Mr. Darcy’s Valentine by Heather Moll
Today is February 1st, not only the start of the month of love (as February has Valentine’s Day and is Library Lovers’ Month); but also the publication date of Mr. Darcy’s Valentine.
Do you love Pride and Prejudice? Are you looking for a romantic short story to get you in the mood for Valentine’s Day? Then you should definitely include this book in your Valentine’s Day plans.
The story takes place after Bingley has left Netherfield in the original plot. In this adaptation, Jane and Elizabeth have traveled to London to visit the Gardiners. They have been having a nice time, although Jane is still very upset over Mr. Bingley.
Caroline has been trying to keep Jane from her family and Mr. Bingley in the dark about Jane being in town; but unfortunately for her when Mr. Darcy and Mr. Bingley go to a concert they spot Jane, Elizabeth, and the Gardiners. Mr. Bingley is back on track to try and win his lady love.
Darcy admits to Bingley that he withheld information from him about Jane being in town; along with apologizing for doing so and for being wrong about Jane’s level of interest in Bingley. Darcy concedes that Jane does truly care for Bingley and is determined to do all he can to help Bingley win his lady love, even throwing a dinner party when he hates to entertain.
When the night of the dinner party arrives, the guests include Elizabeth, Jane, the Gardiners, Mr. Bingley, Caroline Bingley, the Hursts, Colonel Fitzwilliam, and Georgiana. The dinner is a comedic event as every character has their own goal of who they wish to speak to and avoid. Darcy tries to entertain Elizabeth and Georgiana; while avoiding being trapped in conversation by Caroline or the Gardiners (assuming they are like Mr. and Mrs. Bennet). Caroline expends all her attention on the Darcys, Bingley and Jane only have eyes for each other, and Elizabeth tries her hardest to not speak to Darcy and his sister, yet finds most of her conversations happening between them; (and much to her original dismay, actually liking Georgiana.)
When Valentine’s Day is mentioned and a few old superstitious ways to celebrate talked about, Bingley gets the idea to “draw lots” for a Valentine and have the men write one for the women. Bingley cares deeply for Jane and even though Darcy had come around to agreeing that Jane cares for Bingley, Bingley still feels uncertain. With this “Valentine’s Day” game, rigged of course so he could get Jane, Bingley feels he’ll be able to see if she would accept his proposal. Darcy isn’t interested in playing, but after they agree that Georgina will not take part (she’s much too shy) and that Darcy will not have to write Caroline’s Valentine, he submits and the Valentines are written.
Bingley writes a lovely note and Jane reciprocates.
Colonel Fitzwilliam writes a silly one that Caroline doesn’t enjoy.
The real trouble arises with Darcy’s Valentine. He writes an incredibly sweet one:
I am a gentleman by birth—
With a fortune to boast.
Yet of all women upon earth,
Thee I admire and love the most.
Thou art accomplish’d, quite refined—
Far more than others of your line.
Then, since thou’rt suited to my mind,
Pray be my valentine.From Mr. Darcy’s Valentine by Heather Moll
But while I find it romantic, Elizabeth finds offense in every line. She pens a reply that thoroughly rejects him and gives him a real what for about his behavior when he asks her for an explanation.
While Darcy is taken aback with how she sees him and amazed that she views him so poorly, he is determined to show her that the judgement she made of him is wrong, and he does it in the best way possible: he tries to be a better person.
While Darcy has stepped out to compose himself after being rejected, Caroline taunts Elizabeth about Wickham, in front of Georgiana. On hearing Wickham’s name Georgiana becomes very upset and to save her, Elizabeth contrives an excuse for the two to leave the room. While separated from the others, Georgina reveals all that occurred between her and Wickham. Elizabeth is in shock over the tale, and even more so over how she misjudged the two men…and embarrassed over how she insulted Darcy.
What makes things even worse and awkward, as Bingley and Jane are courting, Darcy and Elizabeth are thrown together constantly. But the more time Elizabeth spends with Darcy the more she realizes how fine a man he is. Will it be too late for her?
Or will she be able to find a way to show him how much she cares by Valentine’s Day?
As always, Heather Moll wrote a real page turner that is a charming tale from beginning to end. If you are looking for a romantic read featuring Austen’s characters this story is a must! It was an absolute delight and something I know I will be rereading every February.
If you are a Jane Austen fan it’s perfect to add to your collection, and if you are looking for something Jane Austen-y to purchase for your Valentine, this book would make a perfect gift.
For more by Heather Moll, go to An Appearance of Goodness
For more Pride and Prejudice, go to The Making of Pride and Prejudice (1995)
For more Pride and Prejudice adaptions, go to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice: A Book-to-Table Classic by Martha Stewart
For more Jane Austen adaptations, go to Jane Austen Children’s Stories: Pride and Prejudice
For more Valentine’s Day posts, go to How to Throw a Valentea Party