Monday, 10 March 2014
A Wife for Mr Darcy by Mary Lydon Simonsen
This is the second book I have read by this author, the first being 'When they fall in Love' and what a delightful read it was. This book is a Pride and Prejudice 'what if'. What if Mr Darcy came to Longborn a few days after the Meryton assembly and apologised to Elizabeth for his comment, that she was not handsome enough to tempt him. What if for the rest of his stay he made more effort with the society in Hertfordshire to repair the damage done.
As a result of Mr Darcy's apology Elizabeth and he get on quite well, so you can imagine how her conversation with Wickham goes, it is so funny. What a difference it makes when someone speaks ill of someone you like.
But alas although Elizabeth and Darcy get along there is a complication, before venturing into Hertfordshire Mr Darcy had already started to show attention to a young lady by the name of Miss Montford, deciding it was high time he took steps in the direction of marriage. While not yet courting her, there where expectations and of course Mr Darcy being the honourable man he is (even if he is in love with Elizabeth) must do what is expected. The author did her research and it was interesting to learn more about the rules that surround courtship and what the established mode of conduct was. There really was a fine line between showing someone even the smallest amount of attention and making a proposal, If I was a man in the Regency era I would be walking around with my head down less anybody think I was interested! Once you made a beginning there was no going back without causing a scandal, even before you started a courtship!
It is sad to think that with all of his money, his name, and his elevated position in society that happiness might elude him because he may have to marry a woman he does not love. On the other hand, it would be difficult to truly be miserable when you take into consideration the enormity of his wealth, his large estate in Derbyshire, and a house in town.” “Elegant carriages and paintings by the Masters,” Jane said, adding to Lizzy’s list. “An invitation to Almack’s.” “Tickets to the opera.” “A stable full of horses…” -M.Lydon Simonsen
I love Charles Bingley in this story, even before the Netherfield ball he is intent on having Miss Bennet, he will not give way even when his two sisters give their opinion on the matter. Charles is actually happy to see the back of them as they have nothing constructive to say about Jane Bennet. When his sisters leave Netherfield his older sister comes to stay with her children. It was an interesting concept for Charles to have more brothers and sisters as it gave the opportunity for more characters and the opportunity to expand on Jane's lovely qualities. All I will say is Charles's niece Athena, the billiards room and Darcy shoving Elizabeth through a secret door in the wood panelling, Hilarious!!!!
I really liked Georgiana in this book, a confident, lively, sweet young Lady; I liked her very much, very much indeed. The difference in Georgiana in comparison with Austen's portrayal did not stretch the imagination. The author was very clever in that by making subtle changes, she had the licence to bend the characters to her liking. Georgiana was 18 and had already come out thus helping her in some way towards conquering some of her shyness. As a result her relationship with Darcy was wonderful and their playfulness with one another showed them both in the best light. There was nothing not to like about the pair of siblings and Georgiana's determination to see her brother happy could only help in getting him and Elizabeth together.
“Do not worry about your appearance, Lizzy. The men do not look any better,” Georgiana said while glancing at her ugly brown riding coat. When the two gentlemen came out of the stables carrying their farmer’s hats, Georgiana started laughing. “Well, we may now proceed, as Farmer Will and Farmer Dick have arrived,” which made Darcy laugh. He found his sister to be delightful, and his most unguarded moments were when he was with her. - M.Lydon Simonsen
Another delightful character was Lord Fitzwilliam (Anthony) Colonel Fitzwilliam's brother. Anthony is hilarious and I could not help laughing out loud every time he spoke. The best way I can describe him is an eccentric rake. I truly liked him and even sympathised with his behaviour. He had a mistress and although I would not condone such behaviour, I could understand. I could not imagine not being able to marry for love and the obligation to marry for connections in that era was the established mode among the elite. He could not stand the woman he was married to and as a result was destined for a life of misery, so I could sympathise with his actions in taking a mistress. His brother Colonel Fitzwilliam was quite over shadowed, however the Colonel did play a vital role in being the voice of reason when Darcy needed a confidant. The Colonel and Georgiana become co-conspirators along with Anthony and Anne, in an attempt to bring Elizabeth and Darcy together, how delightful, will they succeed?
I love books that are situated in the Regency era and I know it must be difficult for modern day authors to write in Regency prose. In this respect the author's writing seemed effortless and the dialogue, plot and characters were congruent which made it an easy read. As I said previously with subtle changes the author was able to have free reign with her characters. I feel she tried to stay close to Austen's original characters and although they may have been slightly different they were there in the essentials. When Darcy tries to write Elizabeth a love letter he struggles because it is not the type of thing he would do and when you think of Austen's taciturn Darcy you can well believe it! This Darcy reminded me of the Colin Firth we see after Pemberley. Elizabeth was lovely and witty and it was enjoyable to have her like Darcy throughout the story.
You do not want to frighten her. It is a bad start to a marriage when you have to pry your spouse’s fingers, one at a time, from the bedpost on your wedding night. Ask Eleanor. Although I very nearly succeeded in holding her off.” “I still intend to go to London,” Darcy said, shaking his head in amusement at Antony’s comment. - M.Lydon Simonsen
I really enjoyed the scenes when Darcy was in Miss Montford's company because it allowed you to see the difference between his interactions with a lady of the ton and the unique country lass that was Elizabeth, no wonder he was still single at eight and twenty. Lastly Darcy's love for Elizabeth was lovely to see and his struggle with wanting to be more affectionate with her was funny. As a man of the world and a man of honour trying to adapt to Elizabeth's world as a maiden must have been difficult! Elizabeth did allow for a few kisses but she certainly adhered to the dictates of propriety, well done Elizabeth I would expect nothing less and Darcy being the man that he is respected that.
I really enjoyed this book and have the next Mary Lydon Simonsen instalment on my kindle!
Please feel free to share your thoughts!