Sunday, September 26, 2010
Review: MR. DARCY'S OBSESSION by Abigail Reynolds
Mr. Darcy's Obsession, the latest of Abigail Reynolds's Pride and Prejudice Variations, is a stunning tale of love lost and refound.
Two years have passed since Darcy last saw Elizabeth. Having convinced both himself and a reluctant Bingley of the Bennet sisters' unsuitability for marriage, Darcy encounters Elizabeth in London. Her father's death has cast her family into dire financial straits and Elizabeth labors as an unpaid nanny for her Uncle and Aunt Gardiner's children.
Even as he tries to stay away, Darcy rediscovers how much he enjoys Elizabeth's conversation and wit. Against his better judgment, he asks her to marry him in his trademark bungled proposal. An enraged Elizabeth refuses, and Darcy must convince her to agree.
Already disillusioned with his world of privileged excess that often mistreats the less fortunate, Darcy regrets the grave errors he made in losing Elizabeth--twice. A distraught Bingley, furious that he accepted Darcy's advice to spurn Jane, lashes out at him when he discovers Jane has married to survive.
This novel brings to the forefront what many romances gloss over--the importance of money. Elizabeth's uncle and aunt, hard-pressed to support her, urge her to accept the marriage proposal of her uncle's head clerk. Jane wed a kind shopkeeper old enough to be her father because he helps support her mother and sisters.
Ms. Reynolds paints vivid portraits of real people struggling with harsh economic reality to survive and find happiness. Jane and Bingley's story is especially heartbreaking. That we wonder how all will fare, even as we know the ending, is a testament to Ms. Reynolds's fine storytelling.
Thank you all,
ARC provided by Sourcebooks