Wednesday, 23 April 2014

A Perfect Bride for Mr Darcy by Mary Lydon Simonsen

'He did not want to remember her dark eyes or hair, her beautiful smile, and infectious laugh. And her wit! What had she said at Netherfield about the efficacy of poetry in driving love away? He would never again read a romantic poem without thinking about her comment.' - Mary Lydon Simonsen

After returning from his yearly visit to Rosings , Miss Bingley informs Darcy that Jane Bennet is in town, whilst unintentionally revealing that Elizabeth has gone to Hunsford. Upon hearing this news, Darcy hastens back to Rosings with a bewildered Colonel Fitzwilliam, who is wondering why they are returning so soon, after having only just left!!!

I love stories that explore and expand on small characters and Anne De Bourgh is one of them. Why did Darcy never marry her? What was their relationship like? Does she have a personalty or is she just the sickly daughter of Lady Catherine? 
Anne De Bourgh is like a sister to Darcy, being closer in age to him than his own sister Georgiana, who he has more of a fatherly relationship with. Darcy and Anne's close relationship is wonderful to see and this closeness means that Anne learns of Elizabeth's rejection of Darcy's proposal. Determined to see her cousin happy, Anne visits Elizabeth at the parsonage with the purpose of portraying her cousin in the best possible light. Yet Elizabeth having read Darcy's letter, is already bent in that direction. Before Anne leaves she secures an arrangement for her and Elizabeth to become correspondents. Now all she has to do is get both Darcy and Elizabeth to Pemberely at the same time. I admired that Anne put her health on the line to do everything in her power to bring happiness to her dear cousin Darcy.

'Leaning towards Lizzy, Anne added, with tears in her eyes, “He truly is the best of men, and it would pain me to think there was someone out there in the wider world who thought ill of him because they do not know him as I do.” Lizzy now understood the purpose of the visit.' Mary Lydon Simonsen

Anne was the star of the show for me and I absolutely adored her in this story, she finally had a voice and a lovely relationship with Darcy and the Colonel. Between her and Georgiana I did not know who to like best! There were so many things I liked about this story, one being that Simonsen used various characters including the Colonel to impart the situation of a changing world. This helped Darcy to understand that his objections to Bingley and himself marrying the Bennet sisters was groundless. The importance of marrying for rank and connection are explained but in turn we learn that families who made their fortune in trade, were now coming to the rescue of some of the titled gentry who were suffering financial difficulties. George Bingley, Charles's brother for example had helped Darcy's father with liquidation problems. 

'Darcy laughed to himself. Everything she said was unkind from her terse greeting to her accusation that he was acting in an ungentlemanlike manner. That had truly stung. He knew his faults. He could be sarcastic, impatient, aloof, but not a gentleman? No, he would not concede that.' - Mary Lydon Simonsen

Whenever books address the issue of Darcy's past in relation to him being  a man of the world, I find I am always uncomfortable, but Simonsen seemed to find a happy medium. No high class establishments, no maidens or married women. Instead she explored the issue of dalliances with widows and although It was a touchy subject for me, I was somewhat appeased!

Georgiana knew of Elizabeth's poem comment at Netherfield but did not know who it was made by, so throughout she kept referring to Elizabeth as Miss Sonnet, which was so sweet and funny. Oh, Miss Bingley is such a snob in this, even looking down her nose on some of the titled gentry, when she herself is from trade, then again I expect nothing less from her.

I really love Simonsen's writing, I defy you not to have a permanent smile while reading this as I surely did. There is no incongruence, the timeline is well thought out, the prose is faultless and the frequent intentional and unintentional humour will keep you laughing, pray do I need to continue. I will admit I was slightly disappointed with the end but only because I wanted more!

I always welcome your thoughts!


  1. Thanks for the review - this has now been added to my amazon wish list

    1. Wow Vesper I have no doubt your wish list is getting long! Mr Darcy takes a wife is also a good one.

  2. I am glad you enjoyed it Tamara! I have it on my TBR for this year because it's been lurking on my kindle for a while.

    1. Ha Ha Ceri, I too have some lurkers, but they are long heavy reads that will take me a while to get through. I know they will be lurking for a very long while yet! I hope you enjoy it.


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