Monday, July 11, 2011
Review: A WIFE FOR MR. DARCY by Mary Lydon Simonsen
A gentleman never insults a lady. But Mr. Darcy does precisely that when he says Elizabeth Bennet isn't handsome enough to dance with at the Meryton assembly. And so begins Mary Lydon Simonsen's A Wife for Mr. Darcy, wherein Darcy's apology sets off a story about the conflict between duty and desire.
Although Elizabeth shrugged off the slight, she boldly calls him to task for his behavior. In Darcy's experience, ladies are retiring, colorless little sheep, always bowing down to men. But not Miss Elizabeth Bennet. And he likes it. So much so, that he falls in love with her.
But there are stumbling blocks. Besides Elizabeth's obvious social inferiority, Darcy has already taken the first steps towards seeking another lady's hand--one of the aforementioned sheep. He cannot, in honor, back away. What to do?
Never underestimate the power of friends, as Georgiana, Col. Fitzwilliam, Anne De Bough and even Col. Fitzwilliam's brother, the earl, unite to save Darcy from making the most colossal mistake of his life.
Rich with the social realities of the era, A Wife for Mr. Darcy is also a cautionary tale of the pitfalls involved in blindly following society's dictates. Duty and position in the world loomed large in Darcy's day, with serious penalties for not conforming to expectations. But should you follow society's precepts in a matter of such importance as matrimony? Should you undertake a disastrous, loveless, life-long marriage with a "suitable" woman as Darcy's cousin, the earl, did, or follow your heart and risk the consequences?
Ms. Simonsen writes the style of Jane Austen well, but with added emotion. The emotion transforms a simple Cinderella story into a tale of real people caught in a bind of life-altering proportions.
Darcy and Elizabeth's love makes them both vulnerable and deeply human, and is a joy to read. I like the rehabilitated Mrs. Bennet, here a sensible woman whose dramatics are only a bid for attention in a crowded female household. Mr. Collins is even sillier than in Pride and Prejudice, and Georgiana shows a definite talent for intrigue as she helps extricate her beloved brother from a tangle not entirely of his making.
A Wife for Mr. Darcy is a happily-ever-after we will all enjoy.
Thank you all,
ARC provided by Sourcebooks