Book Club Picks: The Darcy Monologues

So every month  a different member in my book club chooses a book for us to read and discuss the following month; and it has worked out really well.

We only have four members in our club, so we have circled around them all and now it was my turn to pick a book again. I decided on:

The Darcy Monologues by various and edited by Christina Boyd

The Darcy Monologues is a collection of 15 short stories that retell the story of Pride and Prejudice but telling it from Mr. Darcy’s point of view. Half the collection is set in the Regency period: taking place during the novel, tweaking a bit of the novel, or taking place where Jane Austen left off.

Hmm…

The second half of the collection tells the story, but isn’t restricted by having to be in Regency times. One story is set in the Wild West, another during WWII, the 1960s, and of course present times.

Hmm…

So we all know how I feel about Jane Austen:

And we all know that I spend a lot of time reading Jane Austen, watching Jane Austen, and reading and watching variations of Jane Austen. Pretty much my life is:

But the other members are not exactly at the same level as I am. One member, Jessica, has seen the 1940, 1995, and 2005 film versions of Pride & Prejudice and read the actual book, but isn’t a fangirl. She likes Jane Austen, but is not a fangirl.

Don’t know why she isn’t.

Another member, Stella, loves Jane Austen but has never read the books. She only watches the films, and has seen both the 1995 and 2005 versions of Pride and Prejudice.

And our other member, Marissa, she has never read anything or watched anything Jane Austen.

So at first when we agreed to do this book I was excited:

But then I grew worried:

What if they didn’t get it, not being fangirls of the book? What if they didn’t like it? Maybe I should have had us read Pride & Prejudice first?

But I decided that we would just have to wait and see.

Hmmm….

So the day to meet came along and I decided to make the refreshments a regency-ish tea time. (Sadly I forgot to take pictures). I made some iced tea:

I had bough some chicken salad sandwiches and scones (I wanted to bake homemade ones but it has been too hot to turn on an oven) and then I made a berry salad, borriwing the recipe from my sister blog: Mysterious EatsIt is super tasty and perfect for a day of reading books or a tea time treat. I’ll post the recipe tomorrow, but you can also check it out here.

So everyone arrived and right away we had a problem. Stella didn’t get the right book. When she typed in The Darcy Monologues, the site sent her to a different book and she ended up buying The Darcy Connection. 

I’m going to lend my copy to her to read and then I will update this post with what she thought of it.

So first of all I just want to say that I have already posted what thought of the book (which if you want to read go to The Darcy Monologues: Part I, The Regency or The Darcy Monologues: Part II, Other Erasand I loved it!

So I am just going to focus on what Marissa and Jessica thought of it.

Part I: The Regency

Both ladies were able to follow the stories and the thoughts of the authors, even Marissa who knew very little about what the story was based on. They also liked how it was from Darcy’s point of view and enjoyed the way the authors portrayed him, feeling as if they all captured the character. Jessica thought they did well in what Jane Austen wanted, and Marissa enjoyed being introduced to an introspective look of the character.

What Didn’t They Like?

Both ladies felt they would have enjoyed the book better if there had more variations of the story: such as when Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy where older, stories with their children, or sights into areas not shown by the original novel-such as what Darcy does when he leaves Netherfield before he meets up with Elizabeth in Pemberley-things like that.

hmm…

They both did not care for the story Death of a Bachelor by Caitlin Williams and they also did not like The Beast of Pemberley by Melanie Stanford as they thought it was too much Beauty and the Beast.

I KNOW?! How could they not like that one? I guess they just do not undestand how is Austenites find the works so similar. I mean:

To read more, follow this link.

Sorry for the tangent, moving forward.

What Did They Like?

Both loved From the Ashes by J. Marie Croft  as they found her portrayal of Darcy to not only be relatable but hilarious. In this story, Darcy has proposed to Elizabeth and been refused by her. He then goes home to write the letter against her objections to him, releasing his anger and frustrations out, until he has composed the best one to send her. We all thought she captured that the emotions of rejection and heartbreak perfectly.

They also enjoyed Clandestiny by KaraLynne Mackrory, espehially how she describes Darcy’s perfect order and way of life being completly thrown off kilter when Elizabeth enters his life. Both felt Mackrory was able to not only perfectly capture the character but describe what it is like when you aren’t expecting it, but meet the person who ends up changing your life.

In Terms of Perfect Composure by Susan Adriani, was another favorite of the two. Marissa enjoyed the recap as it gave her a stronger foundation into the story of Pride and Prejudice and what happened in the original novel. Jessica liked how this was something different from the other stories as it was a part that isn’t from Austen’s story, it is a part unseen of Mr. Darcy and shows his growth in character.

The Favorite?

Without Affection by Jan Hahn

Yes out of all the Regency stories, this one was both of the women’s favorite story. This story takes place when Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth are much older, with Darcy having a flashback to when Elizabeth gave birth to their first child and almost died in the process. Darcy becomes afraid of losing her and reacts with a rule of no more sex for them, something Elizabeth does not agree with.

Both women liked how it showed Darcy and Elizabeth still in love years later, and just how they have had a great life together. They also loved how it captured the uncertainty of childbirth and Darcy as a father not knowing exactly what to do. One of them found it to be relatable to something they had gone through in their own life with their spouse. And we all agreed it was the perfect end to the first compilation.

Part II: Other Eras

Both women were intrigued with this part as they had never read any modern adaptions of classic literature before, let alone ones that took the material and placed it in other eras.

What Didn’t They Like?

Marissa would have liked more variety in the time periods, she was hoping they wouldn’t be as concentrated on present time.

Both did not care for the story Hot for Teacher by Sara Angelini. This one takes place in present times with Mr. Darcy as a principal, George Wickham as the literature teacher, and Elizabeth as the new art teacher. We all did not like how Angelini made the character of Darcy as he was too mean, temperamental, and dorky/awkward.

The Ride Home by Ruth Phillips Oakland was another one they did not like. In this Elizabeth is drunk after a disastrous date, so Darcy goes to give her a ride, the two talking during the drive home. Both ladies did not like how Oakland made Elizabeth drunk and they way she talked to Mr. Darcy. And we all agreed: How was she able to make him breakfast the next day? She should have had a massive hangover.

What Did They Like?

They enjoyed You Don’t Know Me by Beau North, which took place in the 1960s. In this Darcy is sent to Buffalo, New York to take control over the company’s new radio station. He and the top D.J Eliza Bennet clash in the beginning as neither understands the other.

They enjoyed how this story was not only talking about the novel Pride & Prejudice, but actually infused more of a social prejudice introducing a conflict of playing African American music on the radio, life as a Jewish American, and even the trials of having gone through the concentration camps (Eliza’s father). We all enjoyed how North coupled those threads of pride and prejudice with the original types of pride and prejudice in Austen’s work.

They also loved I, Darcy by Karen M. Cox. In this story, Darcy hates that his mother named him “Will” Darcy as everyone mentions Austen’s book. He meets two women who challenges his ideas on the book, surprisingly running into them later when he is starting up his farm to food restaurant.

We all loved how Cox had Elizabeth school him in the literature, causing him to be interested in rereading the book and falling in love with it. We all agreed that incorporating the novel in that way was really cute.

The Favorite?

Darcy Strikes Out by Sophia Rose

From beginning to end this story was just loved. Every part, every character, every single piece of the storytelling was beloved by us. Dandy Darcy? We all wanted him. Turning this into a full novel? We were all down for it. If this was sold separately from the others? All willing to pay.

For all of us Rose really knocked it out of the park!

Couldn’t resist

So what did they think of the whole thing?

They loved it!

Yay!

Yes, they may not have liked every story or every interpretation of Darcy, but that is why they and I loved it. Each author tried to capture the spirit of the character and succeeded in creating their own versions of Darcy that have everything we love about him, yet at the same time not making any exactly the same. By doing this you have many different Darcys to choose from, insuring that you will find the one best suited for you.

We all thought they did a fantastic job in presenting “their” Darcy and highly recommend you read this book.

For more on The Darcy Monologues, go to The Darcy Monologues: Part II, Other Eras

For more on these authors and Christina Boyd, go to I Have Been Remiss, My Deepest Apologies to The Darcy Monologues

For more on my book club, go to Book Club Picks: The Undoing of Saint Silvanus

For more on The Darcy Monologuesgo to The Darcy Monologues: Part I, The Regency

For more on Pride & Prejudice, go to Read Jane Austen, Wear Jane Austen

For more Pride & Prejudice variations, go to Pride and Prejudice Paper Dolls

For more books based on Jane Austen, go to The Austen Series: Reason and Romance

And I just want to thank Christina Boyd for sending us these cute charms, we all loved them. I put mine on my bracelet right away and have been telling people about the book whenever they ask me about the charm.

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The Darcy Monologues: Part I, The Regency

The Darcy Monolgues edited by Christina Boyd and written by Various

So I was contacted by Christina Boyd to do a honest review in return for a free copy of the ebook. I agreed as you know I will review anything Jane Austen.

This is so me

I promised to have the review posted by the 21st, which I saw as no problem as you know how fast I read.

But the day came closer and closer and I realized I hadn’t posted my review!

Let me say that when I first heard of the story, I thought it sounded interesting but had no idea what to expect.

Hmm…

Was it going to be a view of Darcy at different times in the story? Will they follow the original text or do their own thing? Hmm…

I began reading the book

But then I was sucked in:

Or story in this case.

So the book is a collection of monologues or short stories; told from the point of view of Mr. Darcy.

Some take place in the Regency time period, some take his point of view of the novel, some after the novel, and some asking the question of what would happen if..?

Hmm…

The book is divided into two collections: those that take place in the Regency time period and those that span all time periods. I have decided to review the first collection on the Regency time today, and the second one later on this week.

Death of a Bachelor by Caitlin Williams

This monologue tells of Mr. Darcy’s feelings as his wedding day grows closer and there will be an end to his bachelor ways. As his wedding occurs and they head out to London for their honeymoon, they get stranded at a less than fabulous inn in a blizzard. Will Darcy enjoy being married? Or will it be his biggest regret? And how can he fix his honeymoon to be memorable for all the right reasons?

Things I Pondered: The only thing I can see Janeites/Austenites getting upset over is when Darcy says that he has been with many women before Elizabeth. This is historically accurate, as gentlemen had more social freedom; however some might not care to have Darcy be anything than their version of a romantic hero. 

What I Like: I thought it was very well written and that Williams truly captured the spirits of the characters. I really enjoyed her story, especially as she was not graphic but allowed the reader to use their own imagination. 

From the Ashes by J. Marie Croft

This story takes place right after Darcy has proposed to Elizabeth, only to have her reject him in every way. We have Darcy as he goes through every emotion from anger to sadness at having his love refused.

Things I Pondered: Who is Richard? Is that supposed to be Colonel Fitzwilliam’s middle name or something?

What I Like: I thought that Croft truly captured the emotions of anyone who has been heartbroken and I found her portrayal of Mr. Darcy not only to be likable but 100% relatable, as who hasn’t gone through a painful rejection?

I thought that he might be a little more composed than her portrayal:

But I think the beauty of this piece is that Croft shows that temper Darcy spoke of in the original novel, giving it a strong connection to Austen’s work.

I also loved her character of Anne de Bourgh and if Croft wrote a novel that featured or continued this expanded character of Anne, I would read that in a heartbeat.

For more quotes from J. K. Rowling, go to Don’t Fear the Reaper

If Only a Dream by Joana Starnes

Mr. Darcy has been rejected by Elizabeth and is so upset after giving her the letter that he wants to leave Rosings Park and never see her again. However, things do not go according to plan as his Aunt Catherine de Bourgh’s ploy at faking a heart attack turns to a real malady when she trips on the stairs and breaks her ankle.

Now Darcy must remain there, as it is his nephewly duties; and as the Collins are such great neighbors that they (along with Elizabeth and her sister Maria) come over all the time. Will this constant proximity change things? Or drive a deeper wedge between Darcy and Elizabeth.

Things I Pondered: I didn’t like this story as much as having them fall in love so early cuts out a lot of growth in the characters, along with all the events that changed Elizabeth’s view on him and showed her own pride and prejudices.

What I Like: While I didn’t like losing so much of the story Starnes wrote the answer to this “What if” very well and provided an interesting twist: Lady Catherine’s plot to get her nephew to marry her daughter results in him marrying Elizabeth. Oh Lady Catherine, I think your conspiring days are over:

 I also liked this Anne de Bourgh character as she was interesting and witty. If Starnes decided to expand her version into a novel, I would definitely read it as well. 

Yep!

Clandestiny by KaraLynne Mackrory

This story takes place during the ball at Netherfield. Georgiana had only been attacked four months earlier by Mr. Wickham and Darcy is still upset over it. However, his mind is split between that and Elizabeth as he thinks she has feelings for him. Things take an interesting turn when a trap door brings the two together. Will this help the situation or only cause more issues?

Hmm…

Things I Pondered: By moving up them having that time when Darcy is less reserved and more himself, we miss out on all the meat of the story. It is cute, but too short and missing the whackam-sockum appeal of Jane Austen’s revelations as how all the characters connect.

What I Like: Even though I didn’t like how much was to be cut out of the story with this earlier connection, I still thought this was interesting to see what would have happened if Elizabeth saw the “real” Darcy earlier in the novel. This was a good part to do it in as her real only problem was that he hurt her feelings. After all she doesn’t know Wickham all that well and seeing Darcy behaving in a different way, more natural, and apologizing for his earlier rudeness would help sway her from the fake charm to the real deal. 

The Beast of Pemberley by Melanie Stanford

So in the past I have compared Pride and Prejudice with Beauty and the Beast :

But in this story, Stanford rewrites the story so that it is Beauty and the Beast, with all its magic and characters, but set in Regency England.

In this tale, Darcy has saved Pemberley and the village by standing in when Wickham (a powerful wizard) tried to destroy it. For his efforts he has been cursed with hideous scars, while each of his staff (Cogsworth, Lumiere, etc.) suffer from one scar. All he does is look in his magic mirror hoping that he might see something to lift him out of his depression and pain. He sees Elizabeth Bennet, and when her father plans to marry her off to Mr. Collins to pay his debts, Darcy steps in.

Things don’t go well as she refuses to have Darcy wear a mask, wanting to see his face:

But when wolves almost attack Elizabeth, Darcy manages to save her and after that things start improving.

Especially when he gives her the Pemberley library.

But will they be able to end the curse? Will Elizabeth ever see more in Darcy? Or just a Beast?

What I Like: I thought it was a cute fan service story. And when I say “fan service”, I mean this is something people have been talking about and wanted. It was a very fun and adorable read that I really enjoyed.

For more on Beauty and the Beast, go to Xactly Why I Think Beastly is An Xcellent Story

A Resentful Man by Lory Lilian

Mr. Darcy has proposed to Elizabeth, been rejected, and has left Rosings. He is celebrating Georgiana’s 16th birthday with the Bingleys and other family friends. They are heading back to Pemberley when Darcy decides to return ahead of schedule. When he gets there, who should he run into? Elizabeth and her aunt and uncle, the Gardiners. They spend the time together walking the grounds and talking. Will they be able to reconcile? Or will this just make things more awkward?

What I Like: I thought it was cute and adorable. 

In Terms of Perfect Composure by Susan Adriani

So the story starts off with a brief recap about all that happened. Lydia had run off with Wickham and he’s been paid off so that the reputation of the Bennet family would be saved. Darcy is having dinner with Mr. Gardiner, and the latter man is trying to find out why Darcy would help them out – is there an understanding he hasn’t been told? Darcy tells him about his proposal and how it went:

And how he still cares but has given up. Mr. Gardiner encourages him to try again, as he believes Elizabeth still has feelings for him. Darcy goes to stay at Netherfield and when he and Bingley visit the Bennets, as Bingley and Jane are now engaged, Darcy overhears Lady Catherine’s tirade at Elizabeth.

Will this bring them together or force them farther apart?

Things I Pondered: I don’t get why she has Elizabeth avoid Darcy as in the original novel, at this point in time she wants to see Darcy and be with him.

What I Like: I really enjoyed how she has Darcy build upon his relationship with the Gardiners when he is in town as he greatly enjoyed their company and this showed that to a further extent. I also like how the author made her Darcy expect nothing in return for his deeds in helping the Bennets as is closely followed how Austen’s Darcy was. 

Without Affection by Jan Hahn

neverloveyouchallengeprideandprejudicedarcy

It has been fifty years since Darcy proposed to Elizabeth the second time and she accepted. The two are in their golden years and Darcy reflects back on his life, to a time he almost lost Elizabeth…

Elizabeth gives birth to their son and almost dies in the process. After the birth she has to rest, but while her body is weak her spirit is strong. Darcy is heartbroken and decides that he cannot, will not lose her. He is determined to have her never experience childbirth again and risk her life. But will Elizabeth comply to his plan or have her own ideas?

Things I Pondered: Darcy talks about how he knows little of women’s bodies and never thinks to consult with a doctor to see if she shouldn’t give birth. I thought it was strange as I imagine that a man with all his wealth and power would seek several people’s opinions.

What I Like: It was sweet to see them still so in love and talk about their great years together. Just adorable and a great way to end the first collection.

So what did I think?

Hmmm….

I enjoyed every one.

Yes there may have been changes I wouldn’t have done or things altered that weren’t my favorite, but those were really minute things. I found each of these tales to be extremely enjoyable and I loved looking at all the interpretations these authors gave to a story they and we love.

And no matter what changes, additions, etc  that the authors did, there is one very important thing that they all made sure to do. And that was to get inside the character’s head and actually give a voice to Darcy.

Wow!

Yes, you have heard me complain again and again about different writers never really ever go that far to bring Darcy to life, always stopping short in their interpretations.

But these authors don’t do that. Whatever changes they have made or ways they interpreted the characters; they tried to make sure they gave Darcy a personality and looked deep into him and how he would react to the situations, not through another’s eyes but through the depths of his spirits.

That is a hard feat to do I commend all of them:

I think all did a fantastic job in presenting “their” Darcy and I highly recommend you read this book.

But what do I feel about part two, Darcy and Elizabeth through time?

I guess you will just have to wait and read.

For more Mr. Darcy, go to Whether Presentable or Not, I Love Spending Time With You: Episode Four, Pride and Prejudice (1995)

For more on Pride & Prejudice, go to Prom & Prejudice

For more Pride & Prejudice variations, go to Brought Shame and Scandal to Pemberley: Death Comes to Pemberley, Episode Two (2013)

For more books based on Jane Austen, go to Suspense & Sensibility (Or First Impressions Revisited)

For more Jane Austen quotes, go to For Darkness Shows the Stars