Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars
Source: Review Copy from Author
The Ruling Passion is the third installment in Linda Berdoll’s controversial and dichotomous series of Pride and Prejudice sequels. Filled with melodrama, sex, violence, and an assortment of coarse characters, this saga is not everyone’s cup of tea. Each novel can be read as a stand alone novel or out-of-order, although, it is definitely best to read all three books in their correct order
In The Ruling Passion readers re-encounter the devoted and amorous Mr. and Mrs. Darcy as they approach nearly a decade of being married. The main story-line of this novel revolves around Darcy, Elizabeth, Lady Howgrave (Darcy’s former paramour, Juliette Clisson), and George Wickham (who apparently has nine lives!) While we do see a little of the Bingleys, Mrs. Bennet, Georgiana, Colonel Fitzwilliam, and the other Bennet sisters, they aren’t major characters in this novel.
I thought it was an interesting turn of events to have Lady Howgrave, once again, come into contact with the Darcys. The fact that she has designs on Darcy and is planning to seduce him gives the promise of drama, intrigue, and contention, but unfortunately it didn’t deliver the tension and conflict I was hoping it would. (SPOLIER ALERT!) By Darcy’s aloof behavior and immediate disinterest in Lady Howgrave, it is clearly evident from their first encounter that Lady Howgrave will never succeed in her mission – she is no threat to the Darcys’ happy marriage.
I’m sad to say that besides witnessing more of the affectionate and ardent union between Darcy and Elizabeth (I love how fervently devoted and fiercely loyal they are), this book held little appeal for me – even less than Book Two. My main issue is that there seemed to be a lack of plot and substance – just comings and goings, births and deaths, schemes and scrapes – none of the exhilarating and intense melodrama that we find in Book One. With the author and many of the characters devoting so much page time to recounting, remembering, and reflecting on what happened in the past, it kind of seemed like all the action, excitement, and high points of their lives have come and gone. (After ten years of marriage are the best years already behind you??? I hope not!)
There were other small things that I wasn’t too fond of in this novel, such as: the fact that there seems to be repeat of antagonists (Wickham just will never go away, will he?), that the Bingleys are always landing themselves in trouble (it is sad to see Jane and Charles mismanage just about every aspect of their lives!), and the inclusion of characters and subplots that fail to engage the reader’s compassion or concern (what was the purpose of Sally Arbuthnot and Lady Millhouse in this novel?!?) The original characters I would have loved to see more of are Hannah, Goodwin, and John Christie (if that were possible).
There is so much I found to love and admire in Linda Berdoll’s first book, Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife. It is an all-encompassing, witty, passionate, and epic novel that has had a huge impact in the Austenesque community and an abundance of success! I wish I felt the same way about Darcy and Elizabeth: Nights and Days at Pemberley and The Darcys: The Ruling Passion. I’m sad to say that my recommendation (for those of you who are interested in maybe reading these novels) would be to definitely read Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife, but maybe skip the other two. 🙁
Note: There are several explicit/intimate scenes, the use of crude language, and some acts of violence. Mature Audiences only!
21 out of 30!