Jun 142013
 

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.

WHAT I LOVED:
  • 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.
WHAT I WASN’T TOO FOND OF:
  • 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!

CONCLUSION:

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)

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17 out of 30!

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  17 Responses to “When They Fall in Love – Mary Simonsen”

  1.  

    Great review! This was one of my favorite recent books and now I will have to check out Mary Simonsen’s other books.

    •  

      Thank you, Joy! I’m so glad you thought highly of this one, too! Having loved Darcy on the Hudson as much as I did When They Fall in Love – I am now very eager to get my hands on Mr. Darcy Goes to War!!!

    •  

      Thanks, Joy. So glad you enjoyed When They Fall in Love.

    •  

      I am ordering Darcy on the Hudson next! Mary-Thank you for the wonderful story and opportunity to spend more time with our favorite literary couple. The book was a perfect diversion during a busy time in life. I look forward to reading your other books!

    •  

      Hi Joy. Darcy on the Hudson is probably my favorite D&E historical novel. I grew up in North Jersey, but moved away more than 30 years ago. My husband and I went back for the research, and it was one of the best holidays we’ve ever had. So glad my book was published at a time when you needed a diversion. I know exactly what you mean.

  2.  

    So glad you enjoyed this book! I am glad you recommended having google handy. I had to do a google images search for several art pieces mentioned so I could get a better understanding of their purpose and symbolism. It really made me want to visit Italy!

  3.  

    Glad it was good. I’m eager to read this one.

  4.  

    The perfect combination! Florence and a Darcy-Lizzy romance!!. I was in Florence some years ago and I feel it’s a beautiful place for the “Renaissance” of Darcy and Lizzy’s love. Thanks for the review!.
    Teresa.

    •  

      Hi Teresa! It was a perfect combination! Makes me want to go to Italy so badly! “The Reaissance of Darcy and Lizzy’s love” – what a brilliant and accurate way to describe this book!!! Wish I thought of it when I was working on my review!!! LOL! 🙂

    •  

      I’ve been to Florence twice, and I always wanted to write a book with the city as a setting. It took awhile, but I finally got there. Thanks for commenting.

  5.  

    Hi Meredith. Thank you for the wonderful, wonderful review. So glad you enjoyed the story. Regarding the artwork, I did the legwork (or click work) for you. Here is a link to a post on my blog where the artwork mentioned in the story is shown in all its glory:

    http://marysimonsenfanfiction.blogspot.com/2013/04/when-they-fall-in-love-artwork-from-book.html

    •  

      Hi Mary! Thank you so much for all your kind words!! I remember reading that post on your blog and feeling so intrigued about your book! Thank you for writing such an beautiful and unique story!

  6.  

    I really need to get my hands on a copy of this book. I love Mary’s writing, so it’s on my wish list. Glad to see you enjoyed it. Great review, as always!

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