Sep 302010

What if Darcy’s Ill-Fated Proposal at Hunsford Never Happened?

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Source: Review Copy from Publisher

What if Mr. Darcy, even though he was completely enamored and entranced with Elizabeth Bennet, hesitated to declare his love? What if Elizabeth left Hunsford without receiving Mr. Darcy’s proposal? What if Mr. Bennet passed away and Elizabeth’s place in society became even more inferior to Mr. Darcy’s?

Fast-forward two years from Elizabeth’s visit to Hunsford Parsonage, we encounter the Bennet women destitute and homeless. Jane, being the dutiful daughter she is, marries a local shopkeeper to help support her family; Elizabeth goes to London to assist with rearing her Aunt Gardiner’s children; and Mrs. Bennet and the youngest Bennet girls reside with their Aunt Phillips in Meryton. When Mr. Darcy discovers that Elizabeth is living in London he is tempted to seek her out to determine if she safe and happy. Yet, after ascertaining Elizabeth’s comfortable albeit dependent living situation, Darcy finds he cannot resist the temptation of renewing their acquaintance.

Darcy starts accompanying Elizabeth on her early morning walks and a mutual regard between them starts to develop. Although there is more amiability and less animosity between Darcy and Elizabeth this time around, other negative factors arise. Such as Darcy’s profligate and domineering uncle, a matchmaking Uncle Gardiner, and of course, Lydia… doing what she does best! Darcy struggles between his growing love and affection for Elizabeth and her family’s increasing degradation, and he must decide, once and for all, which will he regret most: infuriating his family or ignoring the yearnings of his heart…

Ever since Abigail Reynolds first self-published her five Pemberley Variation novels three years ago, her devoted admirers have been fervently waiting for her next new novel. (Myself included!) It was a delight to once again experience Ms. Reynolds’s enthralling prose, faithful yet emotive characterization, and tension-filled plots. Similar to From Lambton to Longbourn, there are no mature and intimate scenes between the characters; this will please many readers who prefer to stay out of the Darcy’s bedroom. However, do expect to find several tender, chaste, and beautifully romantic scenes between our infatuated Darcy and his beguiling Elizabeth. As always, Ms. Reynolds’s distinctive and ardent portrayal of Mr. Darcy makes me go weak in the knees and fall in love with him all over again!

While I did greatly enjoy Mr. Darcy’s Obsession, I couldn’t help but feel that the premise wasn’t as plausible as Ms. Reynolds’s other novels. Since Darcy never received a rejection from Elizabeth, how were his arrogant and prideful ways reformed? How could Elizabeth, who previously held Mr. Darcy in contempt, all of sudden welcome his company? Perhaps the lapse of two years has subdued their prides and prejudices…

Mr. Darcy’s Obsession is an adventurous variation that explores a different route with our beloved

Pride and Prejudice. In my opinion, it is one of Ms. Reynolds’s more exciting novels complete with a street urchin spy, libertine uncle, eccentric aunt, many damsels in distress, and an honorable and praiseworthy hero! I most emphatically recommend!

Coming Soon:  Interview with Abigail Reynolds on October 20th!


This is my twelfth completed item for the “Everything Austen Challenge II” hosted by Stephanie’s Written Word.
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  6 Responses to “Mr. Darcy’s Obsession – Abigail Reynolds”


    I really need to read this book! It has such a fresh take on Darcy and Elizabeth’s journey. Thanks for the review! I will be looking forward to your interview 🙂


    Great point Meredith about the motivation of Darcy and Elizabeth’s character changes. It is the axis of P&P, that Darcy’s pride was humbled and Elizabeth prejudice’s removed. If they weren’t there to begin with, that is a challenge.

    I know that some readers look forward to the bedroom scenes, but I like that Reynolds has used her writing skills to convey attraction and build desire. It shows development of her craft to not have to include every intimate detail. I admire her for that.

    Thanks for the great review. I always appreciate your honest opinions.

    Cheers, Laurel Ann


    Thanks for your review and upcoming interview. Congrats on number 12!


    Meredith, you continuously write some of the best reviews out there. This one is no exception.

    Excellent point about this new premise taking away Elizabeth’s initial rejection of Darcy and one I failed to see. It does change many aspects of the story.

    I also agree completely with you on the chaste nature of the love scenes in this book. I too appreciate that Ms. Reynolds keeps things clean and I think it makes for a more romantic story overall. Sigh. . .

    Happy Friday!


    I have been waiting for this book to come for so long! I must echo Laurel Ann’s sentiments about the bedroom scenes – so well said!

    I admit to some nervousness around the twist in this book. All her others take a pivotal moment in the book and alter the response. This seems a very different undertaking. The plot also reminds me of Kara Louise’s Something Like Regret, and while I loved that book, I can’t say I’m particularly happy about watching the Bennet ladies suffer so. I’ll have to brace myself for this reading. All the reviews are certainly wetting my appetite!


    I so want to read this one. I enjoy Reynolds and her variations.

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