Jul 032012

Readers’ Discretion is Advised πŸ˜‰

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Source: Purchased

TYPE OF AUSTENESQUE NOVEL: Pride and Prejudice Sequel

TIME FRAME: immediately after the close of Pride and Prejudice


In this sequel, readers witness the Darcys’ first moments of marriage, their wedding night, and the commencing six years of their lives. Interspersed through the novel are flashbacks to their youth and courtship. Filled with scenes of passion, war, angst, and violence this saga is all-encompassing and intense!


That’s right, I’m reviewing the infamous and controversial Pride and Prejudice sequel series by Linda Berdoll! The dichotomous series that readers either love or loathe. Having first read this sequel back in 2002 (when it was self-published as The Bar Sinister), I feel a certain fondness for it because it was my third Austenesque novel and my very first Pride and Prejudice sequel. Back when I was sixteen, I loved witnessing Darcy and Elizabeth’s immeasurably strong bond and intense passion for each other. At such an age, my romantic sensibilities were deeply gratified by Ms. Berdoll’s portrayal of the Darcys’ marital bliss! Now happily married almost four years to my own Mr. Darcy, will I feel the same way???


  • The Different Point-of-Views: (It felt a little like Downton Abbey!) Hannah, Goodwin, John Christie – readers are privy to the thoughts of Elizabeth’s lady’s maid, Darcy’s valet, and a Pemberlean groom. In addition, some scenes are from the perspectives of Jane Bingley, George Wickham, and Colonel Fitzwilliam! I loved the feeling of intimacy and understanding readers were able to gain with all these characters.
  • The Language: While not so acerbic and satirical as Jane Austen’s writing, Linda Berdoll definitely mastered her sentence structure and cultured vocabulary. I loved seeing words such as: invective, unctuous, insouciance, and uxorious. (Yes, I had to look some of these up on dictionary.com to understand their meaning!)
  • The Intense Drama: After the honeymoon phase (which arguably is the first one hundred and fifty pages) the Darcys experience some harsh and grim realities. With servants seeking revenge, illegitimate children, fears of infidelity, and childbearing predicaments, there is plenty of exhilarating action and emotional turbulence in this novel, including Darcy getting caught in the middle of the Battle of Waterloo!
  • The Fervent Devotion: Yes, ten years and two rereads later I STILL love the fierce loyalty and intense attachment Darcy and Elizabeth feel for each other! I love that they still have their imperfections – that Darcy still has issues with his pride and Elizabeth some issues with her obstinate opinions. They don’t have a perfect marriage or a perfect life, but their love for each other is nonpareil.
  • Jane Bingley: Poor saintly Jane was just too accepting and too forgiving for my tastes. Her complacency under such circumstances felt unrealistic, and I was waiting to see when she would be pushed over the edge.
  • The Plethora of Intimate Scenes: Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE witnessing Darcy and Elizabeth in passionate embraces, but in the first third of the book, I sometimes felt it happened a little too frequently. C’mon, Darcy, show a little restraint, you are interfering with the pacing!
  • Mature Scenes (Darcy is neither inexperienced or easily satiated!)
  • Violence and War

This novel (or this series) is not for the faint of heart! Prerequisites for this novel should include: a daring disposition, a proclivity for passion, and a lack of compunction about encroaching upon the Darcys’ privacy. Epic, memorable, and thrilling – Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife will always have a special place in my heart and permanent place on my shelf!


What do you think readers? Β Have you read this series by Linda Berdoll? Β Β 

What’s your opinion on this informal review style? Yay or nay?


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  21 Responses to “Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife – Linda Berdoll”


    This was one of the first P&P sequels I ever read, and I really have to credit it with hooking me into this genre of JAFF.

    You’ve made me want to go back and re-read the series now!


    I haven’t read this series yet but I’m sure I will, at some point. As you said, most people either love it or hate it, going by the reviews. I don’t mind the passionate stuff, and it sounds like the portrayal of the strong bond between Lizzy and Darcy overrules any angst.
    As for the review style, I like it.


    For me, reading this novel years ago was a memorable and inspiring experience. Let’s just say I didn’t much care for it, and I immediately set out to write MY idea of what a sequel to “Pride and Prejudice” should be. So thank you, Linda. I owe the existance of “The Darcys of Pemberley” partially to you!

    PS – Yay on this review format, Meredith!


      Hello Shannon,

      I greatly appreciate you stopping by and sharing your experience with this novel! That’s amazing that it prompted you to write your own!


    I loved how you broke it down. I’m a nay. Can’t say much more it would come out all wrong. Read more than one to make sure it wasn’t just the one book. And I have to say no all the way around. Sorry. However, It’s a great thing there’s so many varieties of style, book and author out there. I think Pamela Aidan’s were my first – not a sequel obviously but it’s what got me hooked. And I don’t recall a sex scene in it – but my mind is a bit faulty.
    I do think your review hit the nail on the head. It just comes down to preference.


      Hello Suzan,

      No need to be sorry! πŸ™‚ I don’t write my reviews with the belief that everyone will agree with my opinion. And most certainly didn’t expect everyone to agree with my assessment of THIS novel.

      It truly is interesting to see how dichotomous this novel is! While not bothered by the sex scenes, I am finding myself much more appreciative when authors are able to create a scene that is very romantic, but chaste. Authors like Jennifer Becton, Laura Hile, and Lory Lilian are some that come to mind that have mastered the ability to create an incredibly hot moment where the characters do nothing more than touch hands. I really like that!


      Me too. As a matter of fact, I can’t recall if it’s Abigail (some of Abigail’s are a little more R rated of course but there are a couple that aren’t) or Kara but one of those I believe, that has a very romantic hand holding scene in one of their books that just blows my socks off every time. Of course, I find it very romantic when after 34 years my husband still holds my hand.

      thanks for understanding.
      I liked the way you broke this down. I think it was very wise and succinct.
      I also liked the authors you mentioned in your reply as well.


      Oops forgot. I think what I didn’t like was that it seemed like they were hitting every room and the descriptions were a bit much for me. I was a newlywed once and personally I didn’t advertise what we did, or how often, or in what room – or every room for that matter. It was too much. I couldn’t get around the plot because I felt these scenes were just too often. I’m not totally prudish but there just reaches a limit and well taste. There are a couple other authors I read very little of for the same reason. But by and large I find the huge majority of authors to use discretion when they write. These were some of the first sequels I read but it put me off. If it hadn’t been for the JAFF sites and a few others I found at the library I would have quit. I have branched out into mystery and historical fiction, and Christian type romance so this whole atmosphere of your site and Goodreads, and AuAu, as well as individual author sites has helped tremendously. I’m very grateful to you and others for all the options we have.


    I started my jaff experience by reading hundred of JAFF stories which were available for free, back then in 2004. Then I discovered Linda’s book on Amazon and ordered it and I enjoyed most of it.

    Meredith, I have to say I agree 100 % with your likes and dislikes about it. The drama it was a little too much for me (angst wimp here lol) and I don’t mind sex scenes (what a surprise, right? πŸ™‚ ) but at some point I found myself wondering ‘come on – again ?!?!’ lol.

    Anyway, the truth is this book had a huge impact over the JAFF readers all over the world ! (some loved it, some hated it, but -almost – everybody read it πŸ™‚ )

    Nice review, Meredith !


      Thank you so much for stopping by, Lory! I’m glad you enjoyed my review and shared your opinion! I’m sort of hoping Book 2 will have a little bit less intimate scenes since Darcy and Elizabeth are no longer newlyweds! πŸ™‚


    I haven’t read this one, and I’ve been put off in the past because of reviews that imply that the stories are about more sex than substance. I tend to prefer JAFF that are a little more subtle about what goes on behind the scenes. But your review makes me think I ought to at least give the first one in this series a shot.

    I like your review format. It’s easier to scan when I don’t have a lot of computer time when my toddler is grabbing at the mouse trying to make me put on Sesame Street πŸ™‚


      Hi Heather! Thank you for stopping by and sharing your thoughts! There is plenty of plot and substance in this novel (not so much in the first 1/3, but that section of the book sets the stage a little). I’m interested in hearing what you think of it, if you do happen to read it!


    I read this one when it was Bar Sinister as well and I had the same feelings you did. It was fun to encounter a book that was willing to take on my favorite couple. I still like the book, although I haven’t revisited it in many years. I wonder if my response would be as favorable if I read it after all that I’ve read since then? I still liked it and wasn’t offended by the romantic interludes. πŸ™‚

    Great review and break down of the pros and cons.


      Hello Becky! I was curious to see if I felt the same way too! It’s always interesting to see how something we loved years ago stands up after reading a bunch of other books! Thank you so much for stopping by and sharing your thoughts! It’s awesome that you read it as The Bar Sinister too! You go way back!


    This isn’t one of my favorites, but Lori makes an excellent point–love or hate it, if you were in the JAFF world when this book was published, chances are you read it. In many ways, this was the book that brought JAFF out of online websites and into the realm of published books, and for that I am grateful. The angsty plot was a bit much for me however, and the endless cycle of sex scenes got old pretty quickly.


    I completely agree with you Suzan. I definitely fall into the nay category for this one and Pamela Aiden’s series was my first JAFF love.

    I do agree with Meredith’s breakdown of the book though. There were some things I liked about it but I didn’t like where they took Jane’s story and the intimate scenes were too excessive for my taste. Great review though! Thank you πŸ™‚


    I thought that I had read this, but now I’m not certain!! I’ll have to go look. I couldn’t believe that I hadn’t heard of JAFF until I stumbled across Stephanie Barron’s series!!!!!!

    I like your review style. /s/ a new follower


    This was one of the first Austenesque books that I read and on the whole I enjoyed it; I thought it was very entertaining and readable. Kudos to Ms Berdoll for being one of the writers who put this genre on the map. Minus points for me to this book was firstly that I kept having the uncomfortable feeling that Miss Austen would be spinning in her grave at this book – I’ve largely got over this feeling when reading Austenesque books these days, so I put this down to me being new to the genre, but this is certainly not for the Austen purist. The other minus was that there was just too much sex. Darcy was like a horny dog, and I found myself wishing that Lizzy would tell him she had a headache for once! The author’s name autocorrects on my phone’s spellcheck to “bed roll” and it is entirely apt! I’m not in a hurry to read the others, but wouldn’t rule it out.

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