Jun 252018
 

Insert Backbone [HERE]!

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Source: Review Copy from Publisher

TYPE OF AUSTENESQUE NOVEL: Pride and Prejudice Variation

TIME FRAME: Begins in February, while Darcy, Bingley, and Jane are all in London

SYNOPSIS: A miserable and broken-hearted Mr. Bingley comes to the realization that perhaps he shouldn’t solely trust his friend’s and sisters’ assessments of Miss Bennet’s heart. After all, “when did Darcy ever engage in an extended conversation with Miss Bennet?” Deciding and acting for himself, Mr. Bingley makes a plan to renew his courtship of Jane Bennet. But the only problem is that Jane, after being rejected and publicly humiliated, is not so quick to forgive and forget his treatment of her. With such a poor beginning, can Mr. Bingley succeed and win Jane’s heart? Has Mr. Darcy’s interference in Mr. Bingley’s life caused an irreparable breach between the two friends? How does this all impact Elizabeth’s opinion of Mr. Darcy?

WHAT I LOVED:

  • In Defense of the Bingleys: In the Author’s Preface, Linda Beutler discloses that part of her inspiration for this variation was a wish to go against the tide of Austenesque/JAFF literature that portrays Mr. Bingley and Jane as weak, helpless, or clueless and instead have them become stronger-willed and determined characters. I love when authors find inventive and clever ways to tweak the personalities of Jane Austen’s characters! Especially when they find good cause to do so. I really love Mr. Bingley’s realization about Mr. Darcy’s like of intercourse with Jane.
  • The Gardiners: I absolutely love the part the Gardiners play in this variation – their relationship developments with Mr. and Miss Darcy, and the realized past connections between Mrs. Gardiner’s family and Mr. Darcy’s! There were so delightful surprises there! Mrs. Gardiner is always one of my favorite maternal figures in Jane Austen’s novels, and I loved seeing the many ways she supports and assists her nieces, as well as reprimands them when they rightly deserve it!
  • With a Little Help From Their Friends: Whether talking up their relations, setting schemes to bring two people together, lending a sympathetic ear, or creating a brilliant analogy to show someone the error of their ways there was plenty of matchmaking in this variation! I love seeing how many characters contributed to bring others together. I was especially surprised to see Mr. Bennet join in as well! Loved this portrayal of him.
  • Letters: There were lots of letters exchanged in this story and I loved seeing how the letter-writing revealed some bits about each letter-writer. The letters crafted in this story were perceptive, clever, and entertaining. I loved learning more about the actions and thoughts of each character through these letters.
  • Marvelous Set-Downs: If you like seeing a good comeuppance, then you will love the ones that take place in this variation! Well done, Ms. Beutler, I can so tell you had fun with those! Oh boy! I think Caroline Bingley definitely needs some aloe for all those burns!!!

WHAT I WASN’T TOO FOND OF:

  • A Little Disbelief: While I was fully onboard with a stronger Bingley and Jane, I did find myself a little less fond of Jane’s continued obstinacy. I definitely don’t mind if there is a deeper reason hindering Jane’s feelings for Mr. Bingley, but the fact that she ignored both Mrs. Gardiner’s and Elizabeth’s cautions made it feel like she was intentionally being aloof and challenging. In addition, there was a lot of open candor between characters in this variation. Perhaps a good deal more forthright and public than readers should expect to see in Jane Austen’s time. And it did cause me to suspend my belief occasionally.

CONCLUSION:

My Mr. Darcy and Your Mr. Bingley is an enthralling and captivating variation that delivers a diverting new twist to explore! This Mr. Bingley does a lot to earn our admiration and I cannot help but be endeared to Mr. Darcy and his new struggles to win back his best friend in addition to the woman who owns his heart! There are so many subtle inclusions and creative touches to enjoy in Linda Beutler’s writing, I cannot wait to see what she writes next!

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NOTE: The last 20-25 pages of the book do include several intimate romantic scenes and earlier in the book there were some allusions to amorous activities. Recommended for Mature Audiences.

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  20 Responses to “My Mr. Darcy and Your Mr. Bingley – Linda Beutler”

  1.  

    This book is definitely on my TBR list! I have to read about Mr. Bingley being more forceful. Thank you for reviewing. 🙂

  2.  

    Definitely was curious when I saw this one come out. I love when minor characters get their stories.

  3.  

    I love P&P variations that give Jane and Bingley more page time. And I realize what we all know of canon. But we never really get to learn J&B’s inner thoughts. Bingley has been portrayed as congenial, happy and good humored, able to meet and enjoy many levels of society. But with his being so ‘willing to please’ I think he is way to unsure of himself. An assertive Charles Bingley is always a lovely thing to behold. And Jane deserves to have someone who has grown up, grown into his own. They are good for each other in canon, what they get from their union is a tremendously long list.

    •  

      Me too, Michelle! I love seeing there is more to them than just what we learn and see in P&P. Yes, very well said! I do agree they are good for each other!

  4.  

    Oh dear. I forgot to say, this one has been on my wish list a long time and I’m looking forward to reading it. Great review Meredith.

  5.  

    Wonderful review and I so enjoyed Charles in this story!

  6.  

    I haven’t read this one yet, so thanks for putting Linda’s review here. I’m looking forward to reading this one for sure.

  7.  

    Adding this one to my TBR shelf this instant!!! Thank you for your always thoughtful and delightfully detailed reviews, Meredith!!! As ever, I am guided by your wise analysis of books in this wonderful sub-genre!!

    Warmly,
    Susanne 🙂

    •  

      Wonderful, Susanne! Thank you, you have no idea how much I struggle with them! Lol! I hope to give enough detail that people know what to expect, but I don’t want to spoil any surprises!

  8.  

    I was lucky enough to win a copy of this book on the blog tour and sadly, it’s still languishing in my TBR pile. Shame on me!

  9.  

    Loved this review… this is on my TBR pile and there is no excuse for not reading it. This review reminded me that I NEED to read it. Thanks for the reminder. Say hello to YOUR Mr. Bingley for me. Blessings…

  10.  

    I bought this when it was published as I do so enjoy Linda’s books. Yes Jane did take her offence a little too far but I did love this book and like you Meredith, I would recommend it. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, it’s reminded me that this is due for a ‘re read.

    •  

      Wonderful, Glynis! I’m so glad to hear you enjoyed it! Definitely is one I’d want to re-read again too! I love the scenes between Darcy and Lizzy in the grove! <3 Hope you are doing well!!

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