Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
At the tender age of fifteen, a grieving and motherless Fitzwilliam is brought to select a trusty companion of his very own from a litter of English Springer Spaniels. Due to his intelligent eyes and “lively and playful manner,” young Fitzwilliam chooses Reggie despite the fact that he is not of the highest breeding. Through the years Reggie and Darcy develop a wonderfully close bond. Reggie helps Darcy find happiness after his mother’s passing and prompts him to laugh and play, while his father keeps him at a distance and instructs him behave in a “more dignified manner.” But as the years go by, Reggie notices that his master doesn’t laugh and play as much as he used to and is burdened by his many cares and responsibilities. Reggie hopes that something or someone will soon bring some lightheartedness back into his master’s life. And when he meets the delightfully playful and friendly Elizabeth Bennet, Reggie feels that just like himself, she would be a perfect companion for his master…
Reggie has several encounters with the lovely Elizabeth Bennet, and while the two are quite fond of each other, Reggie senses that Elizabeth does not hold his master in any affection…although the same cannot be said for him! So what does Reggie do? He doesn’t have the power to speak Darcy’s language, but he is determined to help his master find happiness in any and every way possible!
It is always interesting to see a familiar story from a new perspective! I’ve read and loved stories from the hero’s point-of-view or from a secondary character’s point-of-view, but this is my first time reading a story from an animal’s point-of-view! And Reggie is such an endearing and lovable addition to the Pride and Prejudice family! I absolutely adored his loyalty and affection for Mr. Darcy, and I loved the idea of Mr. Darcy having such a companionable and selfless canine friend in his life. In addition, I was touched by all the special relationships Reggie fostered with other characters in this story, such as Georgiana, Anne, and Elizabeth. Reggie is a remarkable animal, and you cannot but help and love him in this story!
What I loved most about this unique retelling was seeing how Darcy shared his intimate thoughts with Reggie, and how Reggie (who wasn’t present in every important scene of the book) would understand his master’s feelings and care for his emotional well-being. I loved that Mr. Darcy didn’t hold back in front of Reggie – he shared his vulnerability, his fears, and his dejection with his best friend. Reggie is wonderfully perceptive and wise, and I loved seeing him communicate his opinions and thoughts to Darcy by wagging his tail, groaning in disapproval, or by other means. 🙂 My favorite bits were when Reggie did something completely out of the norm in order to get Darcy’s attention or go somewhere.
In addition, I loved seeing what Reggie thought of the other characters in the book, his opinions of Lady Cat and Caroline Bingley were too funny! And he loathes Wickham just as much as his master does. But best of all was seeing what Reggie thought of Elizabeth Bennet, their relationship evolved into something very special and heartwarming! My idea of Elizabeth is that she is as fond of animals as she is of nature, so this fit in quite perfectly with my perception of her character.
Since this story is told from Reggie’s point-of-view and he isn’t able to converse with others, this story tended to be heavy on the narration and a little bit light on the dialogue. Which is understandable with Reggie’s limitations, but at the same time this made the story feel a little slow-paced at some points. In addition, I thought the exposition may have been just a tad too lengthy.
Master Under Good Regulation is a tender and heartwarming story that spotlights the special and unique relationship between man and dog and will pull at your heartstrings. Insightful, sensitive, and adorable Reggie is an endearing and original Pride and Prejudice character that I will not soon forget!