“Georgiana, I have come to a decision. It is time for me to find a bride for Pemberley.”
Who that bride would be, he had no idea. Only one thing was certain. It would not be Elizabeth Bennet.
(from Mr. Darcy’s Pledge, page 10)
Mr. Darcy’s Pledge, Volume 1 of The Darcy Novels, is a variation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice that caught my eye because it focuses on Mr. Darcy’s attempts to forget Elizabeth Bennet by setting out on a quest to find a wife. After she rejects his disastrous proposal at Hunsford, he returns to Pemberley never having presented Elizabeth with the letter that would have told her the truth about him and cleared up all the misunderstandings. With the help of his sister, Georgiana, who knows nothing of his failed attempts to secure Elizabeth’s hand in marriage, he sets about making a list of the qualities he most desires in a wife and mistress of Pemberley.
Darcy is rattled when Georgiana questions him about the most important quality he seeks in a wife, remembering Elizabeth’s laughter, impertinence, and ability to remain poised in the worst of situations. But he can never have her, and his desperate attempts to purge her from his mind give two young women the wrong idea.
Meanwhile, he must contend with Lord and Lady Matlock’s attempts to marry off Georgiana, and he has to patch up his friendship with Mr. Bingley, who has withdrawn from society after learning of the scheme to prevent him from proposing to Elizabeth’s sister, Jane. When an accident brings Elizabeth to Pemberley, Darcy has a chance to change her opinion of him, but with an assortment of house guests preventing him from speaking to her alone, will he lose his only opportunity to marry for love?
In Mr. Darcy’s Pledge, Monica Fairview lets readers see the events following his failed proposal through Darcy’s eyes. From wounded pride to embarrassment over his behavior to unexpected feelings of hope, readers see Darcy stumble — even emerging from the water à la Colin Firth — and evolve into a man worthy of Elizabeth’s love. There were plenty of heated conversations, misunderstandings, and competition among the ladies to have me alternating between anger and laughter, and I wanted to cheer out loud each time Georgiana amassed the courage to put certain disagreeable people in their rightful places.
Fairview keeps readers interested with her expansion of several secondary characters, particularly Georgiana; the introduction of original characters, from the humorous valet Briggs to the obnoxiously transparent Miss Marshall; and Darcy’s sweet attempts to make himself appealing to Elizabeth. My only complaint is that I finished the book disappointed that I couldn’t start the next installment straight away!
Disclosure: I received Mr. Darcy’s Pledge from the author for review.
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