May 042011

The Courtship of Elizabeth Bennet

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Source: Review Copy from Publisher

What if Mr. Darcy, feeling intense despair and heartache over Elizabeth’s unceremonious refusal, focused all his energy on repairing the damage he caused to Bingley’s relationship with Jane Bennet? Darcy, realizing he was wrong, knows he must now do what is right, otherwise Elizabeth’s poor opinion of him will be validated. However, reuniting Bingley with Jane Bennet, means Darcy must return to Meryton and once again encounter Elizabeth Bennet! Unfortunately, Darcy is unsuccessful in persuading Bingley to join him and must travel to Meryton alone. While trying to determine Jane’s feelings towards Bingley, Darcy pays her some attention and the whole town mistakenly assumes that he intends to marry her! The rumors reach the ears of Lady Catherine, who takes it upon herself to travel to Longbourn and demand an interview with, no, not Elizabeth Bennet, but Jane Bennet!

In her debut novel, Mr. Darcy and the Secret of Becoming a Gentleman, author Maria Hamilton, shows her readers what would happen if Darcy were to return to Elizabeth’s life a lot sooner. Would Elizabeth despise him more? Appreciate his efforts of her sister’s behalf? Would she regret her decision? Her words? How long does it take for Darcy to earn Elizabeth’s forgiveness? Her respect? Her love? In this splendid and wonderfully well-crafted variation we witness Darcy’s tentative yet indefatigable courtship of Elizabeth Bennet. “Fasten your seatbelts!

What a fantastic debut novel from Maria Hamilton! Her skillful writing and unique twists had me enthralled from page one. The premise was brilliant and I absolutely loved witnessing Darcy battle back and forth between just trying to make amends for his interference with Jane and Bingley and grasping at the opportunity to achieve his own happiness. In addition, I adored observing Elizabeth progress from feeling nothing but intense dislike for Mr. Darcy, to understanding his character and treating him with civility, to admiring him and falling ardently in love with him.

While there may have been one or two scenes that weren’t to my liking, such as Darcy and Elizabeth anticipating their wedding vows (PG-13 scene), there were an abundance of scenes that I liked exceedingly. I can’t decide which one is my favorite: the showdown with Lady Catherine, the way Darcy flirted with Elizabeth over dinner, watching Elizabeth fall in love before our very eyes, or the utterly romantic scene in the library at Netherfield where Darcy touches Elizabeth’s hand! Completely chaste, but oh, so romantic!

Mr. Darcy and the Secret of Becoming a Gentleman is a riveting and impassioned variation that displays great admiration and respect for Jane Austen’s original plot and characters. I dearly hope this is the first in a long succession of Austenesque novels by Ms. Hamilton! Brava!
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  10 Responses to “Mr. Darcy and the Secret of Becoming a Gentleman – Maria Hamilton”


    Seriously looking forward to reading this variation of Darcy & Elizabeth!! LOVED the review! 🙂


    This one sounds like it’s going to be so much fun!! I can’t wait to get to my copy!


    Nice review! I was excited before about receiving my copy, now it’s going to be even harder! 🙂


    Great review! Thanks for the warnings too. smiles


    I really enjoyed your review, especially knowing that those PG-13 scenes were so small in number. I really was on the fence about this one but now after reading your review, I know I can add it to my TBR pile.
    As a side note, I hated my husband at first too! And in a light bulb moment, I never realized until reading your review that I kind of went through the same steps as Elizabeth. I started with extreme dislike, politeness because I had to work with him, respect, friendship and then love. It adds up to a 16 year anniversary at the end of the month. Now I have even more reason to love P&P (like I needed any more)and all the variations!


    Suzan and FurryReaders, just to clarify even more, it was only one scene and “faded to black” pretty quickly. I hope you both enjoy this one if you get the chance to read it!

    Thanks for sharing that story FurryReaders! It’s great that we can see ourselves in these characters. I’m delighted to hear that you and your husband have been married for almost 16 years. Happy Anniversary!



    Thank you, I feel it is a good sign that it doesn’t feel like it has been that many years. It is just so interesting to me that I never connected my personal story to Elizabeth and Darcy prior to reading your review for this book. Even if I didn’t already want a copy I would have to get this, just for that reason alone. One other note, I wish I could describe his nephew’s reaction when I told him I hated his uncle when we first met. Shock, disbelief and laughter crossed his face, all at the same time, and I had to convince him I wasn’t joking.


    Hamilton took Pride and Prejudice and asked WHAT IF Darcy took action to correct the situation he had created between Jane and Bingley and while, in that endeavor, to also correct those defects Elizabeth had pointed out so accurately when she had refused his hand. While, at the same time we see Elizabeth seeking to understand and correct why she had erred in her judgment of certain people. This was a wonderful premise, one that I enjoyed watching as the characters developed — until I got to the last fifty pages. Suddenly the whole book had a new premise. At the climax (pun unavoidable) we see that the alterations in character were for no other purpose than getting the other into bed, with just a bit of cuddling in the epilogue. The original premise had become a lie. This was a destroyer of a book which for me had gone from a very good to less than an average read, at best.


    I now have this book on my kindle and in reading your review…know that this is the next book I will read! Thanks for the review.

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