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The Perfect Bride for Mr. Darcy by Mary Lydon Simonsen

Mary Lydon Simonsen‘s The Perfect Bride for Mr. Darcy re-imagines Pride & Prejudice in such a way that Darcy and Elizabeth cannot get past their misunderstandings and disagreements without a little help from two matchmakers — Georgiana Darcy and Anne de Bourgh.  Anne takes the reins for much of the book after she learns her cousin Darcy has proposed marriage to Elizabeth at Rosings and failed miserably at gaining her hand and love.

The main plot points of Lizzy’s visit to Pemberley, Lydia’s downfall with Wickham, and Lady Catherine de Bourgh’s visit to Hertfordshire are all present, but Anne helps convince Lizzy to visit Pemberley and prompts her mother to visit Hertfordshire.  Georgiana is a secondary matchmaker in this novel, but she’s witty and grows into her role as mistress of Pemberley by ensuring her guests are comfortable and do not annoy one another, especially since Caroline Bingley and Elizabeth are in the same room vying for the same man’s affections.

“And, yet, Anne was saying that Mr. Darcy went with his sister to the milliner’s shop.  Lizzy could just picture him, crossing and uncrossing his legs, and drumming his fingers on top of his hat, when he was not pacing the floor.”  (page 56)

Simonsen has sketched a strong Anne and Georgiana, women who are more modern than convention dictates, but who are well aware of society’s expectations for their behavior.  Georgiana is about to come out into society when things go awry in the Bennet family, but she unselfishly tells her brother to right the wrongs and go to his love to ease her pain.  Unlike Austen’s minimal sketch of Georgiana as a beloved sister, Simonsen creates a strong young woman with romantic notions and a penchant for writing.

Not to worry because Jane and Mr. Bingley’s romance is not forgotten, but there is more than one obstacle thrown in their way after Bingley is convinced by Darcy and the Bingley sisters to cease his courtship of Jane.  Enter Mr. Nesbitt, a solicitor with a odd sense of courtship and love.  This subplot is delightful, serves to increase the suspense in the Darcy-Lizzy romance, and is full of twists and turns.

“While Mary was croaking out a lullaby, the youngster had put his hands over his cousin’s mouth and had asked her not to sing.  Everyone in the family now owed a debt of gratitude to a four-year-old boy.”  (page 161)

“‘I am not angry with either of you.  I am, however, a little disconcerted that you embarked on such an elaborate scheme after I told you I already had a plan in place.’

‘Your plan was terrible.  I have saved you weeks of anxiety about Elizabeth.  You must own to it, Will.  My plan was better than yours.”  (page 204)

The Perfect Bride for Mr. Darcy by Mary Lydon Simonsen is engaging and funny.  The interactions between Anne and Darcy are often filled with playful jabs between cousin, and the dialogue between Jane and Lizzy are not only sisterly but full of sweet teasing.  Another fun re-imagining of Pride & Prejudice that delves deeper into the secondary characters of Austen’s novel.

If you missed Mary Lydon Simonsen’s guest post and the chance to win one of two copies of The Perfect Bride for Mr. Darcy, there’s still time to check them out.

About the Author:

Mary Lydon Simonsen’s first book, Searching for Pemberley, was acclaimed by Booklist, Publishers Weekly, and RT Book Reviews. She is well loved and widely followed on all the Jane Austen fanfic sites, with tens of thousands of hits and hundreds of reviews whenever she posts. She lives in Peoria, Arizona where she is working on her next Jane Austen novel. For more information, please visit http://marysimonsenfanfiction.blogspot.com/ and http://www.austenauthors.com/, where she regularly contributes.