First Entry for Everything Austen Challenge

Yes, that’s right.  It’s the first day of the challenge and I’m logging in my first entry.  Okay, I technically finished two days ago but I thought I’d wait for the official start to the challenge.  I just couldn’t wait!

I read an ARC of Loving Mr. Darcy by Sharon Lathan.  The book is due out in September, 2009.  I picked it up at BEA 2009 because I just can’t pass up anything Austen-related.

Six months into his marriage to Elizabeth Bennet, Darcy is still awestruck by his beautiful wife and their unparalleled love and passion.  For Darcy, each day offers more opportunities to surprise and delight his beloved wife.

Elizabeth has quickly adapted to being the Mistress of Pemberley, charming everyone she meets and handling her duties with grace and poise.  Just when it seems life can’t get any better, Elizabeth gets the most wonderful news.

This book is different from the Austen “sequels” I’ve read.  It reads more like a Harrlequin romance novel.  Elizabeth and Darcy are quite amorous and their are love scenes every few pages.  And, while a few were well done, I found most of the loving lacking.  Maybe it was just too much.  A few well-placed scenes are always appreciated, but too many just kill the tension!  I think this book suffers from too much of a good thing.

The story covers a few months in the Darcys’ marriage after the couple hear they are expecting.  The Darcys go to London for part of the season and to introduce Elizabeth to the ton.  There are many characters during this time.  It was helpful that the author provided a “cast of characters” at the beginning of the book to identify them all.  After the season, the Darcys travel some through the county.

Throughout the story, the author refers to an illness Elizabeth suffers after Darcy is in a duel.  Yet, they never give the details of this “mysterious” event.  This wasn’t in P&P and I just don’t remember, was it?  I kept waiting for the author to reveal the information, but she never did.

The couple does face one  hardship near the end of the novel that I won’t describe here.  There is some foreshadowing of the event in the novel.  The author does write this part well and I was sitting on the edge of my seat during the episode.

The ending of the novel is a little disappointing.  We never make it to the birth of the baby.  Was it a girl or a boy like they assumed?  Was Darcy still as helpful and involved after the baby arrives?  So many questions that were never addressed.

As for Darcy,  he’s a different man since marrying Elizabeth.  I think he’s a little too different.  We see very brief glimpses of the Darcy of P&P, but instead some lovesick man.  It was just a little over the top.

Over all, I’m not sure I’d recommend this one for you Austen fans out there.  But, if you love a lusty romance, definitely pick this one up.

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11 responses to “First Entry for Everything Austen Challenge

  1. Doesn’t sound like a great read. If you haven’t already done so, check out The Darcys and the Bingleys by Marsha Altman (I’ve got a copy if you want to borrow it). I really enjoyed her writing style.

  2. Sounds to me like Linda Berlott’s Mr. Darcy takes a Wife. That had the same problem of too many ‘romantic’ scenes.

  3. You are so on the ball! I am doing this challenge to, but I have to catch up on some stuff first! BTW you can do the GAME ON diet by yourself, in teams or just against one person!

  4. This is the second book in a trilogy I believe, which is why that piece might have been missing for you. I have this one too, not realizing that there was a previous book and I have been debating whether to read the other one first but maybe not so much.

  5. thanks for the review. i don’t think this one is for me. part of the reason i love p&p is more for the wordplay than the actual lusty scenes.

  6. I agree about the whole tension thing. Too much just kills it. I worry when characters change so much; I’m not sure why. Sounds like this is definitely one story I’ll be passing on.

    Points to you, though, for starting the challenge strong!

  7. I am not sure if I want to read sequels but by what you have reviewed I guess this book doesn’t suit my preference. I liked Pride and Prejudice and would wish to keep the characters just as Jane Austen wrote them. They are better that way for me. 🙂

  8. Someone else here already mentioned it, but this is the second in a series. I really liked these books, but had to get part way into the first book to lose my prejudice over what I thought should happen between these iconic characters. The first book might set the stage a bit better than jumping into the second? I honestly think the second is bridging the gap between the first and a third that is coming out this fall.

  9. Good to know…. never been a Harlequin reader and dont really enjoy over the top romance.

    Thanks!

  10. I read the first one, Two Shall Become One (I think that’s the name of it), and I thought the sex and lovey-doviness was a bit overdone. Not sure if I’ll read this one. Elizabeth’s illness and the duel come at the end of the first book. Thanks for the review!

  11. I read the first in this series. I liked it, but I had many of the same issues with it that you mention in this review. I have Loving Mr. Darcy on my radar, but after your review, I’m not sure I’m ready to dive back into this version of P&P

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