Dear Spouses of those Perpetually Enamored with Darcy and Elizabeth,
Buy this book for her as a Christmas present and you will be a hero. Or better yet, give it to her early because A Darcy Christmas is a delightful way to wrap one's self up warmly in holiday cheer.
Do you need more review? Really?
Because there are 3 short stories by 3 different authors within A Darcy Christmas, I will forgo my normal method of reviewing a novel. Through the 3 stories: I smiled to myself, I laughed, I teared up and actually said out loud, "Oooooh - good choice!." As a reader, those are the moments of emotion that connect me to the words. In an effort to not deprive you of those same moments - I am going to mention the stories themselves very little. Instead, I'd like to focus on the authors.
Christmas Present by Amanda Grange
I blame credit Amanda Grange for my Pride and Prejudice sequel addiction. Mr. Darcy's Diary was the first spin off book that I read. (Thank you Stacey for recommending it.) Reading this book was the closet thing to getting to experience Pride Prejudice for the first time, all over again. Grange's insight into Darcy's character and actions was truly exciting to read. My review of Mr. Darcy's Diary can be found here.
When I saw her book, Mr. Darcy, Vampire on the shelf at Barnes and Noble, I found myself coming back to it again and again....just to peek and see what it was about. (Another shopper was doing the same thing...we kept bumping into each other in front of the book shelf). Not that I was going to read such a thing, of course. Who was I kidding? I bought it and read it and...shockingly, loved it. Once again, her attention to Darcy's character made me start to wonder if Jane Austen really had a vampire in mind when she wrote P&P. I had a few questions at the end of her book about the plot, but I didn't even really care because the characterization was so good. My review of Mr. Darcy, Vampire can be found here.
In Christmas Present, some of my favorite moments were with the supporting characters. Lady Catherine's line about fatigue is one of my new favorite lines in literature. I remember being on page 160 and flipping ahead to see how many pages were left in the story. "Rats, only 10 pages more!" It was as if I was checking my watch and dreading the short time left with my dear and accomplished friends.
Mr. Darcy's Christmas Carol by Carolyn Eberhart
I figured if there was to be a weak link in the book, it would be the newcomer. As far as I know, this is Ms. Eberhart's first work. Lets just say, I hope she writes much more because I was delighted to read her version of A Christmas Carol with Darcy in the primary role. There were moments where it felt very much like Pride and Prejudice and moments where it felt very much like A Christmas Carol. But mostly, it was wonderfully snug in between these two stories. Ms. Eberhart created tension and suspense in two well know narratives by meshing them together.
Because this book is being so well received, there are many great reviews for it on the internet. A lot of them reveal a good bit of the details about Mr. Darcy's Christmas Carol. Don't read them. It is far better to learn how she crafts the story and who plays what ghost by simply reading it. (This is the one where I said out loud, "Oooooh good choice!")
And, I love it when an author treats us like smart readers. Her nod to the publication dates in the time line of the story made me feel very clever. And anyone that makes me feel clever gets extra gold stars.
And saving my favorite for last..
Mrs. Lathan has written the following books in a series:
This series was inspired by the 2005 Keira Knightly version of Pride and Prejudice...(a movie I complained through out as if I were Caroline Bingley herself). I honestly went from skeptic to genuine fan reading these books. When I describe them to someone, I characterize Mrs. Lathan as having so many wonderful moments, both big and small, in her stories. I also love the conversations between Darcy and Elizabeth.
Now, I feel like any time she mentions her current books she is working on (on the web site Austen Authors) I want to hand her a paper cup of water and tell her to get back to writing. (You see the marathon metaphor there, right? In my mind Lathan is running wearing a Regency period dress and a red white and blue head band......)
A Darcy Christmas takes the reader through 9 different Christmases. If you have read the series, there will be references to what you already know. I gobbled these instances up like little treats. There are also hints and snippets of things to come that made me very happy to read. If you have not read the series, I believe you can still enjoy this story. There may be a few people here and there whose origin could feel unclear. However, that should be temporary because you will want to read the series next.
This is the short story that made me happily misty eyed. (I don't do "sadly misty eyed" inducing books)
My husband saw me drawing out a family tree of the characters and relationships (both known from the series and newly revealed in this story) on legal paper and asked if I was making chart of the book. I was like, "Um, of course not. I mean, who does that....?" Apparently, I do.
(I do get asked a lot about the amorus scenes in books I review. As with Mrs. Lathan's series, there is a bit of that. However, as this is a short story, what may be a few pages in her novels becomes a few lines in A Darcy Christmas)
The thing that ties all three stories together so well is the fact that the authors are such fans of Pride and Prejudice. Their thoughtfull characterization brings together 3 very different stories with varying realities quite nicely.
So buy the book and wrap it up with brown paper and string.
It is sure to be one of her favorite things.
(I couldn't resist)