Darcy and Elizabeth is the sequel to Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife which is a sequel to Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. It is the final piece of my favorite follow up to P&P which makes this the last portion of a great Darcy and Elizabeth trilogy. It is the Return of the Jedi in Austen.
Summary from the back of the book: "...As the Darcys raise their babies, enjoy their conjugal felicity and manage the great estate of Pemberley, the beloved characters from Jane Austen's original are joined by Linda Berdoll's imaginative new creations for a compelling, sexy and epic story guaranteed to keep you turning the pages and gasping with delight."
My review of Linda Berdoll's first book, Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife, is here. Seeing as how I do not like redundancy at all in literature, I suggest you read it first. This review will not do justice to Berdoll's great language and characterization that I spoke about quite extensively in that review. Go ahead. We'll wait.
I found Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife to be a fantastic book. Darcy and Elizabeth is very good. Very Good following Fantastic feels like a let down. But you have to read it anyway because, well, it is very good. And Berdoll starts you on a path, that for those who like it, want to continue on.
Revisit vs. Rehash: D
Nit Picky Things: A
Wonderful Moments: A
Language: Linda Berdoll's writing style and language appeal to me greatly. Her work feels like parts 2 and 3 to Austen's.
Characterization: Berdoll said she was inspired by the 1995 BBC / A&E Pride and Prejudice movie. (Which is the definitive movie version for me.) The characters (new and old) felt like they would have blended well with that cast.
Plot: Ok, here is where things go from fantastic to just good. Berdoll took 4 years to research and write her first book. She wraps up the loose ends very well at the end of Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife. We find out what will happen to some of the main characters in the coming years. Her second book, Darcy and Elizabeth, was on the shelves just 2 years later. This book goes back and retells what happened to some of those same characters in more detail. It not only retells you things you already learned at the end of the first book, it retells you events from Pride and Prejudice as well. It really made for a stagnate plot at times.
Here is my theory: An editor told Berdoll that she had to remind the readers about these things. I want to blame an editor because it is a big departure from the swift pace of things in her first book. But really, if you think of this a trilogy, then who read the third book without reading the first two? If someone leaned over to you during the opening of Return of the Jedi and said, "So who is this Luke guy again?" You'd say get out of here! (Or, "I am not the person you are looking for" with a smooth Jedi mind hand sweep.)
Like Jane Austen, Berdoll uses chance meetings and a small band of characters. And like reading Austen, one might think that there are 20 people and a few background players in the whole of England. But really, those 20 (and 2 in particular) are the ones you want to read about.
Rehash or Revisit: Not to repeat myself, but I really can't stand rehash:) I think that every sequel or trilogy series should start with a disclaimer: Read the first book first. Read the second book second. Read them in order. It will make more sense. Trust us.
Nit Picky Things: Just that one big one.
Wonderful Little Moments: Really, all over the place. The humor is delightful. And the last line is great. It made me smile the rest of the day just thinking about it.
Originality: Berdoll is the best at letting us peak peak into Darcy and Elizabeth's future. And she makes us want more.
Redundancy aside, it is a very good book. It is full of the same eyebrow raising marital passion, gallantry, manners and delicious vocabulary as Berdoll's first book.
If this book were a movie - It would absolutely be rated "R" due to marital passions and references to indiscretions.
If you have read this book - I put some questions about it in the comments. Let me know what you think:)