I was given this book in exchange for an honest review and as I started the month off with the modern Jane Austen Christmas adaption, Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe, I thought what better way to end the holidays than with a review of another modern Jane Austen Christmas adaption.
When I saw that this was a Persuasion adaption, I was jazzed, as Persuasion, Northanger Abbbey, and Mansfield Park are often ignored.
So let’s move on to the book. Persuasion was published after Jane Austen died, along with Northanger Abbey. It is a truly romantic story as our main character Anne Elliot, became engaged to marry Fredrick Wentworth (who was about to go off to war), but was persuaded to refuse him after hearing the arguments of all that could go wrong-he could die and she be widowed, he could return injured and unable to work, they could be penniless, they are young maybe they aren’t right for each other-and so on. She ends their engagement and he leaves, and years pass and Anne still loves him. She grows older, her father loses a lot of their fortune with poor business sense, and they have to rent out their home. While they have nosedived, her old flame is now Captain Fredrick Wentworth-having nothing to hold him back he took a lot of risks, made quite a bit of money, and rose in the Navy. He reenters Anne’s life when his sister rents Anne’s family home. They interact frequently, with her still in love with him and he still VERY hurt and upset with her.
Besides the romance of it, (that letter *sigh*), there is a lot of other things to love in this book. The powerful and wonderful relationship of Captain Wentworth’s sister and husband, Admiral & Mrs. Croft; Jane really puts some zingers in there about the way the culture viewed women; and more. It is a great book, and if you haven’t read it, you should check it out.
So with our tale-the story is set in modern day, Portland Oregon. The book switches between the present holiday time (2019) when Wentworth arrives back into Anne’s life, with flashbacks as to what happened between them eight years prior (2011).
Anne is the middle daughter to a politician, Senator Walter Elliot, but very content at staying out of the spotlight. The only times she enjoys everyone’s attention on her is when she is DJing and mixing tunes. But that was so long ago, now she is a professor of Creative Writing at Portland State University and the author of the novel, Perpetual Engagement. Her wanting to stay out of the spotlight also seems long ago as her father is in every paper with the rumored scandal he’s engaged in an extramarital affair, he may have misused funds, and he just landed in the hospital with a heart attack.
And right at this stressful time, made even more so by the fact that it is the holidays, her ex-fiance walks right back into her life.
Eric’s (Captain Fredrik Wentworth) sister, Sophia, and brother-in-law, Henry Croft, are renting Senator Walter Elliot’s house while he and his oldest daughter hide out in Sonoma. They invite him to spend the holidays with them, and he wants to spend time with his sister and family, as his brother David also lives there, but is not happy to run into Anne.
He still is angry over her breaking up with him, his time served in the Marines didn’t help him get over it and he is now the West Regional correspondent for the Associate Press.
I like that North and West decided to keep the military aspect of Wentworth as I hate when they do the modern adaptions of Colonel Brandon and make him a doctor, or nurse, or walking tour guide.
One thing that West and North added in this adaption, is that they made Wentworth African American. I personally love when I see biracial or multicultural romances as I am biracial and come from a multiracial family. I can’t help comparing this to Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe and how this book did it much better. Having Wentworth be a different race adds to the story, as he feels the reason Anne turned him down was not because she was afraid of what could happen-him dying, getting seriously injured, coming back a different person, meeting someone in his unit, being too young to know if she was really in love, etc (all valid concerns) and he believes it is his background and skin color that made her eventually turn him down (feeling the pressure from her father).
I felt that added to the tension, just like I believe in Austen’s work, that Captain Wentworth felt the same way-Anne said no because of his background not of her fear.
With Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe adding a twist of a gender swap did nothing to further the development of the characters or add to the story. There was no new avenue added other than Luke/Lizzie was a total jerk, the younger Bennet brothers/sisters were psychotic, and Darcy was so underdeveloped it was like when you buy those decorating kits that come with everything to decorate but have to buy/make the cookies separate, no substance at all.
So we travel back in time to 2011, when Eric and Anne met. So Eric’s brother David is in politics and interning with Senator Elliot, David drags Eric along with him to their holiday party. When he tries to escape the crowd that is not for him, he meets Anne- a beautiful curvy woman who loves junk food, music, and captures his heart.
So back in 2019, Anne is staying with her sister Mary as her plumbing is being taken care of…wait let’s stop a moment and talk about her sisters. In Austen’s book her sisters were awful narcissist-Elizabeth a spendthrift and bully to her sister and Mary a whiner and hypochondriac. Elizabeth isn’t really in this adaption, but North and West captured how I imagined a modern version of her to be, along with how Anne still cares for her.
“Anne loved her sister [Elizabeth] the way a woman might love a pair of beautiful but uncomfortable heels.”
So back to the story, Anne and Eric run into each other. And I really enjoyed that chapter. I think it was extremely well done in showing the character of Anne as in the previous one, which takes place in 2011, she is confident, assured, exclaims how she feels-and in this chapter, 2019, she can hardly speak to him and the way the authors described the feeling of heartbreak and how it affects the way you dress, eat, act, etc.-was perfect.
This chance meeting shocks both, more than they realize. With Anne, seeing how well Eric looked just magnified how much she had let herself disappear and slowly, in little steps does she find herself putting herself back together. With Eric-seeing how hurt, thin, sad-eyed, and broken Anne is doesn’t have him react in glee, but makes him reconsider the past and how maybe he was wrong in what he believed happened.
Meanwhile-reporters are harassing Anne trying to get a story, Sophie and David try their hand at matchmaking Anne and Eric, Charles’ younger sisters both make a play for Eric, and a Will Ellis starts going after Anne. Will Anne and Eric get their happily ever after? Or just remain two ships that bumped in the night and parted ways.
So I enjoyed this story. Being an adaption, I know they aren’t going to stray too far from the original plot-so I know the end-but they did add enough of their own style and twists that it kept my attention.
Being a modern adaption, there are changes from the original storyline-Sir Walter is a Senator, David is gay and a politician instead of a parson, they don’t do a big group vacation to Brighton or Bath, etc. But I think the authors did a good job trying to not stray too far from the original plot, but make it applicable to today.
I liked that we see more of Eric’s relationship with his siblings, and enjoyed their interactions.
They do change Captain Wentworth’s letter to Anne’s novel, which is cute-but I will always be partial to the letter.
I can’t help but compare this to Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe and how much better this is than that book. Both North and West paid attention to the family relationships in the original book, and even though some of the characters aren’t in it that long they give you the makeup of each family really well. You can tell that these authors love the original story and paid attention to the important parts of it.
Unlike Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe the characters all talk and act like real people and interact the way people do. I mean both took a story that spanned over a year, and condensed it into taking place in few weeks, but while in Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe where Darcy and Luke/Elizabeth have like three conversations with each other-mostly fighting and Darcy being I’m the best-with Holiday Mix Tape they did a great job developing the romance by showing us their interactions in the past (not just saying they have crushes in high school) which makes it believable them falling in love as we see they never fell out of love.
So I hated Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe and I think that if you are looking for a modern Jane Austen Christmas novel, you should check this out.
My only complaint about this book, is that every chapter starts with “Track __” as you know it is a holiday “mixtape” and Anne was a DJ, but the chapter titles are not real songs. I know, it bummed me out too as I thought it would be cute to add links to the Holiday Mix Tape playlist. If there was anything that I would want to be changed, that’s it.
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.
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.
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.
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 bought 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, borrowing the recipe from my sister blog: Mysterious Eats. It 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 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.
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:
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.
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.
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!
So what did they think of the whole thing?
They loved it!
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 recommendyou read this book.
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.
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.
Or class. Or lunch. Or anything!
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.
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 Naziparty 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 Disturbwith 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.
Not what I want, but what can I do?
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 Creepby 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.
That sweater and hairstyle?
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.
Soon to be!
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:
Or 10th, 50th, 100th….
But I can already think of several people who will be receiving it as a birthday or Christmas present.