Lady Catherine seemed pleased but immediately asked, “And will she promise me never to enter into such an engagement?”
Her mother spoke before she could, stating in a defiant tone, “She will make no promise of the kind.”
“But, Mama,” Elizabeth pleaded, “should we not consult Jane? I think she would set the matter straight. I think she would unequivocally state…”
Ignoring Elizabeth, Lady Catherine continued to address her mother. “Does she have no regard for the wishes of his friends? Is your daughter lost to every feeling of propriety and delicacy? Have you not heard me say that from his earliest hours he was destined for his cousin?”
With a calmness and reserve that Elizabeth was shocked to discover her mother possessed, she responded, “Yes, Lady Catherine, I think we all heard you.”
(from Mr. Darcy and the Secret of Becoming a Gentleman, page 93 in the ARC)
Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice is a novel rife with misunderstandings, and Maria Hamilton kicks it up a notch in her retelling of the beloved classic novel. In Mr. Darcy and the Secret of Becoming a Gentleman, Mr. Darcy takes to heart the criticisms Elizabeth Bennet threw at him after his very arrogant and condescending marriage proposal. Even though he doesn’t think he has a chance of ever deserving or securing Elizabeth’s love, he sets out to right his wrongs.
Mr. Darcy and the Secret of Becoming a Gentleman takes a hilarious turn when Darcy returns to Hertfordshire to speak to Elizabeth’s sister, Jane, and apologize for separating her and Mr. Bingley. Mr. Darcy has a heart-to-heart talk with Jane on a walk to Meryton, and Mrs. Bennet assumes his singling out of her eldest daughter means he’s about to propose. Of course, you know there’s no stopping Mrs. Bennet when she gets these fanciful ideas, but it’s worth it to see her carrying on when her rumors bring Lady Catherine, Darcy’s overbearing aunt, to the Bennet’s home for a confrontation.
From the confusion over which man is courting Jane to Caroline Bingley being put in her rightful place, Hamilton’s novel is an enjoyable and romantic story that shows how people can change if they really want to. Although I think the book might be a tad long, I couldn’t get enough of Hamilton’s Mr. Darcy. The blurb on the front cover by Austen variation author Abigail Reynolds says it all: “Mr. Darcy will melt your heart.” Readers will fall in love with Darcy right along with Elizabeth, and they might even become a little worried when Darcy faces a rival for Elizabeth’s affections.
My only complaint about Mr. Darcy and the Secret of Becoming a Gentleman is the last chapter. The book suddenly skips ahead five months in time, and I was a little confused by the transition. Since it had taken a leisurely pace up until that point, I wasn’t expecting it, and it made it seem like the ending was a bit rushed. Still, I found the book to be an entertaining take on Pride and Prejudice and one I think most fans of the Austen variations will enjoy.
Disclosure: I received Mr. Darcy and the Secret of Becoming a Gentleman from Sourcebooks for review.
© 2011 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.