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A Wife for Mr. Darcy by Mary Lydon Simonsen

A Wife for Mr. Darcy by Mary Lydon Simonsen continues the slew of Pride & Prejudice spinoffs and continuations coming from Sourcebooks.  In this version, Simonsen explores what may have happened had Mr. Darcy apologized to Elizabeth Bennet after the Meryton Assembly for calling her beauty only tolerable.  Would the connection between them be as strong? Would Lizzy and Darcy cast aside their assumptions and simply enjoy one another’s company?  But what if Darcy also had been seen in the company of another young lady in London and her father had political plans following the match?  All of these questions are explored and more.

Simonsens writing is as close to Austen’s as you can get, but it is modern at the same time, with sexual intimacy talked about, but never shown explicitly.  The wit of Austen is here as well, though with a more modern sensibility.  Readers will enjoy this creative exploration of these characters, the introduction of new characters, like Sir John Montford and his daughter Letitia and Bingley’s older sister and her brood the Crenshaws.  One of the most amusing scenes in the novel is when Jane takes on the task of taming the savagery of the Crenshaw children, who are prepared to survive any apocalypse.

“‘Please.  You must say please, Master Lucius,’ Mrs. Bennet told the more compliant twin.
‘Soldiers don’t say please,’ he answered in a voice revealing just how insecure he was feeling.
‘Are you an officer or an enlisted man?’ Mr. Bennet asked.
‘An officer.’
‘Any officer in His Majesty’s Army would be regarded as a gentleman, and as such, would know the proper manners to use when dining.’
‘Well, then, I am an enlisted man,’ he said, even less sure than when he had been an officer.
‘Enlisted men follow orders,’ and after staring him in the eye, he continued, ‘or they are flogged.'” (page 119 of ARC)

Simonsen showcases Mr. Bennet’s trademark wit and knowledge in this book like no other, and he appears more frequently, which many readers will enjoy.  While certain plot points from the original are modified, there are some that remain the same or are slightly varied from their originals.  However, the scene of Darcy proposing to Lizzy at Rosings is not in this novel, and that particular exchange or the passion of that exchange will be missed by readers looking for the tension it creates.

Tension, on the other hand, is created by the introduction of another woman — though not a woman who he views with love, but merely obligation.  In this way, Simonsen has called attention to societal norms in a way that Austen would have, pointing to their shortfalls and ridiculousness.  Another interesting element of the novel is the inclusion of song lyrics, which will make readers curious as to whether those songs were from the time period or merely created for the occasion.   A Wife for Mr. Darcy is a quick read that allows readers to revisit their favorite characters, see more of Austen’s characters who were more on the sidelines in the original, and be introduced to new and interesting characters.

  • Jennifer

    When I first heard about these spinoffs, I didn’t think I would like them very much, but now I find myself gobbling them up every chance I get. This sounds like yet another fantastic piece to add to my ever growing list of even more Austen spinoffs that I want to read!

    • I honestly didn’t think that I would love them either, but then I got hooked after reading Mr. Darcy’s Diary.

  • I will be starting this book soon, and after reading your review, I can’t wait! I’ve enjoyed the few books by Simonsen I’ve read so far, so I’m sure I’m in for a treat.

    • I hope you enjoy this one. I really liked this one.

    • Mary Simonsen

      Anna, I always enjoy your reviews. Looking forward to it.

  • I just saw another review of this one and it sounds like one of the variations I wouldn’t mind reading. Nice review Serena!

    • Mary Simonsen

      Thanks for stopping by, Darlene.

  • Your review was awesome!! I just finished this one yesterday and you really hit the high notes as to why I loved it!!

    • Mary Simonsen

      Hi Stacie. Was just about to shut down my computer when an e-mail alert came in. Boy, am I glad I didn’t! I am so pleased that you enjoyed A Wife for Mr. Darcy. Now I can rest easy. 🙂

      Serena, Again my thanks for your awesome hospitality.

      • Mary, you’re always welcome here.

    • I am so glad you enjoyed this one as well. I just love all Mary’s books! At least the one’s I’ve read so far. Can’t wait to see your review.

  • I’ve heard great things about Simonsen’s books — I love the addition of another woman, so to speak, in the story — will have to look for this book now!

  • Hi Serena. Thank you for the lovely review. As far as the songs are concerned, yes, they would have been sung during that time period. Thanks again for having me on your blog. It was fun. 🙂

    Hi Kathy and Blodeuedd. Thanks for visiting. 🙂

    • I’m so glad to hear it…not that I doubted you at all. I know you do your homework! I really liked the song inclusions…those were great.

  • It sounds like Simonsen is the perfect author for Austen spin-offs.

  • I can’t wait to read this one now 🙂

  • Sounds like a good beach read for the Austen fan crowd (me!).