Would You Like Mr. Darcy To Give You a Tour of Florence, Italy?
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Source: Review Copy from Author
TYPE OF AUSTENESQUE NOVEL: Variation
TIME FRAME: The spring and summer of 1821. Around seven years after the close of Pride and Prejudice.
MAIN CHARACTERS: Elizabeth Bennet, Mr. Darcy, Alexandra Darcy, Jane Bingley, Charles Bingley, and Cassandra Bingley
SCENARIO: What if Elizabeth never encountered Darcy on her tour of Pemberley? What if Mr. Darcy thought it was pointless to pursue Elizabeth a second time and married another woman? What if, seven years later, Darcy invited the Bingleys, their daughter Cassandra, and Elizabeth to join him in a villa in Florence, Italy – where he and his young daughter, Alexandra have been residing since the unfortunate passing of his wife.
An Originative Premise: Darcy as a widower and father?!? Jane Austen’s characters in Florence?!? I love how Mary Simonsen took are characters to another country and placed them in a situation wholly unlike anything we’ve seen before.
- Experience Florence First Hand: Gazing upon the magnificent Statue of David, roaming through the Piazza della Signoria, taking in the masterpieces housed in the Uffizi – even though I wasn’t the one doing and seeing all these things, it certainly felt like I did! I loved learning about the famous landmarks and sites in Florence – especially since I have never been there myself!
Elizabeth Tell’s The Story: Even though I love my time in Darcy’s head, I simply loved how this novel was mostly from Elizabeth’s point-of-view (all except one chapter, I believe) and how we were kind of left in the dark about Darcy’s feelings and thoughts. Was he in love with his wife? Was there’s a happy marriage? Not knowing what was going on in Darcy’s head made him a bit of a mystery, and I was just dying to learn all the answers!
Jane Bingley: Poor Jane suffered through a very difficult birth with her daughter, and as a result is in a rather delicate state of health. I really enjoyed and admired Jane’s storyline in this novel, I loved seeing her character fleshed-out and go through an inspiring transformation.
Austenesque Historical Romance: I think Mary Simonsen strikes the perfect balance between history and romance with her novels. Blending a tale of two stubborn and misunderstood lovers with the history and culture of the city that surrounds them, Mary Simonsen creates a work that pulls at your heart and expands your mind.
Elizabeth’s Willful Misunderstanding: (I really got nothing except this itty-bitty quibble) Elizabeth seems bent on misunderstanding Mr. Darcy’s intentions and always assumes he means something else. Her powers of perception are definitely lacking in this novel! But part of me doesn’t really mind this because it makes the story longer and intensifies the drama!
RECOMMENDATION: Have a device you can Google things with handy! You are going to want to look up all the artwork and landmarks mentioned!
An informative and vivid tour of Florence, an inventive and intriguing premise, a gratifying character development for Jane Bingley, and a poignant and emotional romance – what more could you ask for?!? I simply adore these Austenesque Historical Romances by Mary Simonsen (yes, I just came up with my own label name for them – hope Ms. Simonsen doesn’t mind!) and I dearly hope she continues to write more!
Other Austenesque Historical Romances by Mary Simonsen
Darcy on the Hudson (2011)
Mr. Darcy Goes to War (2012)
17 out of 30!