After Darcy returned to his room for the night, Anne thought about all that had happened between Will and Elizabeth and recognized that her cousin had got himself into a real mess. But Fitzwilliam Darcy was in love with Elizabeth Bennet, and Anne had seen real interest on Elizabeth’s part during their evenings together at Rosings Park, so something had to be done. Before retiring, she had settled on a course of action. It was as complicated as any battle plan, and it would take luck and timing to make it work. But her cousin’s happiness was at stake, and so she began to work out the details of her scheme.
(from The Perfect Bride for Mr. Darcy, page 37 in the ARC)
The Perfect Bride for Mr. Darcy shows that author Mary Lydon Simonsen adores the characters from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and that she’s willing to have a little fun with them. I’d first seen Simonsen’s playful side in Anne Elliot: A New Beginning, a hilarious rewriting of Austen’s Persuasion. This time around, Simonsen recognizes that the arrogant though well-meaning Darcy needs some help in the romance department. Despite being one of England’s most eligible bachelors, Darcy can’t get a simple farmer’s daughter to accept a marriage proposal that most woman would die for.
Enter Anne de Bourgh, Darcy’s cousin and daughter of the high-and-mighty Lady Catherine. Despite some serious health problems, Anne puts together a plan to bring Elizabeth and Darcy together at Pemberley — a plan that enables both of them to recognize their faults and move beyond bad first impressions. Darcy’s sister, Georgiana, also assumes the role of matchmaker and assists in Anne’s scheming.
The Perfect Bride for Mr. Darcy closely follows the events in Austen’s original novel, which made it a tad slow for me in spots. But Simonsen’s original characters make the book a delight. I loved getting to know Anne, and Georgiana’s penchant for gothic novels and her pursuit of a career in writing was a lovely addition. Simonsen even gives Louisa Bingley more of a role, and her interactions with Lord Fitzwilliam, Colonel Fitzwilliam’s brother and Darcy’s cousin, are hilarious. The odd Mr. Nesbitt, who courts Jane Bennet in Mr. Bingley’s absence, and Mrs. Caxton, a woman from Darcy’s past, also provide much entertainment.
Without straying too far from the original, Simonsen allows readers to get into the heads of Austen’s characters and even has some fun with the ones we love to hate. Caroline Bingley is even more snotty, Wickham even more horrid, and Lydia Bennet even more dimwitted, generating much laughs. Those dead set against altering Austen’s classic novel might not be amused, but if you’re like me and don’t mind someone taking liberties with your favorite characters, The Perfect Bride for Mr. Darcy is a fun, light read.
Check out my reviews of other Mary Lydon Simonsen books:
Disclosure: I received The Perfect Bride for Mr. Darcy from Sourcebooks for review.
© 2011 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.