A myriad of thoughts assaulted Elizabeth, especially when Mrs. Willstone gently patted her hand and continued, “We would not want Mr. Darcy to think ill of Rosalyn because of unbefitting behaviour tolerated by her family.”
“You think my behaviour unbefitting?” Elizabeth asked incredulously.
Mrs. Willstone’s eyes cast briefly toward the ground in an unwitting gesture of discomfiture. “Unbefitting a governess, yes. Miss Bennet, you must know we grieve with you over your change of circumstances. It must be terribly difficult, but Mr. Darcy may be watching Rosalyn carefully for any signs of improper behaviour from her or her family…” Her eyes slowly looked up. “…or the family’s governess.”
(from Only Mr. Darcy Will Do, page 203 in the ARC)
I know, I know…I’m reviewing yet another Jane Austen variation. I hope you all are not growing tired of these reviews because I just can’t seem to get enough of these books.
Only Mr. Darcy Will Do is a retelling of Austen’s Pride and Prejudice by Kara Louise, which originally was self-published as Something Like Regret. Louise opens her novel a year after Elizabeth Bennet rejected Mr. Darcy’s marriage proposal at Rosings, and while she cannot forgive the role he played in separating her sister, Jane, from Mr. Bingley, she believes she may have been wrong about other aspects of Mr. Darcy’s character.
However, even if she had a complete change of heart about Mr. Darcy, it would do her little good, as her family has fallen further beneath his since the death of her father. When Mr. Collins takes possession of Longbourn, Mrs. Bennet takes her youngest daughters to live with her sister in Meryton, Jane moves to London and becomes the governess for her Aunt and Uncle Gardiner, and Elizabeth becomes the governess for six-year-old Emily Willstone. Elizabeth and Emily have forged a strong bond, but she continues to grieve for her father and cherishes the Sundays she can spend with Jane and the Gardiners.
Elizabeth is forced to deal with her feelings about Mr. Darcy when Mrs. Willstone’s sister, Rosalyn, comes to stay with the family and confides in Elizabeth that she has long had a crush on Mr. Darcy and will do everything possible to ensure that he views her as marriage material. With no one knowing what transpired between her and Mr. Darcy, Elizabeth must spend time at his Pemberley estate when the Willstones are invited for a fortnight. At Pemberley, Elizabeth gets a glimpse of the man Darcy has become since his failed proposal.
Louise’s novel turns the lives of Austen’s characters upside down but still manages to follow the major plot points of Pride and Prejudice. Elizabeth handles her changed circumstances with dignity, helped along by the fact that the Willstones treat her better than a governess in recognition of her past social status, and despite the duties she must bear in her new role, Louise allows her wit to shine through. She also brings in some new characters, like Rosalyn, whose quest to impress Mr. Darcy provides much amusement, and Mr. Hamilton, Darcy’s cousin, whose loose tongue and clumsiness add some lightness to the story.
Only Mr. Darcy Will Do is a must read for fans of Austen variations. I found that I couldn’t put the book down and read nearly all of it in one day. Louise obviously adores Austen’s characters and stays true to their personalities. Even though you know how the book will end, you’re not exactly sure how you’ll get there, but you’ll enjoy the ride.
Check out my reviews of other Kara Louise books:
Disclosure: I received Only Mr. Darcy Will Do from Sourcebooks for review.
© 2011 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.