrogant side of Darcy, the hysterical behaviour of Mrs Bennet, the rudeness of Caroline Bingley, and Mr Wickham was just not the scoundrel I remember from the original novel. I think that the situation was made too easy for the Bennets, as in this novel Mr Bennet does have a male heir, so there is no uncertainty present regarding the girls’ future, or rather the future of the whole family, which is partly why Darcy looks down on the family (their want of good society connections). So, the only obstacle for Darcy was another man and he did not really have to overcome any prejudices, and neither did Elizabeth, for that matter. So, if these were the author’s original characters, I wouldn’t mind them in the slightest because they are really very fun and great to read about. But since they were first created by Austen, I did expected more attention to keeping them in character despite the fact that this novel is a romantic comedy.

But all in all, this is a lovely story and it was a delightful read and I, personally, would recommend it to any true Jane Austen fan and to all those who like a good romance spiced up with humour and wit. I intend to read more from this author.

Thank you very much to Rhemalda Publishing for sending me a copy of this novel!

THIS MISS RATES: / (3.5 stars)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: J. Marie Croft, a Nova Scotia resident and avid reader all her life, discovered Jane Austen’s works later than others but made up for lost time by devouring the six novels and as many adaptations and sequels as she could find. In the midst of reading prodigious amounts of Austen-based fan-fiction, she realized, ‘Hey, I can do that’. So now in her spare time (when not working at a music school or on a wooded trail enjoying her geocaching hobby), she listens to the voices in her head and captures their thoughts and words in writing. Her stories are light-hearted; and her motto is Miss Austen’s own quote, ‘Let other pens dwell on guilt and misery.’ J. Marie Croft is a member of the Jane Austen Society of North America (Canada) and admits to being ‘excessively attentive’ to the 1995 BBC version of Pride and Prejudice.


Jan von Harz said...

One of my all time favorite movies is the BBC production of Pride and Prejudice. I have never (ashamedly) read the book. Your review of this one had me chuckling though and I think I would enjoy reading this. But first I really need to read the original.

Unknown said...

This sounds really funny and a little bit daft. I am not sure I could take it seriously. I wonder if Croft's characters could stand on there own two feet... It sounds like a great idea for a romantic comedy so maybe it didn't need to be an Austen retelling. Just a thought. Great interesting review :-)

GABY said...

It sounds as a funny romantic story. Pride and Prejudice is one of my favorite books and I don't usually read re-tellings, but maybe I'll read this one.


Blodeuedd said...

Lol, sounds fun! I do wonder how it would have been if it had happened like that instead

The Insouciant Sophisticate said...

This sounds really funny-I adore puns but the changes seem weird. Why would the Bennets have a son? How did Elizabeth and Georgiana meet? Great review.