Feb 272012

Anxiety and Acceptance

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Source: Review Copy form Publisher

We’ve seen Darcy as a judge and Elizabeth as an attorney (The Trials of the Honorable F. Darcy), Darcy as a politician’s son and Elizabeth as a marine biologist (Pemberley By the Sea), and both of these iconic and beloved characters as rock stars (Fitzwilliam Darcy, Rock Star); but this is the first time we have ever seen a modern-day Fitzwilliam Darcy that suffers from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and a modern-day Elizabeth that is a volunteer infectious disease specialist in Vietnam! Sounds intriguing, doesn’t it? In this absorbing and originative debut novel, author Nina Benneton brings the characters of Pride and Prejudice to two dimensions they have never been before: Southeast Asia and hospitals!

Readers will find this Darcy to be a bit less proud and haughty than normal, but because of his debilitating compulsive tendencies, his need to control his surroundings is heightened. And this modern-day Elizabeth may not have such an averse and prejudiced view of Darcy when she meets him, but just like her Regency counterpart, she makes quick snap judgments about him, which lead to some pretty hysterical misconceptions!

I just love modern-day Darcy and Elizabeth stories where they are so fiercely in love with each other! And this tale illustrates an intense and beautifully tender romance between our favorite hero and heroine. I was endeared by Darcy’s insecurities about his neuroses and eccentric behavior. And I liked the ironic twist of him having a profound dislike and mistrust of doctors! In addition, I found Elizabeth’s misapprehensions about Darcy to be hilarious – she actually assumes Darcy to be Bingley’s life partner! And I appreciated the fact that she was still a virgin at twenty-eight – that’s something you don’t see a lot of nowadays. But what I loved most about this Elizabeth was her complete acceptance and unconditional love for Darcy. It truly was inspiring.

Similar to other modern-day retellings, Compulsively Mr. Darcy is very much a Darcy and Elizabeth story. Meaning the bulk of the novel is about Darcy and Elizabeth. But this novel has a fantastic cast of supporting characters that are refreshingly divergent and well-crafted. Instead of spouting sermons and practicing piano, Mary Bennet is a hardcore environmentalist and a genius with computers. And Lydia, although she is still impetuous and immature, she’s a bit more sensible and less self-centered, which is a wonderful improvement! Moreover, Wickham, although he is a nefarious scoundrel, isn’t the main villain of the story… he’s just one of their minions!

Because many of the characters are altered and the story takes place during modern times, a lot of the famous scenes from Pride and Prejudice either don’t take place or are cunningly transformed. There are so many well-written and deliciously romantic scenes that I have been compulsivelyrereading them! Some of my favorites include: Darcy’s doctor appointment with Elizabeth, Elizabeth’s admission of love to Darcy, their first night together, and the night before Caroline Bingley’s wedding! Written with clever wit and bold ingenuity this modern-day retelling or Pride and Prejudice is sure to make readers sigh, swoon, laugh, and applaud! I highly recommend!

Note: Due to several intimate and romantic scenes in this novel, I’d recommend this book for Mature Audiences only.