Who Wouldn’t Want to Spend More Time with Mr. Darcy!
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Source: Review Copy from Author
In the same manner as Pamela Aidan, Amanda Grange, and Maya Slater, debut author Nancy Kelley pens a novel that tells the story of Pride and Prejudice from Mr. Darcy’s perspective. Giving readers something they will all find extremely agreeable: more time alone with the handsome, illustrious, and brooding Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy! Ms. Kelley’s tale begins just before Georgiana’s imprudent elopement attempt and closes soon after Darcy and Elizabeth become engaged. Through these pages readers get to witness Darcy’s inner thoughts and reflections, and observe the close relationships he has with Georgiana and Colonel Fitzwilliam.
Want to get into Darcy’s head? Want to spend some more time with him? (Silly question, right?)
I just love reading novels that focus on the hero! Being inside their head is so enlightening and oftentimes very entertaining! What I enjoyed most about this retelling was Ms. Kelley’s depiction of Darcy’s gradual transformation from selfish arrogance and poor manners to painstaking civility and polite consideration. I like how at first he couldn’t comprehend Elizabeth’s low and unjust opinion of him. But later, when Darcy hears her words echoed by Colonel Fitzwilliam and his tenants, he realizes he must give Elizabeth’s reproach credence. I took great pleasure in the journey through Darcy’s transformation; it was interesting to witness him go from tortured despondency to anxious longing.
Another aspect I enjoyed about this retelling, was the plausible reasoning Ms. Kelley gives for Darcy’s actions. She cleverly provides intuitive and illuminating explanations to all these questions:
– Why does Darcy go to Hertfordshire (especially when he has no desire to)?
– Why doesn’t Darcy rectify Lady’s Catherine mistaken assumption that he will one day offer for Anne?
– When does Darcy finally become aware of Caroline Bingley’s ambitious intentions towards him?
While Ms. Kelley did illustrate the events and activities that took place when Darcy wasn’t near Elizabeth, I sort of felt these sections of the novel were a little too brief and constricted. We all are curious to know what happens “offstage.” What did Darcy do in the four months after the Netherfield Ball? How did he spend his days after leaving Kent? Were there any other important people in his life besides Georgiana, Colonel Fitzwilliam, and the Bingleys? Outside of what we see and know from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, it appears Darcy does little else in this retelling. I would have liked for these periods of separation to be elongated and more developed. Twenty pages was not enough for a four month period. A couple of new characters or subplots would have been a great addition!
Overall, I was delighted with Nancy Kelley’s debut novel! I took pleasure in her style of writing and appreciated her accurate renderings of Jane Austen’s characters. In addition, I admired the meticulous attention she paid to the language, mores, and practices of Jane Austen’s time. I would most definitely love to see more from Ms. Kelley!