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Source: Review copy from Sourcebooks
Rating: ★★★☆☆

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:

Searching for Pemberley
Anne Elliot, A New Beginning

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.

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I am very excited to welcome Mary Lydon Simonsen back to Diary of an Eccentric.  Mary is the author of Searching for Pemberley (my review), Anne Elliot:  A New Beginning (my review), and most recently, The Perfect Bride for Mr. Darcy, which I will be reviewing tomorrow.  The Perfect Bride for Mr. Darcy is a retelling of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice in which Mr. Darcy’s cousin, Anne, and sister, Georgiana, act as matchmakers after Elizabeth Bennet rejects his badly worded marriage proposal.

Mary is here to talk about a day in her writing life.  Please give a warm welcome to Mary Lydon Simonsen.

Hello again, Anna, and thank you for having me back at Diary of an Eccentric.

You have asked me to write about a typical writing day for me. I’m afraid that if you have any future novelists out there looking for tips on writing discipline that they might not want to read this post as I am an impulsive novelist, given to writing in fits and starts.

By the time I sit down at the computer, I have been chewing on a plot for a long time. I usually do my best thinking when I am cleaning my house or doing yard work. Since it is the dialog that drives my plot development, I can be found talking to myself while vacuuming, moping, or raking, and I’m usually doing it in a British accent. This is also a technique I use to work out plot bunnies. As a result, I have a pretty clean house.

When I finally am ready to hit the keyboard for the first draft of a story, it is as if I am possessed. I can literally type for anywhere from five to eight hours before my fingers give out. It is basically a brain dump. Even though I know what I am writing might be perfectly awful, I keep going. Of course, life does intrude. My husband and daughter like to eat, and I do have two pets.

Some structure emerges when I go back to edit my very rough first draft. I will work (or try to work) for three hours in the morning before taking a break to run errands and to make lunch. (My husband works at home, and we share an office. In fact, our chairs very often touch.) Then it’s back to punching keys until about 3:00 when my seven-year old granddaughter gets out of school. Because her school is in my neighborhood, I see her nearly every day, and since she now has a brand new baby brother, I will be visited by two munchkins every day.

After dinner, I will work for an hour or two, but I try to spend the evening with my husband. Usually, we end up watching a baseball or football game together or NCIS, but I find that very often my mind is drifting back to the story I am working on. When I was writing my latest novel, The Perfect Bride for Mr. Darcy, I would pretend to be watching the Diamondbacks blow another lead when I was actually trying to come up with ways for Anne De Bourgh and Georgiana Darcy to bring Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy together at Pemberley. I would make random comments on Gibbs, DiNozzo, Zeva, and McGee from NCIS when what I was really doing was developing original characters, such as the nebbish Mr. Nesbitt, who courts Jane Bennet when she has despaired of ever marrying Mr. Bingley, and Lord Fitzwilliam, Mr. Darcy’s reprobate of a cousin.

Because I am retired, I have the luxury of maintaining an erratic schedule. However, once I hear from Sourcebooks and am given a deadline, there’s very little that I will let get in my way, including dust bunnies.

Thanks, Anna. This was fun!

Thank you, Mary!  It’s always a pleasure to have you as a guest blogger.

Courtesy of Sourcebooks, I have 2 copies of The Perfect Bride for Mr. Darcy for my readers.  Simply leave a comment telling me why you want to read this book, and please remember to include your e-mail address.  Because the publisher is shipping the books, this giveaway is open to readers with U.S. and Canada addresses only.  This giveaway will end at 11:59 pm EST on Sunday, Jan. 30, 2011.  The winners will be chosen randomly.

**Please note that this giveaway is now closed**

Disclosure: I am an Amazon associate.

© 2011 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.

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