Elizabeth’s lips trembled in holding back a smile. “Why, thank you. I believe he will do admirably, despite not being in his dotage.”
Aunt Augusta gave a hearty laugh. “Well said, but still, old men make the best husbands, the older, the better. My goal was to become a widow as soon as possible. As a maiden I belonged to my father; as a wife I would belong to my husband. Only as a widow can a woman belong to herself. Lord Derby was a poor prospect in that regard. I daresay I could have chased him into an early grave, but it seemed more trouble than it was worth, when there was an adequate supply of elderly gentlemen happy to marry a well-dowered young girl.”
Elizabeth gave Darcy an arch look and then said, “I do not doubt it, but as I am not well-dowered, perhaps it is fortunate that I am not averse to entering into a marriage with a younger gentleman.”
“If he gives you any trouble, tell me, and I will make him wish he were older.” Aunt Augusta’s smile took any sting from the words.
(from Mr. Darcy’s Obsession, pages 272-273 in the ARC)
In Mr. Darcy’s Obsession, Abigail Reynolds really shakes up Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. In Reynold’s retelling, Mr. Darcy doesn’t propose to Elizabeth Bennet at Rosings, as she is called back to Longbourn when her father falls ill. When Mr. Darcy’s Obsession opens, Mr. Bennet has died, Elizabeth is living with her Aunt and Uncle Gardiner in London, and Jane is married to an old milliner. Mr. Bingley is upset because Jane is out of his reach, and Darcy can’t stop thinking about Elizabeth even though she is even less suitable a match for him than she was before her father’s death. Still, Darcy can’t let Elizabeth go.
Mr. Darcy’s Obsession is pretty predictable when it comes to Darcy and Elizabeth and Jane and Bingley, but that doesn’t matter. Reynolds livens things up by changing Lydia Bennet’s and Georgiana Darcy’s stories, but Lydia is still foolish and Georgiana still charming. She also adds a host of new and entertaining characters, from the street urchin, Charlie, and the innocent maid, Mary, to Darcy’s eccentric Aunt Augusta and horrible uncle, Lord Derby. The way women are treated in the book — which isn’t a far cry from reality back then, I’m sure — will turn your stomach, but thankfully Mr. Darcy is a true gentleman.
Reynolds has another winner with Mr. Darcy’s Obsession, drawing me in from the start with a unique take on Pride and Prejudice. Unlike her previous novels, there is passion but no sex, but of course there are misunderstandings and obstacles that threaten to keep Darcy and Elizabeth apart. Reynolds’ new characters are just as entertaining as the characters we know and love. I knew how things should turn out for Elizabeth and Jane, but I had no idea what would happen to Charlie, Mary, Aunt Augusta, or Darcy’s cousin, Henry, which added a layer of excitement and anticipation. Reynolds’ love for Pride and Prejudice is obvious in the care she takes to stay true to Austen’s characters, and I’m looking forward to seeing where she takes them next.
Disclosure: I received Mr. Darcy’s Obsession from Sourcebooks for review.
© 2010 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.