She had never considered that perhaps Mr. Darcy and Mr. Bingley were more of a blind-leading-the-blind tragedy. If she and her sister were not the lasses tangled up in this mess of beaus, why Elizabeth would have enjoyed sharing this mess of matchmaking with her father on any afternoon in his study!
(from “Much to Conceal,” by Elizabeth Ann West)
Mr. Darcy Loves Elizabeth Bennet was a limited edition box set featuring short stories inspired by Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Each of these stories is now being published separately (more information below). Two of the stories are set during the Regency era, and two are modern-day variations.
“Darcy and Lizzie’s Wedding Breakfast” is an installment in Barbara Silkstone’s Mister Darcy Series of Comedic Mysteries, in which Lizzie recounts how she and Darcy met and the trials of his secret life. Lizzie is a bit disappointed when Darcy’s Templar business forces them to cancel their wedding breakfast, but of course, Darcy finds a humorous way to make it up to her. I’ve only read the latest book in the series, Mister Darcy’s Maltese Falcon, so I was able to follow the story. However, if you haven’t read any of the books in the series, you might want to save this story for later. (Barbara is currently posting the story in installments on the Mister Darcy Series Facebook page.)
“An Accidental Assignation” by April Floyd (now available on Amazon) is set during the Regency era and involves Darcy accidentally compromising Elizabeth outside the Meryton Assembly when he attempts to apologize for his insult. Mr. Bennet witnesses the scene and demands that Darcy marry his daughter. There is an immediate, intense passion between Darcy and Elizabeth, and despite it being a fairly short story, Floyd manages to insert plenty of drama and humor involving Mr. Collins and Lady Catherine.
“Much to Conceal” by Elizabeth Ann West (now available on Amazon as part of another box set) also is set during the Regency era and has Jane Bennet conspiring with her aunt Gardiner to get Elizabeth and Darcy together after his failed proposal. Elizabeth shows Jane the letter from Darcy, and Jane takes action, which culminates in a hilarious dinner at Darcy House.
“Honeymoon Postponed: A Mr. & Mrs. Darcy Adventure” by Kristi Rose (now available on Amazon) is a short story in the Meryton Matchmakers series that finds a modern-day Darcy and Elizabeth outrunning tornadoes and other calamities on what is supposed to be their honeymoon. Because I haven’t read any of the installments in this series and know nothing of the back story, I felt a little lost at first, but I was able to enjoy the story in the end. There is a lot of “what can go wrong will go wrong” here, and it definitely was amusing.
Mr. Darcy Loves Elizabeth Bennet offered a great way for me to get a feel for each author’s writing style and enjoy lighthearted, romantic stories featuring Darcy and Elizabeth. The stories are a bit rushed and underdeveloped, but that’s to be expected with short works. Some of the events are a bit over the top, but I was willing to overlook that because the theme of the collection is love and love often makes people do outrageous things. Plus, these were simply feel-good stories meant to be enjoyed in little bits of free time and not to be taken too seriously. I finished the collection thinking I’d like to read more by each of these authors, so I’d call that a win!
Disclosure: I received Mr. Darcy Loves Elizabeth Bennet from the authors for review.