What if Lizzy Didn’t Reject Darcy’s First Proposal?
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy, originally published as The Last Man in the World in 2007, is an engaging and clever variation of Pride and Prejudice. If you have not yet had the pleasure of encountering this series, “The Pemberley Variations,” by Abigail Reynolds, it is collection of Pride and Prejudice re-tellings that asks the question “what if?” In these variations we see how one small change in the plot can alter the course of Pride and Prejudice. This is one of my favorite variations by Abigail Reynolds, I love how heartbreaking and emotional the story is.
The slight change that sends Pride and Prejudice on its ear in this variation is Mr. Darcy kissing Elizabeth before she can refuse his offer of marriage and that kiss being observed by Colonel Fitzwilliam and Rosing Park gamekeepers. Now Elizabeth finds herself in a difficult situation as Darcy and Colonel Fitzwilliam are under the impression that she has accepted Darcy’s addresses and if she were to correct their assumption it would jeopardize not only her reputation, but also the reputations of her sisters. Even though Elizabeth never gets to proclaim to Darcy that he is “the last man in the world whom she could ever be prevailed on to marry,” she strongly despises him for what he’s done and her outlook for her a happy future is very bleak.
In Pride and Prejudice the flaws of “pride” and “prejudice” are played upon. In Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy these flaws are still represented but added to them are “selfishness” and “deception.” Mr. Darcy selfishly believes that Elizabeth’s answer to his proposal could only be yes, and Elizabeth decides it best to deceive her husband into believing her happily married instead of being truthful about her feelings for him. One of the reasons I love Elizabeth and Darcy is because they are flawed and they make mistakes. No one is perfect and in the literary world sometimes we tend to idolize our heroes and heroines. It is a nice change to see them feel insecure, embarrassed, or misunderstood. I believe even Elizabeth Bennet has times when she lacks confidence or jumps to the wrong conclusion.
Abigail Reynolds is a very talented and gifted author that clearly loves Jane Austen and Pride and Prejudice with a passion! I am delighted to own both this book and her self-published version of it The Last Man in the World. After reading Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy and scanning through my copy of The Last Man in the World, I did not find many changes in the plot, and I would venture to say that the only changes were grammatical. So if you already own The Last Man in the World you might not want to buy this book, however, if you are like me, you wouldn’t mind having this lovely book grace your shelves twice! In addition, I would like to warn readers who don’t enjoy intimate and romantic scenes between these characters that there are a few included in this book. However, the romantic scenes are very infrequent and are not overly explicit.
I highly recommend this novel for people who are interested in seeing Pride and Prejudice travel a different course!
Coming Soon: Interview with Author Abigail Reynolds January 26th!