Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Source: Review Copy from Author
TYPE OF AUSTENESQUE NOVEL: Modern Adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, Mature Audiences
SETTING: Modern-day – Virginia, Monte Carlo, and Morocco
SYNOPSIS: Fitzwilliam Darcy, an ex-SEAL working as an assassin for a secret organization contracted by the CIA, is on his next mission to take out a man in Virginia who is creating a very harmful technology that, once sold to our enemies could cripple the U.S. and send us back to the Dark Ages. The target Darcy is sent to eliminate is an unassuming and depressed man and when Darcy sees the tender kiss placed on the man’s temple by whom he assumes to be his daughter, Darcy gets a gut-feeling about this bad-luck mission that his conscience doesn’t allow him to ignore…
MAIN CHARACTERS: Fitzwilliam Darcy, Liz Bennet, Thomas Bennet, Henry Crawford, Jane Bennet, Bill Collins, Rick Fitzwilliam, Charlie Bingley, Caroline Bingley
WHAT I LOVED:
- The Name is Bond…Jane Bond: This has to be the first time I’ve read an Austenesque spy-thriller and I loved it! I’m not that big into James Bond, but I do love a good story with plenty of intrigue and adventure. And this premise with its secret missions, clever covers and ops, and travel to distant locations is one exhilarating ride!
- Wonderfully Constructed: I cannot help but be impressed with this novel! The premise is so well-thought out, the characters are engaging and have depth, and the author’s knowledge of how to write about espionage, terrorism, and technological warfare is most deserving of praise. I’m sure there were hours and hours of research and planning involved, and I applaud Ms. Gardiner for her efforts to make this story plausible, accessible, and real.
- A Different Take on Lizzy: We all have seen Mr. Bennet have a close relationship with his favorite daughter, Elizabeth – well, what if that relationship was a little more dependent and damaging. In this tale Mr. Bennet is a broken man suffering from depression and obsessive behaviors. Lizzy is all he has left and he manipulates her concern and compassion for him into compelling her to stay with him and live her life on his terms. I thought this was an interesting portrayal of Elizabeth and a pretty believable slant for her relationship with her father. On the outside she is demure and dutiful, but she keeps her inner desires for adventure, freedom, and escape to herself.
- A Damaged, Dark, and Dangerous to Know Darcy: First of all…Darcy as a badass assassin who drives a Harley? (C’mon…can he BE any hotter?!?) Smoldering sexiness aside there is a lot of depth and development with this Darcy. Not only do readers learn all about why Darcy has a heart of ice, chosen such a dangerous profession, and holds firm to the belief that all women are lying poisonous vipers, but they understand how his past experiences and emotional baggage shaped him into the man he is today. I love a complex Darcy, and I found it captivating to witness him overcome his past, hist pain, and his vulnerability in this premise.
- It’s The Little Things: The reoccurring theme of serpents and snakes, Darcy’s interest in horses, Lizzy’s passion for orchids – such unique touches. I loved the nicknames everyone had for each other – Lakmé, Rambo, Medusa, Iceman. And I thought the Spotify list was awesome (see my favorite tracks below). These little touches and motifs infuse the story with personality and clever connections.
WHAT I WASN’T TOO FOND OF:
- Na-Da! Couldn’t think of anything if I tried…
WARNING: Recommended for Mature Audiences because of the use of profanity and intimate content.
I’m completely enamored with this author’s style and the ingenious stories she skillfully crafts! I’m a big fan of creativity and I feel that Ms. Gardiner’s works just ooze with buckets of creativity! Sure, at times it is a bit of a departure from the Jane Austen and her world, but what a thrilling ride! I definitely recommend this searing hot read for fans of modern adaptations who count Fitzwilliam Darcy Rock Star and The Muse as amongst their favorite Austenesque reads.
Had such a blast listening to the Spotify list for this book (while reading and working on my review). Thought it would be fun to share my top 5 favorite tracks.
- “The Flower Duet” from Lakmé (always been one of my favorites!)
- “Clair de Lune” from Suite Bergamasque (played it, love it!)
- “Toxic” by Britney Spears (I’m not ashamed to say I love Britney!)
- “Shoot to Thrill” by Ironman (loved how this one tied in to the story so well!)
- “O Mio Babbino Caro” from Gianni Schicchi (always makes me think of Italy which is very nice to think of!)