Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Mr. Darcy’s Obsession by Abigail Reynolds

Mr. Darcy’s Obsession is a fascinating look at “what-if” scenario in which Mr. Bennet has passed away before Mr. Darcy ever had a chance to propose to Elizabeth Bennet at Rosings. As Mrs. Bennet had always feared, with the death of Mr. Bennet, the Bennet family is cast out of Longbourn by Mr. Collins and his wife Charlotte. Jane is forced to marry a tradesman to ensure her family’s welfare, and Elizabeth moves to London to live with Aunt and Uncle Gardiner as a governess to their children.

After a chance meeting at a park, Mr. Darcy finds himself obsessed with Elizabeth Bennet. He finds himself returning to the park each morning just for a chance to spend time with her. She is doubly unsuitable for him now with her father’s death, but what is suitable? Mr. Darcy finds himself in a crisis where he starts to question the social order of the day. What makes a rich man that is part of the “ton” any better than a storekeeper? What makes a rich society lady any better than a pretty girl with a lively wit that has fallen on hard times?

Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth have a misunderstanding, but they both find themselves falling in love. Will they challenge the social order of the day to have a happy ending?

I loved Mr. Darcy’s Obsession. I thought the premise was very unique and I thought it was a great look at what could have happened had Mr. Bennet met an untimely end. I loved the romance between Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth. I love how Elizabeth was able to challenge Darcy’s rigid social beliefs, and I love how she also seemed to light a fire within Darcy.

Ms. Reynolds was able to write a great Pride and Prejudice variation story that stayed very true to the original characters, yet introduced some great new characters. It turns out that Mr. Darcy’s family, although wealthy, has plenty of eccentrics of its own to compete with Mrs. Bennet, Lydia, and Mr. Collins. My favorite new relation was Darcy’s outspoken Aunt Augusta. There is nothing that Aunt Augusta wouldn’t do to torment Darcy’s Uncle, Lord Derby, a jilted suitor from her past and Colonel Fitzwilliam’s father. Lord Derby is all about family honor by marrying a great lady and keeping a mistress or two on the side. He is definitely not pleased by the prospect of Darcy or anyone in the family marrying for love.

I also enjoyed the discussion of sex in the regency era. While the novel does not have any steamy scenes, only sweet love scenes, it does discuss the inequality of men and women of the era. Women who found themselves in a certain delicate condition were either completely cast off or were able to hide it, adopt their child out, and pretend that nothing happened. Men on the other hand were expected to have a mistress or two or to dally with the servants, and this was not considered improper. While Jane Austen hinted at this in her novels, Ms. Reynolds is able to focus on it further in Mr. Darcy’s Obsession.

Overall, Mr. Darcy’s Obsession is an exciting, well developed, and romantic novel that stays true to Austen’s characters, while being a fantastic unique story of its own. I found myself wanting more to the story when I finished the novel and was excited to read that Ms. Reynolds is working on a follow up novel.

Please join me on Monday October 4th for an author interview with Abigail Reynolds. I am excited to learn more about Mr. Darcy’s Obsession from the author herself!

Mr. Darcy’s Obsession is my fourth item for the Everything Austen Challenge II.

This novel will be released on October 1, 2010.

Book Source: Advance Review Copy from Sourcebooks. Thank-you!


  1. You're doing so well with this challenge! I've just finished one item... *feels guilty*

    This novel sounds interesting...I like the idea of the family going off the rails and nothing turning out as it should. I mean, I don't 'like' it, but it sounds fresh.

  2. Another great review, Laura. This book sounds excellent! I look forward to your author interview with Abigail Reynolds.

  3. I like sequels and this sounds just great. Thank you for this review.

  4. Ooh, I really like the sound of this novel! And a sequel too... wonderful! I am going to go add it to my ever growing wish list :) Thanks so much for the review!

  5. Thanks for the review... this one is on my "to read" list!

  6. Great review! I'll be reading this one soon, and I can't wait. I really enjoy Reynolds' takes on P&P.