The Darcy Monologues edited by Christina Boyd and written by Various
So first of all, I’m so sorry to have taken so long to post this. I first planned to have it up by the 20th, but then I got busy and I pushed it back to the 21st. Then other things occurred which took me away from home all day so I had to push it back to the 22nd. And then I am sure you can guess that once again my attention was diverted.
After all you know my motto:
But never fear, my other motto has this covered.
The Darcy Monologues was brought to my attention when Christina Boyd gave me a free copy in exchange for an honest review. I readily agreed and began reading:
What the novel consists of is several monologues, or short stories, retelling Pride and Prejudice from Mr. Darcy’s point of view.
Some stories take place during the novel, some change things, some ask questions of “what if this happened…?”, etc.
The first half of the novel’s collection all take place in the Regency Era; and I loved it!
To read more about those stories, click on this link. The second half involves different decades.
Now let me clear one thing up. It was said anywhere, but for some reason I assumed that every story would take place in a different decade and involve Darcy and Elizabeth throughout time.
However, that assumption was false. When they say “Other Eras”, they mean “not Regency”. Yes, there is no great time traveling like I thought.
And let me be clear that this assumption wasn’t anyone’s fault but mine. The writers and marketing team did not lead me astray. I made the mistake.
So I’m going to do things a little different then in the previous review. Last time I went through the stories by the way they are set out in the novel. This time I am going to review the stories by their times-starting with the ones in the past and ending with those that are set in modern times.
Pemberley By Stage by Natalie Richards
Thoughts Before Reading:
When I heard that there was going to be a Western version of Pride and Prejudice I couldn’t wait to read it.
If you have been following me, then you know how much I was obsessed with the Old West, cowboys, and Clint Eastwood as a child.
So will this story be all I dreamed it to be?
After having his name sullied by his associate, George Wickham, lawyer Darcy has been convinced by his friend, Charles Bingley, to move to San Francisco and start over. He is journeying with Bingley and Bingley’s sister Louisa; no Caroline as she “would not leave civilization.” Darcy brought his sister Georgiana with him, but is worried that maybe it would have been best to leave her in the East. Also in their stagecoach is a Mr. Hurst, a man Louisa has become interested in.
As they are journeying, the stage is overtaken by bandits. Darcy is knocked out and when he comes to he discovers that the thieves not only stole everything of value, but kidnapped Georgiana as well, and will only release her for $10,000.
Darcy wants to travel after her, but many are wounded and need assistance. Luckily, two siblings-Jane Bennet and her brother Elias, arrive on the scene. They have been after the gang and the leader, George “Smiling George” Wickham” (the same ex-partner of Darcy), ever since he convinced their sister Lydia to run off with him. The two know of a healer, so Darcy and Elias head off to fetch her while Jane and Louisa tend to the wounded.
As the two travel they talk about their families and instantly form a friendship. After bringing back the healer, who is also a prostitute favored by Wickham, Darcy pays not only for her to aid his friends but for the information of Wickham’s hideout. Elias wants to join him, as Darcy needs an extra hand, and Elias is an excellent shot.
However, it turns out that Jane does not want Elias to help, as she can’t stand to lose another sister.
Yes, Elizabeth had been traveling as “Elias” to protect herself and her sister. Darcy is at first upset at Elizabeth, as he shared personal information but Elizabeth withheld hers. As they ride, the two patch up, as each understands the other hurt.
When they arrive at the camp they find Georgiana tied up, Lydia pregnant, and a camp of thieves bickering between themselves as what to do next. As this gang begins to turn on each other, Darcy and Elizabeth must think fast and bold in order to save their siblings.
Things I Pondered: How awesome this was.
Things I Liked: How amazing this was!
The action was fantastic, the pacing was great, and once I got started I just had to keep reading to find out what was going to happen next.
I think it was absolutely one of the best in this section. Just amazing from beginning to end and with every character. I know this will be one I will read over and over.
For more Westerns, go to People Have to Snatch at Happiness When They Can in This World. It is Always Easier to Lose Than to Find: O Pioneers!
Reason to Hope by Jenetta James
Thoughts Before Reading:
I love history and had just finished reading The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves, and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History, so I was primed for a World War II-themed Pride and Prejudice.
Darcy and Bingley are soldiers in the British army. They knew each other back in school and have struck up their friendship again. Bingley’s sister Caroline is after Darcy, but he has been free from her clutches as she has evacuated London and went to a country estate, Netherfield
One night when Darcy has time off, he comes across a light shining during a mandatory blackout. When he drives up to yell at the person with the torch (flashlight), he finds his words being thrown back as Elizabeth Bennet will not take any of his gruff, especially as he is on her land.
In this tale there are only three Bennet sister- Jane, Elizabeth, and Mary. However, the household is harboring two girls from the city, Lydia and Kitty Potter.
Darcy tries to talk to Elizabeth at a USO dance but she is angry for the things Caroline said about her family previously, the Potter girls, mother, etc.; and that Darcy listened to it all in agreement.
When Lydia and Kitty return to London to visit their parents, a bombing is done by the Nazis. Darcy goes with Elizabeth to track down the missing girls and try to make amends for his earlier behavior. But will he succeed or fail in both ventures?
Things I Pondered: I didn’t really see where this level of anger was coming from in Elizabeth as there is a difference between voicing an opinion and listening/agreeing to one. I felt that she released her anger at Caroline at Darcy, instead of being given a reason to dislike him.
It also felt weird without Mr. Wickham. As much as we hate him, he does play a very important role in the story.
What I Like: I liked the introspection Darcy goes through as he realizes not saying anything can be just as bad as being the one saying it; when you give the impression that you agree with the speaker instead of being polite. I think it was paired very well with the fact that this was a war in which some citizens didn’t agree with what the Nazi party believed, but also didn’t say anything about what they were doing.
I liked the second part of the story when they search for the girls as it just grabs you and makes you read faster to see if they discover them alive…or dead.
The secondary characters were also fun as I like what the author did with Kitty, Lydia, Denny, and the like.
You Don’t Know Me by Beau North
Thoughts Before Reading:
This whole time I have been reading this title as You Don’t Own Me, thinking it was named after the Lesley Gore song.
Having it in the sixties intrigued me as I wondered if the author was going to go in the direction of Mad Men or Do Not Disturb with marketing or fashion (as that is how I saw Darcy) or the overused “hippie” route.
I was pleasantly surprised to find this to be about music and a radio station.
Darcy inherited half his father’s company when he passed, the rest being controlled by his aunt Catherine. He doesn’t really care for it, as the company always held all of his father’s attention, but does like the money he gets from it. After he is caught with a client’s wife, as he did not know she was married, his aunt banishes him from Manhattan to Buffalo for a year.
If he does well with the newly acquired station, WPNP, then he can come back after the year. Otherwise he stuck there.
The interim station manager and sales manager is Charles Bingley, who later becomes a good friend, and his secretary is Jane [Bennet]. One of the radio shows is run by an Eliza Bennet, who has the top stats with her music. The only problem, she is playing African-American music which is not what Aunt Catherine or Regina Caroline Bliss, leader of the Mother’s Morality League, want. Finding himself pressured from all sides he tries to strike a compromise which doesn’t work well with Eliza, them often going head to head.
After a heated argument, Darcy goes to speak to Eliza at home and meets her father, Tomas Benowitz. It turns out that Elizabeth Bennet is actually Benowitz and that she is Jewish. There are more discoveries to be made as Tomas was the star violinist of the Royal Orchestra of Prague, before the war changed everything and he came to America. Darcy also meets Eliza’s aunt and uncle; and enjoys everyone’s company.
In fact, he starts falling for Eliza but she refuses him as she doesn’t want to be seen as securing her job by sleeping with the boss; plus Darcy is only staying for a year. Darcy doesn’t like, but agrees to just be her friend.
Darcy leaves, with Bingley in charge (he is also now dating Jane). He returns to Manhattan and repairs the relationship with his aunt. When Eliza’s father dies, he returns, but she still refuses him. There is nothing he can do but return home.
His Aunt Catherine discovers that he is in love and encourages Darcy to go back and try again. Will he fight for the woman he loves? Or will he give in and marry some high society girl from Vassar?
Things I Pondered: I didn’t care for this story as much as I didn’t like the depiction of Elizabeth. She always seems to be just rude and yelling at Darcy. I understand her wanting to be sassy and standing up for the rights of others, but still Darcy is her boss. I don’t care how good you are, I think most bosses would fire you for screaming at them and saying the things she says about their character.
I don’t know the background of North but I thought the Jewish ancestry wasn’t dealt with as well at it should have been. Yes Eliza talks about the fact that she had to change her name to not offend people, but they characters act as if it isn’t a big deal when many Jewish people still faced racism and scrutiny. It also seems to not impact their lives or anything as it is introduced and never featured in the story again. True, it is not about her but Darcy, but I felt like it could have been fleshed out (maybe in a future novel?). I also thought they were too cavalier with Darcy converting. I mean changing religions is a big deal, it isn’t like changing a shirt. There are lots of steps he has to go through and it is taking everything he has known and celebrated and throwing it out, having to adjust to new life.
Things I Liked: I really like that North decides to make this a bicultural relationship. This is something not really seen, other than the film Bride & Prejudice. I liked the idea of having Pride and Prejudice with people of different cultures or races as you aren’t as separated as one was in Regency England. I would definitely read an interpretation of Pride and Prejudice that went along those lines.
I also like how the author tied in Eliza’s background to her musical choices. Being a person who is discriminated against as to her gender and religion, it made sense that she would campaign so hard for others who face prejudices.
Plus *SPOILER ALERT* I love how he tells her on air, not caring who hears him, that he loves her and wants to marry her.
Hot for Teacher by Sara Angelini
Thoughts Before Reading:
So at first I thought this was set in the 1980s as the title comes from the Van Halen song, Hot for Teacher (1984) and they name a section after AC/DC‘s Back in Black. But then they reference Creep by Radiohead (1992), Dazed and Confused (1993), She’s So High by Tai Bachman (1999), and then Paradise which I am not sure is referring to the ’80s film or the Coldplay song that came out in 2011.
There are no cellphones really in use, but then Darcy does mention Google. I think the author set it in modern times, but it still has an older vibe to it. I may be wrong, but I’m going with early 21st century.
Darcy’s parents were the CEOs of the FitzCo company, his father having passed on, but instead of being a part of the corporation Darcy has chosen a career in education.
Yes, Darcy is the principal of the prestigious Pemberley Academy. A new year is about to start, but Darcy is less then pleased with Vice-Principal Charles Bingley’s choices in two new teachers. For art we have Ms. Elizabeth Bennet, who dresses in eccentric clothes and does not carry the look Darcy expects his staff to project.
But Ms. Brunhilda (his nickname for Elizabeth) is nowhere near as disastrous as the new English teacher, a Mr. George Wickham.
George Wickham is the half-brother of Darcy, having been born from a liaison between Darcy’s father and his secretary, George’s mother. The two have never gotten along and Darcy dislikes him with every fiber of his being. George has never done anything to warrant this dislike but Darcy just has a “feeling”.
One night when Darcy is attending the FitzCo art benefit, he makes a disparaging comment about one of the artists, Frances Gardiner, to his cousin Anne (mix of Anne and sister Georgiana). Elizabeth overhears it and is extremely displeased as that is her mother.
Darcy soon grows to like Elizabeth but finds himself challenged in that arena with his half brother. However, after a few conversations and flirting, he believes Elizabeth is in to him, and goes for it at a the Homecoming dance.
Elizabeth turns him down and yells at him. She finds his behavior with George and the other teachers to just be atrocious. She dresses him down for all kinds of things he was unaware that were occurring in the school, and with a few lies that George has told her.
After that embarrassing moment,
Darcy decides that he will try and improve himself and the relationships at school. Will it work? Or will George and Elizabeth have the happily ever after?
Things I Pondered: I didn’t care for this depiction as much as I felt there were quite a lot missing. First Darcy’s relationships are horrible, I mean he had friends in the original book. And he wasn’t as mean or temperamental as depicted here as all his servants loved him and could only speak kindly of him. I mean that is something that validates the Darcy in the letter, when Elizabeth visits his home and hears what the people who work for him say.
Having George Wickham not be evil, also didn’t work. In fact, you rooted more for him as he missed out on all kinds of things Darcy had, while Darcy hates him for being born. I mean it isn’t his fault your dad cheated on your mom. They should have made him far more nefarious than stealing money at the end of the book.
Elizabeth is really mean to Darcy and he is her boss. I don’t mind her being sassy, but the way she talks to him, I’m surprised she didn’t get fired. If I yelled at any boss I’ve ever had this way, I don’t think I would have stayed on. They would have let me go.
Darcy was a bit of a dork in this. I thought he had more in common with the original Mr. Collins. The way he acts around others, his flirting, his assumptions, etc.
Elizabeth yells at Darcy for being cruel and insensitive, but while in the original novel she had a valid concern, the others being misinformation supplied by Wickham; in this she has no justification. Mrs. Crane has been late multiple times and isn’t keeping up with her work so the rules say she has to receive a warning. Elizabeth yells at him that the only reason she has ben doing that is because her husband was in a car accident and is going through physical therapy, meaning she has become the sole caregiver for her husband and boys. Darcy didn’t know as Mrs. Crane never told him. It isn’t his fault, she should have talked to him, after all she could have received emergency family leave. The same goes for the other teachers, they never give a reason why they can’t do something, so what is Darcy supposed to think?
What I Liked: I actually liked that Darcy wasn’t carrying on the family business but doing his own thing. In today’s world you don’t have families being forced to carry on the professions their ancestors did but have the freedom to do what they want. I thought that was a very new twist in the story, and something no other Austen retelling that I have read has ever tried doing.
Also Angelini finally does the one thing Austen fans have been BEGGING someone to do.
Yes we finally have Darcy do that. Thank you very much Angelini.
And something even more surprising, Angelini does something I never thought possible-she makes Mr. Collins likable.
Yes I know, I never, ever imagined finding myself liking Mr. Collins. Angelini you must be a magician or something.
I, Darcy by Karen M. Cox
William Darcy has hated his name for as long as he could remember. His mother choose it after the hero in one of her favorite novels, but he just can’t wrap his head around why woman like him so. Ten years ago he read the book and hated it-
So the worst place for him to be would be a convention center full of Austenites.
Yes, he is bemoaning this to his friend and business colleague, Charles Bingley, when he is interrupted by two lovely ladies who defend Austen. Jane and Lynley Bennet walk in and out of his life, but remain memorable as the two gentlemen head on to discuss opening a chain of locally sourced restaurants with their board of directors. It passes and Charles it out to start up the trial place-with Darcy joining him later.
When Darcy comes driving up to the house Bingley rented in the country, he has car trouble but manages to get help-from Lynley. Not only is that a coincidence, but Charles is dating her sister Jane.
Darcy waits for Charles as he is out on a date and starts reading a copy of Pride and Prejudice he finds on the table (probably given to Bingley from Jane), surprising himself with falling in love with the book.
Later the two men discuss the farms they want to use for the restaurant, seeing the Bennet farm as the perfect place to get their supplies from. Darcy makes them a generous offer, one they need as if they don’t get a good contract they may lose it; but Lynley refuses, angry at Darcy. What could he have done to upset her? I smell a nefarious plot, but who would want to ruin Darcy’s name?
Things I Pondered: I liked it. I thought it was funny how she went with this theme of “real” Mr. Darcy as I was just talking about that earlier this year.
Things I Liked: I thought the characters were very well written and easy to connect to. I liked how the story flowed and enjoyed it from start to finish.
The Ride Home by Ruth Phillips Oakland
This story takes place after Darcy proposed to Elizabeth and was rejected. Darcy is owner of the company, Pemberley Media, and is in the States to launch PM’s channel here, then planning on returning to England. His best friend got his happy ending when Jane said yes to his proposal.
The happy couple have been celebrating with champagne when they receive a call from Elizabeth asking for a ride. Neither can take her, so they wake Darcy and ask him to do it.
Darcy picks Elizabeth up from her disastrous date (with Mr. Collins) and she really lets herself go- drunkenly praising Darcy’s personality to body- ranging in too much information to nonsensical. She does apologize for being upset over Lydia, saying Darcy was right to be angry at Lydia spilling secrets to rival George Wickham. The two patch things up and everything looks great for Darcy, that is if Elizabeth remembers the conversation tomorrow. Will this drunken release be the beginning of something new, or the last shred of the old?
Things I Pondered: I didn’t care for this as much as I missed Elizabeth’s witty repartee with Darcy-something drunken speech can’t really do.
I also found myself distracted with trying to figure out if she would be well enough to talk. I mean she was average height, thin and consumed a gin and tonic along with four or five martinis (she lost count) but hardly ate anything as her date said no butter, salt, carbohydrates, meat, etc. I’m not a drinker but gin, dry vermouth, and more gin with no butter or carbs to counteract it seems to be like she would be passed out. I mean I calculated it and she has an estimated BAL of 0.235-that’s nausea, vomiting, blackouts, etc. How was she able to make him breakfast the next day? She should have a massive hangover.
Things I Liked: I liked having Darcy be introspective as he drives into town. Something about him just thinking over everything and himself as he drives resonated with me.
Darcy Strikes Out by Sophia Rose
Circa: Present Time
Thoughts Before Reading:
I love puns, jokes, and when authors are smart enough to use language that implies two meanings that fit perfect with the situation. In this case Darcy strikes out in the game of love and:
I’m also a big baseball fan so I was very interested in reading this.
Darcy is a top baseball player, known as “Dandy Darcy” after he and his father posed in top hats and tails with the bats as canes for a photo shoot. After his father passed away, and his sister was in her horrible accident that left her in a wheelchair; he pulled away from life and others. The only one who he remained close to (besides his teammates) was his good friend and old roommate, Charles Bingley, who he saved from a gold digger.
He meets Elizabeth Bennet, sports reporter, and starts to fall for her.
But when he asks her out, he strikes out. Yep, it turns out that he really dropped the ball as that “gold digger” was Elizabeth’s sister; she thinks he is a snob for being camera shy and refusing interviews (especially with that horrible nosy Collins), and sees him as a giant jerk for blackballing fellow baseball player George Wickham.
Darcy is still thinking over the refusal as he visits his sister. Yes, Elizabeth was right about Jane; but after checking her out Darcy did discover he was wrong about her and encouraged Bingley to try again. However, being camera shy and Wickham all have to do with Georgiana as he tries to protect her.
When he gets to his sister’s apartment, he discovers her hanging out with a friend who participates in the Paralympics, and their new friend; Elizabeth Bennet.
Elizabeth meet the girls when she was writing a story on upcoming athletes, and she has realized that she was prejudiced against Darcy. They later meet for breakfast, and Darcy reveals what happened to Georgiana. Wickham was trying to use Darcy to get ahead, but was lacking in discipline and focus; being cut from the team. Later at a high school party, Wickham being over eighteen, roofied Georgiana’s beer with the intent to rape her. However, she left early and ended up crashing the car not from drinking (which she did) but from being drugged. They knew it was him, but couldn’t prove enough to put him away. The famous Darcy name, underage drinking, a beautiful girl with a tragic story all made for excellent newspaper fodder, especially for a TMZ like reporter (Collins).
Things are going well, until Elizabeth hears from Jane that their sister Lydia is missing! It appears this underage girl was last seen with baseball player George Wickham.
Darcy calls in his private detective, Jack Austen, who has been keeping an eye on Wickham. Will they be able to find Lydia and Wickham in time? Or will this be another strike out for Darcy?
Things I Pondered: Wow this was awesome!
Things I Liked: First of all if there was a “Dandy” baseball player I would totally be out there cheering for him whether or not he was on my team (the As, Cali all the way). I also would purchase a “Dandy Darcy” clothing line for my friends and relatives if such a thing existed.
I thought this book was amazingly well done in taking the story and setting it in modern times. I loved what Rose did with all the characters, and I really enjoyed how she set us in the middle of the story with flashbacks as to what came before.
I also applaud you for doing something I haven’t really seen anyone else do- show how Wickham was not only a jerk but a child predator. Yes, contrary to popular belief, most people weren’t married until they were 21-24 during the Regency period. Most modern updates keep Wickham close in age the other characters and make him seem like just a fiend. In this we realize just how evil Wickham is, in the orginal and this version, as Rose unveils him as the pedophile he is.
Jack Austen, P.I.- I like the sound of that. I don’t know if there are any film-noir, 1940s, Humphrey Bogart-ish Austen retellings, but now you make me wish for one. Can’t you just see Darcy?
Or what if Elizabeth was the detective and Darcy the client?
So Rose names a few of Darcy’s teammates and their wives, I’m not sure but I believe they stand for other characters from Austen novels. There is a Cathy and Hank Denny, maybe Catherine and Henry “Hank” Tilney from Northanger Abbey?
And then there is an Esme and Jose Carreaga. Could it be Emma and Mr. Knightley?
I think it would be wonderful if Rose would develop this into a full novel with all the Austen characters.
But seriously, I thought this was just as fantastic as To Pemberley By Stage and just as hard to put down.
So what did I think of it as a whole?
I really loved it, even the stories I didn’t like as much. It was just so refreshing to see a point of view that is often overlooked or not done well. I enjoyed every version of Darcy as each had the things we loved most about him but at the same time were all so different.
I thought that was fantastic as it made a Darcy for everyone. I mean some might be into a baseball playing Darcy or Western Darcy, while others want something different-such as a teacher or man born with a silver spoon who needs to see how others live.
Just like the movies you have your pick of Darcy, being sure to find one, two, or more to love/
In conclusion I think The Darcy Monologues, Part I and II, are just fantastic.
If you are an Austen, Pride and Prejudice, or Mr. Darcy fan you need to check this book out TODAY!
In fact, not only is this something I know I will read over and over again:
But I can already think of several people who will be receiving it as a birthday or Christmas present.
Thank you authors. You all did a wonderful job.
For more on The Darcy Monologues, go to The Darcy Monologues: Part I, The Regency
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