Sunday, August 8, 2010

Review: To Conquer Mr. Darcy by Abigail Reynolds

To Conquer Mr. Darcy is the latest in Abigail Reynolds's series of Pride and Prejudice sequels that ask "What if?" In this case, what if, after Elizabeth Bennet refuses his badly bungled marriage proposal, Mr. Darcy returns to Merryton and courts her?

The story opens as a despondent Darcy comes to his senses and determines to win Elizabeth. In a subtle campaign of tolerance of her family, more sociability towards those he formerly considered his inferiors, and tender escalating attentions toward Elizabeth, he overcomes her doubts.

Since she read his letter explaining the situation with Wickham, Elizabeth's low opinion of Darcy has undergone a radical change. Her feelings toward him, while still unsure, have softened. While she tells herself and him that they can only be friends, his efforts lead to much more than friendship.

Ms. Reynolds does a stunning job of chronicling their growing emotional attachment as their passions flare higher and higher. Suffice it to say that in this version, they marry much sooner than in Pride and Prejudice.

I love Ms. Reynolds's portrayal of the always-certain-of-herself Elizabeth confused and unsure, as logic tells her to maintain her distance from Darcy, while her feelings draw her nearer.

But the best part of the book is Mr. Darcy. Jane Austen created a hero for the ages in Mr. Darcy, but Abigail Reynolds has made him even better. He's breathtaking in his emotional journey to win Elizabeth's love--determined, tender, vulnerable, willing to change and madly in love. May we all find a hero like him.

Thank you all,


ARC provided by Sourcebooks

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