Wednesday, 23 March 2011

The Perfect Bride for Mr. Darcy by Mary Lydon Simonsen

GENRE: Jane Austen re-telling

Convinced that the lovely Elizabeth Bennet is her brother's soul mate, Georgiana Darcy enlists her clever and not at all snobbish cousin Anne de Bourgh in ensuring that pride and prejudice aren't able to keep these two hearts apart. All is going according to plan until Lydia Bennet brings scandal on the family by eloping with George Wickham, and Darcy is called away from Elizabeth's side before he has a chance to propose. It will take all Georgiana and Anne's considerable matchmaking talents to ensure that Elizabeth and Darcy are reunited in time to claim their happily ever after.

The Perfect Bride for Mr. Darcy offers a delightfully detailed background to the story and the characters of Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, as well as interesting and accurate insight into the society of the time. That makes it a highly enjoyable read and a must-read for lovers of Austen’s characters.

In this novel, Anne de Bourgh and Georgiana Darcy have more important roles. They come to the forefront as matchmakers, especially Anne, who first notices her cousin’s feelings for Miss Elizabeth and who first learns about Darcy’s failed proposal. This prompts her to act and bring the two lovers together as best as she can. I loved the expansion on the characters of Anne and Georgiana. In Austen’s original novel, they are minor characters who serve to more or less explain certain plot points. In this story, they become rounded, multi-dimensional characters with active roles and yearnings of their own. Although some significant changes were made to their characters, the changes are enjoyable and complement the two characters very well, giving them life.

The story follows the plot of Austen’s original, but offers expanded backgrounds to the story, as well as the characters. I was so glad to read about Darcy’s thoughts and feelings that were very well delivered. In the original, the reader gets to see the events mostly through Elizabeth’s eyes, but in this story, all characters are given a chance to contribute in this respect – even the snotty Caroline Bingley and the charming, yet conniving Wickham. Their narrations are smooth, vivid and executed in the period lingo with great ease.

There are some plot twists that are delightful and some that I needed some time getting used to, like the fact that Darcy had a mistress as a youth and the fact that Jane has a second suitor. However, this created some tension and uncertainty and I’m always happy when things become a little complicated. I was especially pleasantly surprised by Mary Bennett’s new fate and I hope that you will be, too, when you read the novel.

I highly enjoyed period details. The workings of the society are explained, their rituals, the places they frequented, and the Napoleonic wars are mentioned on several occasions, giving the story a very firm historical frame and also reminding the reader that the militia was not there (only) to entertain ladies, but was at the ready for battle.

This novel is a highly enjoyable and insightful story, and it is a fresh take on Austen’s beloved novel. I recommend it to all Austen enthusiasts – you shall not be disappointed.

My thanks go to Mary Lydon Simonsen for sending me a copy of the novel for review!

THIS MISS RATES: / (4.5 stars)


The Insouciant Sophisticate said...

Sounds good-I do love me some P&P and I'd like to know more about Georgiana and Anne.

Mary Simonsen said...

Thank you, Lorena, for your wonderful review. I am so glad you enjoyed it. :) Mary

Blodeuedd said...

I liked that Jane had a suitor, but I wasn't too keen on Darcy's old mistress

Jo K said...

This sounds like an interesting book. I have to read the original first, though.

The Book Bug said...

Oh myyy, sounds like fun! Great review, btw. :) I love historical novels, so I'll probably try and get my hands on a copy.

Also, your blog header is really pretty.