Anne de Bourgh, the Mastermind Behind it All!
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Source: Review Copy from Publisher
What if Anne de Bourgh perceived Darcy’s admiration for Elizabeth Bennet? What if she was the one who convinced Elizabeth and the Gardiners to visit the Peak District instead of the Lake District? What if it was Anne who told Lady Catherine the rumor about Darcy being engaged to Elizabeth Bennet? In The Perfect Bride for Mr. Darcy, there are no coincidences, chance encounters, or fate, all that takes place is clearly the results of Anne de Bourgh’s careful and clever machinations!
In this delightful and entertaining Pride and Prejudice re-imagining, readers will see Anne, with the assistance of Georgiana, Colonel Fitzwilliam, and to some extent Darcy’s manservant Mercer, do everything in their power to bring Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy together. Since this novel travels the same course as Pride and Prejudice, it isn’t like your typical variation. It’s more of a retelling with some augmentation… Readers should expect several behind-the-action scenes, added insight, and a few interesting plot twists.
While the course of events in this novel accurately parallels those in Jane Austen’s original, some of the characters have been slightly altered, and in some cases perhaps a little too altered. In this novel Georgiana is two years older, not so timid, and excessively fond of romance and novels. In addition, readers will find that Anne de Bourgh is not such a sickly and helpless creature, Jane Bennet has a second suitor, and Darcy has had previous lovers. Moreover, some new faces include George Bingley, Charles’s older and financially astute brother and Lord Fitzwilliam, Colonel Fitzwilliam’s older, negligent, and often inebriated brother. Both were excellently drawn and intriguing characters.
What I liked most about this Pride and Prejudice retelling was the opportunity to follow other characters in the story. Instead of seeing everything from just Elizabeth’s point-of-view, the reader is able to follow a rejected Mr. Darcy as he leaves Hunsford Parsonage, drop in on a wretched Charles Bingley in London, and witness Lydia’s escapades in Brighton. These extra scenes were creative little expansions that provided some possible and conceivable elucidation on Austen’s characters. I loved seeing what Jane Austen didn’t show us! In addition, another aspect I greatly enjoyed was seeing a more spirited Anne de Bourgh and a Jane Bennet with a backbone!
Nevertheless, there were some minor parts of in this novel that I wasn’t too fond, such as Darcy’s previous paramours reappearing in his life and George Bingley taking too big a role in Lydia’s rescue. I also felt that Georgiana’s character was a little too different from Jane Austen’s original. Regardless of these quibbles, I found Ms. Simonsen’s novel to be a lovely and commendable re-imagining of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. The Perfect Bride for Mr. Darcy is an absorbing page-turner, full of exciting twists and intriguing character exploration!
Check back on JANUARY 26th for my INTERVIEW + GIVEAWAY with the lovely Mary Lydon Simonsen!