Saturday, 23 August 2014

For All the Wrong Reasons by Mary Lydon Simonsen

This book might be entitled' For all the Wrong Reasons' but when it comes to Elizabeth & Darcy, surely it can only be for all the right reasons!!!

After reading A Pemberley Medley by Abigail Reynolds and Simonsen’s own collection of short stories A walk in Rosings Park, I have been been won over on short stories. The idea of a short story is no longer abhorrent to me and I believe that if they are told well they can be just as satisfying as a full length novel. Although I would class this as a novella, it is what I consider a short story.

The premise for this story falls into my favourite P&P 'what if’ category, Elizabeth being married to Darcy and then discovering what a great man he is. You would think poor Elizabeth being married to someone she does not love very cruel indeed, but there is a twist to the usual premise and the path to love is quick and sweet!!!!

Bingley and Jane are happily married, which leaves 132 pages of Darcy and Elizabeth. The Pemberley estate is entailed away from the female line and Darcy’s cousin David Greyson is next in line to inherit. Darcy has fallen out with Greyson over plans to build cotton factories which boarder some of  Darcy’s estate and Darcy is concerned the surrounding lakes would become polluted and rightly so!!
A disgruntled Caroline, on realising her hopes in securing Darcy are fading, is now engaged to Greyson. With Darcy's two least favourite people due to inherit Pemberley, he is doubtful that Georgiana would continue to have a home at Pemberley should anything happen to him. Darcy concludes that the answer lies with an heir, a son of his own and who better to help him in that quest than the lady he once mentioned, much to the vexation of Miss Bingley, had very fine eyes,

The search to find a wife begins, but in all honesty we all know Darcy has somebody in mind. Writing to Mr Bennet and Elizabeth,  Darcy explains why he is in need of an heir and that he would like to marry Elizabeth. Oh dear Darcy's formal and business like manner is conventional yet unromantic. Keeping his feelings close to his chest, Elizabeth has no idea that the man who is propositioning marriage is deeply in love with her.

“Will, please tell me all you know about Miss Elizabeth Bennet,” Georgiana asked, ignoring her brother’s comment. Although Darcy had been almost legalistic in listing the details of his offer, he had said very little about the lady, an omission Georgiana insisted he correct. “It is my understanding that the education of the two eldest Bennet daughters was undertaken by their grandmother, the wife of a solicitor, and that Elizabeth does speak passable French. Although she does not play the pianoforte as well as you do, she plays a lively tune and has a fine singing voice.” “Are you planning to marry the lady or to exhibit her?” Georgiana asked with a frown. This was not what she wanted to hear. “What does she look like?” - M.L.Simonsen

Elizabeth having had no further offers of marriage since Mr Collins, is dreading the life of a spinster. Since Jane's marriage to Bingley, she has observed that Mr Darcy is a decent and honourable man and considering Elizabeth's aunt has pointed out that no man will offer for a lady “who favours her own opinion” – Simonsen. 
Elizabeth is secure in the knowledge that Darcy knows enough of her character to be certain she is not shy in voicing her opinion!

I liked this Elizabeth, so sensible in her reasoning, believing that her marriage would be a loveless one and no different to the many such arranged marriages that take place, she takes the rational approach. Elizabeth, as sensible as ever wants to meet Georgiana and see Pemberley before she makes her decision. After all, Georgiana and the staff at Pemeberly will be affected by her decision if she decides to marry Darcy, is she not the most loveliest and considerate person?

She viewed the painting of the handsome elder Mr. Darcy and admired a full-length portrait of his son, the current master of Pemberley, which, to Lizzy’s mind, failed to capture the essence of the man. Instead of being the head of an ancient tribe, he could just as well have been standing outside Covent Garden waiting for a hackney. Because the portrait was nearly ten years old, perhaps it was time for a new one, and Lizzy laughed at the thought that she was already spending Mr. Darcy’s money. - M.L. Simonsen

Georgiana is delightful, clever and has grown into a wonderful young lady. Accompanying Elizabeth to Pemberley she is determined to do everything in her power to get Elizabeth to give a favourable answer to her brother. It is thanks to her and Mrs Reynolds that Elizabeth gets to see who the real Mr Darcy is. Reverend Paul Kenner the vicar of St Michael's in Lambton, is the saviour of the day as both Darcy and Elizabeth seek his counsel throughout the book. In regards to his advice to Darcy, well all I shall say is that it was very interesting advice indeed! Especially coming from a clergyman and I am most certain Mr Collins would not have approved!!

Darcy is very witty, not overly flowery or swoonworthy, but a realistic Darcy. A man of his times, specifically some of the bedroom scenes (nothing that will have you running and screaming from the bedroom, it is a clean read) yet a kind and trustworthy man you can rely on.

Unfortunately I cannot continue as I am very close to telling the whole.  I will conclude that Simonsen’s  writing as per usual does not disappoint and if pushed for some objectivity, I would say that when they realised their feelings for one another it was a little too quick, however at 132 pages what did I expect! It was succinct enough to get to a HEA by teatime yet I could not help wishing that Simonsen would have expanded on this story, is wanting more a valid reason? I suspect not, considering it was meant to be a short read!

This Book is worthy of four hearts - Mr Bingley!

As always please feel free to voice your opinion! Lady Catherine certainly has no scruples in doing so!


  1. Hi Tamara, I read this one before I started writing reviews to help me remember, but I recalled the reason for the marriage and that I enjoyed it. I always enjoy Mary Lydon Simonsen's books.

    1. Hi Ceri. Thanks for the compliment. :)

    2. Indeed Ceri! Simonsen is consistent I know i'll like her books without needing to read any reviews :)

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  2. Great review Tamara. I'm thinking it is good read for a rainy afternoon.

    1. Hi Dawn. If you do decide to read FATWR, I hope you enjoy it.

    2. Yes Joy it's great for a rainy day. I love that I will have it finished by the end of the day, a satisfaction not often enjoyed with your 500 page novels :)

  3. Huzzah! Loved your review. Many people asked me to expand the story, and so I went back and had a look-see, but all I could come up with was filler. So it is what it is. So glad you enjoyed it and for writing this terrific review. Mary

    1. Thank you Mary I do adore your books and they always have me laughing! The fact I wanted more of the story is just me having my cake and wanting to eat it too :) thank you for this little quick fix of D&E


Thank you! Your comments are always welcome