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Mr. Darcy Takes the Plunge by J. Marie Croft

J. Marie Croft’s Mr. Darcy Takes the Plunge is filled with alliteration, puns, and word play, which can take away from the unique story she’s attempting to tell.  While plays on words and puns can be amusing, there are entire paragraphs and sections of alliteration that take away from the pace of the novel, such as one scene between Darcy and Lizzy viewing an art exhibit.

“Elizabeth was preoccupied with attempting to espy a certain gentleman and said, ‘Yes, but fashion is something that goes in one era and out the other.'” (page 141 of ARC)

Rather than have Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy meet at a ball in Hertfordshire, they meet at the Pemberley estate when her aunt brings her to visit an old friend Mrs. Reynolds, the Darcy’s housekeeper.  Jane meets Bingley and Colonel Fitzwilliam, and there is a new man on the scene for Georgiana — Ellis Fleming.  How they meet is unconventional to say the least and a bit embarrassing for each of the men, though it does raise the sexual tension beyond the norm of other Pride & Prejudice spinoffs or retelllings.

“‘Jane, why does it feel like the most beautiful woman in the world is in my arms?’  Good God Almighty, please, please tell me I did not just repeat that inanity aloud.

‘You are not allowed to address me in such a familiar manner, sir.  You are far too forward.  Are you, perchance, a trifle disguised, Colonel?’

‘I am not drunk, dear lady, just intoxicated by you.’  He winced slightly.  Oh God, I am a Colonel of corn!”  (page 165 of ARC)

Croft’s inspiration is clearly the 1995 BBC movie version with its infamous lake scene, but it’s twisted to display a sillier side of Austen’s characters.  However, what is most captivating about this version of the story is that the Bennet household is not as lowly or poor as it was in the original, and there is an heir to their estate.  The obstacles to Darcy and Elizabeth are not wealth and position, but misunderstandings, other suitors, and the hurdles most relationships have.

Readers that dislike puns, extensive alliteration, and wordplay on a nearly constant basis should avoid reading Mr. Darcy Takes the Plunge.  Rather than confine the puns to Mr. Bennet where they could be considered a part of his personality and occasionally allowing Lizzy to use them since she is most like him, Croft drags the trait into even the upper echelons of society with the Darcys.  Taken all at once, the wordplay also can take away from the story Croft is telling, and the introductions to each part of the novel still incite head scratching.  Unfortunately, the puns and world play seem overdone and detract from the more creative aspects of the novel.  However, if unique takes on Jane Austen’s characters and alternative story lines are welcome, even when liberties are taken with the characters, Croft’s novel is for you.

About the Author: (from Rhemalda Publishing)

J. Marie Croft, a Nova Scotia resident and avid reader all her life, discovered Jane Austen’s works later than others but made up for lost time by devouring the six novels and as many adaptations and sequels as she could find. In the midst of reading prodigious amounts of Austen-based fan-fiction, she realized, “Hey, I can do that.” In her spare time, when not working at a music school or on a wooded trail enjoying her geocaching hobby, she listens to the voices in her head and captures their thoughts and words in writing. Her stories are light-hearted; and her motto is Miss Austen’s own quote, “Let other pens dwell on guilt and misery.”

J. Marie Croft is a member of the Jane Austen Society of North America (Canada) and admits to being “excessively attentive” to the 1995 BBC version of Pride and Prejudice.

This is my 10th book for the Jane Austen Challenge 2010.

This is my 6th book for the Everything Austen II Challenge.

This is my 52nd book for the 2010 New Authors Reading Challenge.

  • Thank you! I wasn’t that crazy about this one but I felt I was in the minority because so many people have raved about it. I’m glad someone felt the same way I did. I was confused by the chapter/part titles too. And I agree with you that the puns took away from the actual story.
    Meredith (Austenesque Reviews)´s last blog post ..The 2010 Austenesque Reviews End of Year Summary and Awards!

    • I had heard good reviews of this one too. I like puns, but this was a bit overboard.

  • vvb

    sounds like a fun one with the word-play. i liked the trailer too.
    vvb´s last blog post ..Giveaway- Out of Time

  • Romance Movies

    Great review! It sounds like an interesting idea, but I am not sure how well it would work for a whole novel. It might have worked better as a short story. Though the story presented in the novel is interesting and I probably still will read it just to see how it all flows together. Thanks!

  • I think I will pass on this one! Your review was wonderfully written!!

  • I think puns and word play can be fun when not overdone. I’ll still give this one a try, though.
    Anna´s last blog post ..Review- Heidegger’s Glasses by Thaisa Frank