Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Source: Review Copy from Author
After being decidedly and soundly rejected in Kent, our poor, broody Mr. Darcy is feeling lost and depressed. His dreams for a happy marriage, contented life, and a future with Elizabeth Bennet are dashed and he knows he must regroup and move on. Darcy realizes that the best chance he has of getting over and forgetting about Elizabeth Bennet is to put all his energy and time into finding a suitable bride. A bride that he chooses with reason rather than affection, based on practicality rather than compatibility, and by using his head rather than his heart…
Darcy is in such an agitated state between battling his own heart and being tormented daily and nightly with thoughts about Elizabeth that he begins to act impulsively and erratically. Having mucked it up so badly the first time, Darcy turns to others for assistance in his quest to find a wife. He asks Georgiana for help compiling a list of “required” qualities for his future wife and his neighbor, Lady Renwick, and fashionable aunt, Lady Matlock, for guidance with arranging and hosting house parties. Just when Darcy begins to feel some optimism and satisfaction with his plans to move on, he encounters none other than Elizabeth Bennet and the Gardiners near Pemberley… (what happens to all those plans now, Darcy?)
There was so much to enjoy in this new Pride and Prejudice variation. I thought the premise was brilliant – not only wickedly fun to witness, but very believable as well. (Darcy a complete wreck trying to rebound, I can see it.) I was intrigued by the new characters – Lady Renwick and Miss Elinor Marshall. Miss Marshall is the granddaughter of an earl, fashionable, beautiful, confident…and available. I enjoyed seeing this new original character interact with Georgiana and Darcy. Speaking of Georgiana, I loved her prominence in this novel! I loved how Darcy was open with her about his search for his wife (but not about his past with Elizabeth Bennet!) and how we were able to witness Georgiana’s private ponderings, devoted support for Darcy, and ability to navigate the tricky waters of polite conversation.
All these elements made for an exciting and engaging read, but I must admit, my favorite aspect of Mr. Darcy’s Pledge (Volume One) was Mr. Darcy! I loved seeing such an emotionally-charged, reflective, and romantic Darcy – he is hopelessly, pitifully, and irretrievably attached to Elizabeth Bennet. (Can you say “Awww?”) And even though he contemplates marriage with other women and moving on, he knows his heart will always belong to Elizabeth.
“Nothing would ever make him happy again. He had accepted that. Life was not about happiness. It was about duty…His own happiness was irrelevant.” – pages 114-115
Oh, and I almost forgot one of the best parts, there is a – wait for it – wet shirt scene! (“Fetch me my smelling salts. I feel my faintness coming on again!”)
I am exceedingly delighted with this first installment in Monica Fairview’s new series – The Darcy Novels. Mr. Darcy makes his pledge at the very end of this volume, and I can’t wait to see him carry it out in the next installment!
(Potential readers should be made aware that this is the first book in a three-volume tale, and that it will be necessary to read all volumes to attain the story’s conclusion).