Readers’ Discretion is Advised 😉
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
TYPE OF AUSTENESQUE NOVEL: Pride and Prejudice Sequel
TIME FRAME: immediately after the close of Pride and Prejudice
In this sequel, readers witness the Darcys’ first moments of marriage, their wedding night, and the commencing six years of their lives. Interspersed through the novel are flashbacks to their youth and courtship. Filled with scenes of passion, war, angst, and violence this saga is all-encompassing and intense!
That’s right, I’m reviewing the infamous and controversial Pride and Prejudice sequel series by Linda Berdoll! The dichotomous series that readers either love or loathe. Having first read this sequel back in 2002 (when it was self-published as The Bar Sinister), I feel a certain fondness for it because it was my third Austenesque novel and my very first Pride and Prejudice sequel. Back when I was sixteen, I loved witnessing Darcy and Elizabeth’s immeasurably strong bond and intense passion for each other. At such an age, my romantic sensibilities were deeply gratified by Ms. Berdoll’s portrayal of the Darcys’ marital bliss! Now happily married almost four years to my own Mr. Darcy, will I feel the same way???
WHAT I LOVED:
- The Different Point-of-Views: (It felt a little like Downton Abbey!) Hannah, Goodwin, John Christie – readers are privy to the thoughts of Elizabeth’s lady’s maid, Darcy’s valet, and a Pemberlean groom. In addition, some scenes are from the perspectives of Jane Bingley, George Wickham, and Colonel Fitzwilliam! I loved the feeling of intimacy and understanding readers were able to gain with all these characters.
The Language: While not so acerbic and satirical as Jane Austen’s writing, Linda Berdoll definitely mastered her sentence structure and cultured vocabulary. I loved seeing words such as: invective, unctuous, insouciance, and uxorious. (Yes, I had to look some of these up on dictionary.com to understand their meaning!)
The Intense Drama: After the honeymoon phase (which arguably is the first one hundred and fifty pages) the Darcys experience some harsh and grim realities. With servants seeking revenge, illegitimate children, fears of infidelity, and childbearing predicaments, there is plenty of exhilarating action and emotional turbulence in this novel, including Darcy getting caught in the middle of the Battle of Waterloo!
The Fervent Devotion: Yes, ten years and two rereads later I STILL love the fierce loyalty and intense attachment Darcy and Elizabeth feel for each other! I love that they still have their imperfections – that Darcy still has issues with his pride and Elizabeth some issues with her obstinate opinions. They don’t have a perfect marriage or a perfect life, but their love for each other is nonpareil.
Jane Bingley: Poor saintly Jane was just too accepting and too forgiving for my tastes. Her complacency under such circumstances felt unrealistic, and I was waiting to see when she would be pushed over the edge.
The Plethora of Intimate Scenes: Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE witnessing Darcy and Elizabeth in passionate embraces, but in the first third of the book, I sometimes felt it happened a little too frequently. C’mon, Darcy, show a little restraint, you are interfering with the pacing!
Mature Scenes (Darcy is neither inexperienced or easily satiated!)
Violence and War
This novel (or this series) is not for the faint of heart! Prerequisites for this novel should include: a daring disposition, a proclivity for passion, and a lack of compunction about encroaching upon the Darcys’ privacy. Epic, memorable, and thrilling – Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife will always have a special place in my heart and permanent place on my shelf!
What do you think readers? Have you read this series by Linda Berdoll?
What’s your opinion on this informal review style? Yay or nay?