Summary from the back of the book: "...And every woman will fall madly in love with Mr. Darcy - tall, dark and handsome, a nobleman and a heartthrob whose virility is matched only by his utter devotion to his wife. Their passion is consuming and idyllic - essentially, they can't keep their hands off each other - through a sweeping tale of adventure and misadventure, human folly and numerous mysteries of parentage. Hold onto your bonnets! This sexy, epic, hilarious, poignant and romantic sequel to Pride and Prejudice goes far beyond Jane Austen."
This was the first sequel I ever read and my favorite. To me, this is what really happens to Elizabeth and Darcy. It has great language, plot and characterization...I usually am happy if I can get 2 of the 3. It has been called "Jane Austen meets Dallas"...as if that is a bad thing. It begins with a criticism from Charlotte Bronte: "Passions are perfectly unknown to [Jane Austen] her." Well, Mrs. Berdoll is very well informed about them. Consider yourself warned.
Revisit vs. Rehash: A+
Nit picky things: A
Wonderful moments: A+
Language: I loved not only the language but the way Linda Berdoll wrote this book. There is a lot of plot movement through dialogue - which I enjoy because I experience the action with the characters.
I also like the way she used long, flowing sentences and then short ones. It makes the reading so much easier and more enjoyable for me. Many times a paragraph ended with a 1 word sentence which felt reminiscent of Austen's sardonic flavor. (Yes, I said it made the reading easier. I don't mind working for a story, but I find it more enjoyable if the whole thing doesn't feel like work.)
There were plenty of words I didn't know. Several people who reviewed this book at Amazon.com said Berdoll used words incorrectly. Well, I am a clever girl and I didn't see it. I do, however, give writers a bit of space on pushing words to the edges of their meanings. Any that I looked up didn't strike me as incorrectly used.
Characterization: Linda Berdoll said she was inspired by the
1995 BBC/A&E Pride and Prejudice movie.(Which is the definitive movie version for me.) Then she did 4 years of research before writing. Her characters feel like the originals, to me, with more back story. The heroes are heroic. The villains are villainous. And Mrs. Bennet is Mrs. Bennetie. Happy thoughts indeed.
One thing that some readers may not like: By giving the characters more of a history (along with a more specific future) some Jane purists might find offense at the less than fairy tale morality attributed to several of the beloved characters. I have to say, I am pretty conservative in nature and victorian (to a point) in wardrobe. I wasn't offended because Berdoll never tries to give the characters new actions without consequences. And really, Jane purists are not going to like this book anyway.
Plot: Yes, this IS the book with all the sex in it. (Mr. & Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy...actually has more of it and it is talked about for pages in a Harlequin Romance type of way.) This book doesn't go on and on about it. It just happens a lot. But Berdoll tells the reader at the beginning what she is going for. The back says hold onto you bonnets. They are married. And you were warned. In your face, Charlotte Bronte.
Berdoll utilizes all 465 pages to tell a big story. A lot happens. Several detailed side stories are created. Austen has been criticized for being too coincidental and using such a small cast of characters. I say: so. Berdoll utilizes these mechanisms to carefully weave these side stories into the main one.
There was one night I read until 4 am because I just had to know what was going to happen next. It felt believable, gratifying and heart wrenching at times. Just what a big story should feel like.
The short chapters make it easy to read in small bits (which is great for me...I am almost always interrupted by someone needing something.) Also, the chapters sometimes go forwards in time and sometimes go back. Often they tell something you already know about from another character's point of view. I wouldn't normally think that is a good thing - but it worked well for me. Maybe it is because I have such a short attention span.
Rehash or revisit: No rehashes of the original Pride and Prejudice. Scenes are referred to that previously happened, but with new information. I can not say the same for Berdoll's next book that feels like it is all a big rehash, Days and Nights at Pemberley.
I was hooked by: I was hooked on the first page.
Nit picky things: Chapter 77 wasn't my favorite. It belabored a point I accepted but simply didn't want to hear any more about.
I really didn't get the poem and the character selection for who got the attention of the last paragraph. I understand it. But really? Is that the best way to end the book? Unless you are planning another one. And she did publish a much lesser quality book, Days and Nights at Pemberley, 2 years later.
Wonderful little moments: The humor. The writing style..I really like those one word sentences. The timing of information. The tasseled pillow. The letter from Charlotte Lucas to Elizabeth. Seriously, very very funny.
Originality: I have yet to read any sequel that expands the story as much as this book does. There are moments in other books that actually feel like watered down scenes from this one. Complain as they do, it appears some other authors have read this book quite thoroughly.
If it is ok for people to write about Zombies and Vampires within the Pride and Prejudice story, I just find it hard to see how so many people have trouble with the Darcy's having a passionate marriage. (I do recognize that not everyone wants to read about it). If you are still not sure about this book - spend about 30 minutes at Barnes and Noble. Scan the first 21 pages. I think most of the issues surface within those pages that may be a turn off. It is popular enough that our Barnes and Noble keeps it stocked. And yes, it is just a few shoulder pads and a bit of hairspray short of being Dallas. Joan Collins as Lady Catherine deBourgh? I am all anticipation.
I do my best to describe the book without spoiling it.
Don't read the amazon.com reviews unless you
want to know what is going to happen. They are full
of spoilers. If you have read this book and would like
to discuss it at all, see the post below this one.
If this book were a movie - It absolutely would be a R due to references about marital passion and talk about indiscretions.
Next week: Days and Nights at Pemberly by Linda Berdoll.