Posts Tagged ‘the truth about mr. darcy’

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

“I swear I shall strangle you for your vulgarity, Lydia!” Elizabeth yelled as she finally succeeded in shoving Jane out of the way. Lydia jumped back and Darcy bolted forward, seizing his wife around her waist.  With very little effort, he managed to carry her flailing form to the other side of the apartment.  “Unhand me this instant, Fitzwilliam!” she commanded.  “I must throttle my impudent sister before I regain my senses!”

Lydia stuck out her tongue and laughed.  “Ha!  I’d like to see you try, Lizzy!”

(from The Truth About Mr. Darcy, page 313 in the ARC)

Susan Adriani’s debut novel, The Truth About Mr. Darcy, is a retelling of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice that strays far from the original but is entertaining in its own right.  In Adriani’s version of the story, Mr. Darcy realizes he has feelings for Elizabeth Bennet shortly after the Meryton Assembly, where she overheard him saying that she was merely “tolerable.”  The book takes a different course from the very beginning, when Darcy confides in Elizabeth the truth about George Wickham as soon as the two meet up and exchange glares in Meryton.  Of course, it doesn’t take long for Elizabeth to learn Wickham’s true nature for herself, as he notices the way Darcy stares at her and sets his sights on Elizabeth as a way to hurt Darcy.

Many of the elements of Pride and Prejudice make their way into The Truth About Mr. Darcy, but Adriani shakes them up a bit and takes the “bad” characters to the extreme.  Mr. Collins still visits Longbourn intending to marry one of the Bennet sisters and still proposes to Elizabeth, but instead of being merely ridiculous, he also is spiteful and vindictive.  Lady Catherine still does not want her nephew to marry Elizabeth because she lacks money and connections and expects Darcy to marry her daughter, Anne, but she takes her rude tirades and criticisms of Elizabeth to a higher level.  Caroline Bingley is still arrogant and jealous, but she goes to greater lengths to ridicule Elizabeth, and Wickham…well, he is an even slimier scumbag than in the original novel.

Much of The Truth About Mr. Darcy centers on Darcy and Elizabeth’s deepening love and passion.  I had a hard time believing that the two would act so inappropriately in front of other people, but their slip-ups made for some embarrassing situations and entertaining dialogue.  There are several explicit sex scenes, and their inclusion didn’t bother me, but I felt that there may have been too many of them and that they detracted from the story a bit.  However, they show the passion and the tenderness in Darcy and Elizabeth’s relationship and indicate to the world that theirs is a love match.

What makes The Truth About Mr. Darcy so interesting is Adriani’s handling of Austen’s characters.  I admit I liked the more romantic Darcy presented here, and although Elizabeth seemed a bit weak to me at times, Adriani’s take on the villains and the ramped up excitement of the Lydia/Wickham debacle more than made up for it.  All the added drama had me laughing out loud at times.  The book was a tad long and could have done with fewer sex scenes, but overall, I found it hard to put down.  The Truth About Mr. Darcy is a worthwhile addition to the shelves of readers like me who can’t get enough of the Austen variations, especially if they don’t mind when things really heat up between Darcy and Elizabeth.

Disclosure: I received The Truth About 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 pleased to welcome Susan Adriani, author of The Truth About Mr. Darcy (which I will be reviewing soon), to Diary of an Eccentric today.  Those of you who regularly read my blog know I can’t get enough of all the variations of Jane Austen’s novels.  I’m always curious about the authors who devote their creative energy to re-imagining Austen’s characters, and I wanted to hear about Susan’s love of Austen and why she took it to the next level by writing a “what if” novel based on Pride and Prejudice.  Please give a warm welcome to Susan Adriani.

My fascination with Jane Austen and her characters

My first journey into Jane Austen’s world was when the 1995 BBC adaptation of Pride & Prejudice first aired on television. My best friend lured me to her house, where we spent an entire rainy afternoon glued to the television (she’d taped it on VHS). The next day I went out and bought the book. After that, there was no turning back.

At first, it was Jane’s sense of humor that drew me in, but it was her cast of characters—heroes, heroines, and villains alike—that captivated me throughout. She also paints a very vivid picture of life in the regency period, and I’ve always found that life fascinating. I love the politeness of the era, the formality, the customs, the language, the dress—the list goes on and on!

As far as Jane Austen’s characters go, though, it’s definitely her heroines that I love the most—no offense to Mr. Darcy, but the ladies just have a certain strength and determination about them that was not particularly prevalent in her world, and I can’t help but admire those traits.

Jane Austen lived in a time where women had very little say about their fates, and her novels depict many different aspects of that life, be it through the eyes and experiences of heroines like Elizabeth Bennet and Emma Woodhouse, or more minor characters such as Charlotte Lucas and Anne Elliot’s friend Mrs. Smith.
Women of the gentry couldn’t work to support themselves and still be considered respectable, nor were unmarried ladies allowed to venture outside of their homes unaccompanied. Their well-being and their futures were entrusted to men—first their fathers, then their husbands. It mattered little what befell them; society expected them to conduct themselves respectably, and with dignity at all times, regardless of their situation. Jane used her talent and her sense of humor masterfully. Through her novels, we are given a very clear picture of how she felt about a woman’s role in regency society, and it helps us to understand and appreciate the uniqueness inherent in her characters all the more.

In my story, The Truth About Mr. Darcy, Elizabeth Bennet is much as she was in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, but there are a few differences. For one, she recognizes Darcy’s worth and admiration of her much earlier. As a result, when he proposes the first time, she is far kinder in her refusal of him, as you can read for yourself in the following excerpt. Of course, we can’t discount the fact that Darcy has since recognized Elizabeth’s value as well, so his impromptu proposal is hardly reminiscent of the offensive one he delivered in Pride and Prejudice. I hope you’ll enjoy my version just as much.

When she finally spoke, it was quietly, but not without proper feeling. “You honor me, sir, with such a beautiful proposal, but I am afraid you will think me the greatest simpleton when I confess you have caught me quite off guard. I am moved, flattered, stunned that you have come to hold me in such a tender regard, and honored beyond words by your offer. As much as I do not wish to be the cause of any further distress to you, I am very sorry, Mr. Darcy, but I am afraid I cannot possibly give you the answer you wish to hear, at least not at this time. To be completely honest, sir, after spending so many weeks in your company, I am ashamed to say it has been only very recently I have begun to develop a better understanding of, and a true appreciation for, your admirable character, and it pains me to now say that, until a few days ago, I truly had no inkling of your deep regard for me.”

“I see.” His disappointment was extreme, but Darcy would not be so easily dissuaded after such an honest speech—or such a positive physical response to his caresses. “Will you allow me, then, the honor of courting you, Miss Bennet?” he asked in a painfully quiet voice. “It will give you an opportunity to know me better. It will be a chance for both of us to know each other on a far more personal level. I promise I will not press for anything more in the near future, but please, if you cannot at this time agree to be my wife, I fervently hope you can, at least, find it within your heart to allow me this much.”

Elizabeth could not see any polite way to refuse such a reasonable request, especially given her difficulty in resisting the look of hopeful longing in his eyes as he gazed upon her. It obviously meant a great deal to him, and once she had begun to consider the idea, she had to agree that knowing him better could only serve to benefit them both. Finally, she gave him a small, almost shy smile and said, “I will agree to a courtship, Mr. Darcy. I do believe the prospect of knowing you better, sir, is one I shall welcome wholeheartedly.”

His smile was nothing short of radiant, and Elizabeth realized then she had never before seen him smile as he did at that moment, with his full self, as though illuminated from within. Though her answer to his proposal was not what he could have hoped for, the sheer pleasure her concession brought him was apparent, and it made her smile warmly in return. “Thank you,” he breathed as he gazed at her, his features full of rapture and love.

His expression was soon to grow serious, however. In the next moment, before either of them could possibly know what they were about, Elizabeth found Darcy leaning in to brush her lips so tenderly with his. She could not have prevented the shiver of pleasure she received even had she tried. Placing her hands against his chest, she became distracted by the gentle pressure of his lips as his fingertips lingered along the neckline at the back of her gown, caressing her shoulders and the nape of her neck in the most tantalizing manner.

As he noted Elizabeth’s continued responsiveness to his ministrations, Darcy felt an unadulterated thrill travel through his body and, with it, the last fragments of his self-control. With a wrenching determination, he pulled away and caressed the softness of her cheek with an unsteady hand, one thought predominant in his mind: If it is the last thing I do, I shall win her heart and make her my wife!

Thank you so much to Anna Horner for inviting me to be today’s guest blogger. It’s been a wonderful experience. And thank you to everyone who read my post on Diary of an Eccentric. I’ve really enjoyed being here today!

Thank you, Susan, for taking time out of your busy schedule to visit my blog. Congrats on your new release, and I wish you much success!

Courtesy of Sourcebooks, I am giving away a copy of The Truth About Mr. Darcy to one lucky winner.  To enter, leave a comment with your e-mail address and let me know why you enjoy reading variations of Jane Austen’s novels, or if you haven’t yet read one, why you may be hesitant to give them a try.  Because the publisher is shipping the book, this giveaway is open to U.S. and Canada addresses only.  This giveaway will close at 11:59 pm EST on Sunday, May 22, 2011.

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

Disclosure: I am an IndieBound affiliate and 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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