September 30, 2010
Review of "Mr. Darcy's Obsession" by Abigail Reynolds
I considered myself very fortunate to have read what I considered a splendid Pride and Prejudice retelling in Kara Louise's Darcy's Voyage; now, I must considered myself blessed by Jane Austen herself to have read an equally worthy retelling in Abigail Reynolds' "what if" Mr. Darcy's Obsession.
Ms. Reynolds takes an especially fertile prospect - -the death of Mr. Bennet putting the Bennet ladies into the hands of relatives due to the entailment on Longbourn and in much reduced circumstances - - and weaves an intriguing and romantic tale. Her obvious affection for the characters of Darcy and Elizabeth permeate each page and, happily, neither characters strays from the path that Jane Austen herself structured two centuries ago. Had Ms. Austen written Pride and Prejudice with the death of Mr. Bennet featuring in the novel, I have no doubts that she would have followed a similar path to the joining of Lizzy and Darcy.
I was fascinated by Ms. Reynolds' colorful and decadent details of the immoral side of "ton", which is rarely featured in either Jane Austen's writing or in more contemporary tales of the Regency period. Such descriptions took the story out of the more insulated and protected Longbourn, Pemberley and Netherfield and give the reader a better idea of what actually went on behind closed doors and in certain gentlemen's establishments and clubs. As such, a great deal of the story and action takes place in London, rather than in Hertfordshire.
Ms. Reynolds also takes creative license with a few of the secondary characters, with shocking and yet pleasing results, leaving this reader very content with the outcomes. The introduction of characters wholly new or briefly mentioned in Pride and Prejudice is very welcome and adds a satisfying, as well as amusing, new divergence to the story.
The writing flows smoothly and Mr. Darcy's Obsession was a relatively quick read, due to my desire to resume the story and learn the resolutions. Austen lovers, including purists, will appreciate the novel take on the beloved classic, as well as additional characterization we get for several of the characters, including Georgiana Darcy and Colonel Fitzwilliam.
I would not hesitate to recommend Mr. Darcy's Obsession to any devoted reader of Jane Austen and historical fiction and romance readers. This book easily ranks in my top ten of Austen sequels, that's how enjoyable I found it. I have read a few other Abigail Reynolds books and Mr. Darcy's Obsession is so far my favorite.
Mr. Darcy's Obsession is available for purchase now at major booksellers, including Amazon. I am an Amazon affiliate. If you make a purchase through my link, I will receive a small commission.
For more information on author Abigail Reynolds, please visit her website.
Review copy of this book provided by the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review. In no way did the provision of the book affect the outcome of my review.
This book qualifies toward my JANE AUSTEN IS MY HOMEGIRL READING CHALLENGE.
Please be sure to stop back by Psychotic State Book Reviews on October 11, 2010, when Abigail Reynolds will be here for an interview!