What Would Mr. Darcy Do? by Abigail Reynolds

What Would Mr. Darcy Do? by Abigail Reynolds is another variation of Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice.  In this version, Elizabeth and Darcy have an opportunity to express their feelings following her surprise tour of the Pemberley grounds at Lambton just before the news of Lydia’s elopement reaches Elizabeth.  The story begins months after her refusal of Darcy’s proposal at Hunsford, and the plot follows along much of the original story, with stolen kisses and embraces, as well as secret letters.

“Dear Miss Bennet,

It is always a pleasure to hear from you, but I must admit the arrival of your letters is becoming quite a source of entertainment in itself.  My brother thinks I do not notice how he watches for the post now, but how could I miss the way he hovers in an agony of suspense over me when I read your letters until I finally take pity on him and allow him to read for himself, and then he spends no less than half an hour admiring your letter, for it cannot possibly take him so long to read it!”  (page 46 of ARC)

No new characters are introduced, but Reynolds does provide us with a version of Georgiana Darcy that is not seen in the original novel.  She opens up to Lizzy and becomes less reserved once she’s around girls her own age.  However, will the changes in Georgiana be welcome to Darcy or run contrary to his expectations?  And how will this new Georgiana impact Lizzy and Darcy’s relationship?

Unlike the Lizzy in Austen’s novel, Reynold’s Lizzy is more cautious in her assessments of Darcy and his behavior as she realizes her prejudices and misjudgments nearly cost her a love she never knew she had.  Darcy also is more cautious in his dealings with Lizzy.  Readers, however, will be happy to know that each is still impetuous when it comes to one another and their passion.  This is where the novel deviates into a more modern sensibility as Lizzy and Darcy share a few intimate moments — some of which get them into trouble and others that leave them breathless.

Beyond the intimacies of Darcy and Elizabeth and their budding relationship, readers also get a glimpse into Lizzy’s character, particularly how her wit helps her keep an adequate distance from friends and acquaintances and enables her to disengage quickly from distasteful relationships and situations.  Overall, What Would Mr. Darcy Do? by Abigail Reynolds is a delightful escape into Austen’s world with her beloved characters.