Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Source: Review Copy from Publisher
In A Most Handsome Gentleman, author Suzan Lauder shines a spotlight of the boorish and ridiculous Mr. Collins…and by “shines a spotlight” I mean she gives him an incredible make over…and now he is gorgeous (ahem. On the outside.) With his tall height, broad shoulders, perfect physique, appealing features, and graceful comportment, Mr. Collins’s physical attributes are more arresting than any other male characters’ in Pride and Prejudice. And doesn’t he know it! Mr. Collins was full of pompous conceit before, but now since he über attractive he acts like he is God’s gift to humanity. *rolls eyes*
While the whole of Meryton and Elizabeth’s family are entranced by Mr. Collins’ startling and alluring good looks, the charm of his outward beauty begins to fade on Elizabeth Bennet as she hears more and more of the arrogant and narcissistic nonsense he spouts. His elevated opinions of himself, his social standing, and his prospects, leads Mr. Collins to stubbornly insist on pursuing his settled choice of Jane Bennet as his future bride, even after Mrs. Bennet gentle tries to divert his attentions elsewhere. What will Mr. Bingley say?
What a cheeky and playful comedy of errors! I loved the HOT Collins twist in this premise. Even though the package is more enticing on the outside, this Mr. Collins is all the more rude and insulting so he didn’t rise in my estimation at all (but I don’t really think he was supposed to). With Mr. Collins as one of the central characters of this tale, he was more prominently featured. And so were his pompous speeches, which while hilarious and infuriating sometimes felt repetitive. But Darcy fans need not fear, Mr. Darcy gets plenty of page-time in the second half of the book, and he is everything that is adorable and admirable!
I loved seeing Mr. Bingley face a little bit of competition for Jane in this variation, and it might be a slight spoiler for me to say (but I will anyway) that his actions made me proud! #TeamBingley Another element of the story I greatly enjoyed was the altered dynamic between Darcy and Elizabeth. Elizabeth is very aware of Mr. Darcy’s attractive physique and features, and I like that she is noticing and counting the times she can make Mr. Darcy display his illusive smile. It was sweet to see Darcy and Elizabeth begin to understand each other earlier on in the story.
In this story there is a lot of focus on appearance and how a person’s physical appearance can alter the behaviors and opinions of others. Ms. Lauder compliments this focus by providing detailed and vivid descriptions of each character’s appearance – their physical attributes and their attire. I enjoyed seeing the detailed descriptions of each characters attire including what articles of clothing worn, the color, and type of fabric. It made it so easy to picture these characters in my mind. I know Regency clothing is a passion and interest of the author, so this was a very clever and fitting way to share her extensive knowledge on the subject.
It delighted me to see Darcy and Elizabeth and all the beloved characters from Pride and Prejudice in this farcical romp by Suzan Lauder! This diverting novella is a wonderful choice for readers looking for a merry and light read! 😉