Mr. & Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy: Two Shall Become One, by Sharon Lathan – A Review

Mr. & Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy: Two Shall Become One, by Sharon Lathan (2009)Anyone who has seen the 2005 movie adaptation Pride & Prejudice and been moved by the final scenes when Mr. Darcy proclaims to Elizabeth that she has “bewitched him body and soul” will immediately connect with this book. In Mr.& Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy: Two Shall Become One, author Sharon Lathan has reverently followed the tone of Deborah Moggach’s screenplay and Joe Wright’s direction to continue the impassioned story of the Darcy’s life after the nuptials. Is this Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice after the marriage? NO! Is this one person’s interpretation of the ultimate Darcy and Elizabeth fangirl fantasy? YES! 

In the author’s foreword Ms. Lathan attempts to disarm reproof right out of the gate. She had not read the original novel prior to her first movie viewing and was not influenced by it when she began writing her fan fiction which ostensibly became this novel. Her inspiration was solely based on the romanticized movie adaptation and her personal reaction to it. Therefore it is not unreasonable to review this book based on what it actual is: a sequel, inspired by a movie adaptation, loosely based on a novel. 

The wedding is finally over and Mr. Darcy is relieved to be past all the constant pressure of wedding plans and family arrangements to be with his beloved Elizabeth. To get to this point, they both had to overcome some serious obstacles of vanity and misunderstandings impeding their romance before they realized that they were in love and destined to be together. Elizabeth is also pleased and thankful that her husband has planned a quick retreat from the Netherfield wedding reception to a coaching Inn where they will stay the first two days and nights of their married life together. Here we witness their first innocent and unsure moments alone as newlyweds. Next they are off to Pemberley where Elizabeth’s first experiences as Mistress are intimidating, but Darcy and Mrs. Reynolds are there to support her. Her first family event in her new capacity will be a Christmas gathering, which will included Darcy’s younger sister Georgiana, his cousin Colonel Fitzwilliam and his aunt and uncle Lord and Lady Matlock among others. She is also introduced to the local gentry at a Twelfth Night Masquerade Ball where she meets the Marquis of Orman who admires her beauty and spirit far too intently. Not wanting to reveal everything, I can allude to the expectation of a young olive-branch, and a sword duel before the novel concludes. 

In addition to experiencing Lizzy and Darcy’s first months as newlyweds at Pemberley, Lathan gives us a descriptive glimpse of Regency life managing a grand estate including a palatial manor house with acres of rooms, an army of servants, stables, extensive grounds, and a county of farmland. However, this is merely window dressing to the real heart and soul of this novel which consumes about two-thirds of the narrative; Darcy and Lizzy’s passion, devotion and abiding love. Yep! This is definitely a romance novel of the first order. Lathan is quite generous with her intimate descriptions devoting entire chapters to one night. After about the 20th go round, I turned the shag counter off and just hunted for the plot, which pretty much did not arrive until about 125 pages in. Even after other characters arrive on the scene, we are never in any doubt of the Darcy’s rapturous affection for one another. As a writer, I could see Lathan’s style improve and develop as the novel progressed. She smoothly supplies us with all the elements of the ultimate female fantasy – marry Mr. Darcy the definitive literary romantic icon who proceeds to billet you out in high style, shower you with expensive gifts and sentimental trinkets, clothe you in opulent fashions, supply you with more pin money than your grasping ma’ma could ever hope for, and worship you beyond all reason whilst making love all over the place. Swoon! That’s great if you’re trying to be the next Julie Garwood or Jude Deveraux, but this is Darcy and Lizzy, sacred ground, and even if author Linda Berdoll has straddled that precipice all the way to the bank, do we really need a successor? 

If you read Pride and Prejudice before you saw the 2005 movie and cringed over the American ending, then this novel might not be for you. If you enjoy enthusiastic romance passionately written featuring the indefatigable Mr. Darcy and his wife, then “I would by no means suspend any pleasure of yours“! 

Laurel Ann

3 out of 5 Regency Stars 

Mr. & Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy: Two Shall Become One, by Sharon Lathan
Sourcebooks Landmark, Naperville, IL (2009)
Trade paperback (295) pages
ISBN: 978-1402215230

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23 thoughts on “Mr. & Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy: Two Shall Become One, by Sharon Lathan – A Review

  1. Thanks for the honest review!

    In fear of striking up a controversial subject about a novel which reflects Linda Berdoll’s style and matter, I shall hold my tongue and not say another word!

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  2. I try not to read other people’s sequels if I can help it because I know I might be influenced by their writing but I’m very curious about this one. I think there is plenty of room in this genre for many different approaches and what I love is that the authors who write them do so out of real passion either for the books themselves, the adaptations or both.
    That’s a gorgeous cover!

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  3. This book to me was rather pedestrian, amateurish writing and the love scenes redundant. I felt this a poor imitation of Berdoll’s romance novel. And this coming from one who loved, loved, loved Joe Wright’s film and Matthew Macfadyen’s interpretation of Darcy. This book lacked sustenance. But glad that others found Lathan’s book enjoyable. I’m just not one of them.

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  4. According to Amazon.com this was published in 2006/07 and the reviews there are not good! Your view is more positive but I’m not sure what review is the more accurate. From your post, I would be willing to read this but from those on Amazon, well they’re not encouraging.

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  5. Laurel, I’m afraid I must protest on behalf of romance writers. Bad writing is no more acceptable in romance novels than it is in Jane Austen sequels (or for that matter in any other novel). A good romance novel involves far more than an excessive number of love scenes. Like any good writing, it involves plot, pacing and character development. I would be glad to recommend some some romance novels that I feel sure would change your mind on this point and would perhaps prevent you from using the term as a pejorative in the future. Let me know if you’d like a recommendation.

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  6. Why are there so many people writing stories using other people’s characters? People can write and read what they like of course, but the writer in me finds it disturbing. Just because an extended future storyline isn’t revealed doesn’t mean the author doesn’t know what happens to their characters. Perhaps it’s best we’re left where we are!!!!! Maybe Jane knew that Eliza dies in childbirth after three years of happy marriage and Mr Darcy (his heart broken) marries Mr Bingly’s sister and she tortures Jayne’s only child and nags Mr Darcy until in a drunken rage he beats her half to death and then kills himself in shame unwittingly leaving Eliza’s child at the mercy of her step mother. Would we want to know this? No!

    As for this book, it sounds like it should have been titled Mr and Mrs Darcy and their Secret Life of Porn. Jayne would be writhing in horror…her brain children have been kidnapped and tied up like puppets on a string…forced to act out a story with graffic sex scenes to entertain their captor.

    Someone needs to write a book where Jayne Austen travels through time to save her kidnapped characters before they’re entangled forever in a web of
    spurious nonsense and the next generation of readers are turned off the real Jane Austen all together by Jane Austen spin offs.

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    • Ladies, first and foremost….I would recommend that you hold onto judging this book until you read it… I have, and I am not in to “porn”, trashy romance novels, etc…I am into Jane Austen, and Have always wanted to go on with the story…..this was and is a saga….not a plot based book…. Its their life in about a 5 month period. Just life. How you can judge someones writing without reading is beyond me. Appears to me to be just plain mean spirited…. Have you any idea how these words affect the writer? Do you care? This is a young writer, this being her first book( she has written 3)and Im sure she is not use to the “ugle” coming from this blog….just mean, you guys, plain mean. And Claudia, again, you didnt read the book, so why would feel you can review it? …..

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      • Sue Morgan – Thank you for your comments. I have read the book. You are correct in stating that the novel was not plot based, though I was kinder and said that it eventually did appear. Being a saga does not obsolve a story from having a plot.

        Austen fans do express their opinions decidedly, but using “ugle” is the outside of enough and deminishes your credibility accordingly. Please refrain from further expletives in the future.

        Cheers, Laurel Ann

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  7. Laurel Ann,

    Thank you for replying to me via email regarding this novel. The problem is that they’re are so many novels written based on original writings ie,. like Austen; some very good ones.

    By the way have you read any of Jasper Fforde novels, they are great fun!

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  8. Dear Laurel Ann,
    Thanks for your reviewof this so- called sequel.
    For my sins, I was invited to review this novel almost two years ago- for Book News_ and fearing that I may have a conflict of interest, I passed it on to a friend- who sent in the following comment, which may amuse you and some of your readers.
    ” Two shall become one” it’s certainly aptly sub-titled, since that’s about all they become -over and over again and in so many different ways.
    Neither Elizabeth nor Mr Darcy appear to have the ability to develop in any other aspect of their existence, apart from their sex life which this author details with an unseemly relish.
    Having had the temerity to write a sequel to a classic novel- about two of English fiction’s most celebrated characters- without reading the original, she presumes to describe their life together in an era of whose mores she appears to have scant knowledge unless it is third or fourth hand via moves and other “sequels”

    For goodness sake, if people like writing porn for people who like reading porn, let them do so- it’s a free country- but why can they not just use a couple of characters called Jack and Jill or Algernon and Harriet ( if they must be in the period mode) and leave poor Darcy and Elizabeth alone!
    Have they and their dear departed creator not suffered enough?
    Ellen Fleming

    Laurel Ann, I couldn’t have put it better myself
    Claudia

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  9. Interesting book, but OK. I know that they are sequels to this that do NOT look interesting- Darcy loses his memory and forgets all but his “passion” for Elizabeth. Not sure that I will want to read that.

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  10. Okay, is it just me or also other people, though I don’t like it how these beloved original stories turn into something else because other people are twisting Jane’s ideas. I don’t like it…
    I am hating how people are twisting these ideas which people over the course of history have fallen in love with, then adding these impossible ideas. It is the original ideas that we people have fallen in love with, even though we are constantly guessing of what would have happened, it doesn’t seem right that we are doing this. I could probablt guess that Ms. Jane Austen wouldn’t have wanted this either…

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  11. I don’t even think that this book is even in this right plot with the movie or the original book. To understand more about the movie you should read the ORIGINAL book…

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  12. I heartily second the “Secret Life of Porn” judgement on “Two shall become One”. Tiresome, repetitive, banal, with the thinnest excuse for a plot seen in any Jane Austen homage. For the love of God, even the “P, P and Zombies” book was more creditable.
    I am kicking myself for buying this book before I read any reviews. Poor Jane, to have her lovely characters desecrated by such cretins.

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  13. How right you are Kathleen Silverstein!
    I have long wondered at the arrogance of people who take over another author’s characters and then proceed to disfigure and twist them into bizarre and even monstrous creatures.
    They are not done yet- watch out for The latest- following P&P and the ZOMBIES – we are to meet- Mr Darcy the Vampire!! Strewth! What’s next? Darcy is Vlad the Vampire’s love child?

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  14. I am so comforted to know that there are other Austin fans who were completely disgusted by this novel. I am sure the author had the best of intentions when beginning this venture of hers, but it is a complete disgrace to the honor and credit of Austen. I can’t read a paragraph without cringing or getting angry. I have come close to throwing the book itself across the room.

    To be fair, I also found the 2005 movie adaptation a complete disaster as well, so the fact that the author based this novel on the movie set the stage for disappointment after disappointment. I completely reiterate every word of Kathleen Silverstein’s post.

    They have sex. We get it. And we still get it. And we get it again. And again. And again. Who let her publish this? And why wasn’t this edited? I have taken a huge red pen and corrected too much within the first quarter of the novel. Yet this still hasn’t made me feel any better about spending the money. SIGH!

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  15. Good on you- Daria, Kathleen, Claudia and Vanessa- for your forthright critique of this book. It is not by any stretch of the imagination a proper “sequel” to P&P – merely a rather poorly written attempt to cash in on the current “austen fan craze”
    Regrettably, this kind of pot- boiler gives all sequels a bad name.

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  16. I was very curious to see if others felt the same way I did about this book. Overall, the best adjective I can use to describe this novel is “silly”. The idea of continuing the Elizabeth/Darcy romance is great, exciting. This book was poorly written, borderline pornographic (only pertaining to the number of times the duo discuss and/or engage in sex- it sure is kept PG-13 though). I never felt captivated by this story, and had a hard time getting through it. Elizabeth was SUCH an interesting character, the author had many opportunities for adventures or conflict. Not to mention, while Mr. & Mrs. Darcy love each other very much, I believe their relationship would have been much more tempestuous because they were both very stubborn and headstrong characters. I hope there are other variations of “continuations” of Jane Austen’s perfect love story, because the notion is great, but this attempt was awful.

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    • Hi SLC, thanks for stopping by. This book received mixed reception. You either love it or hate it. Yes, there are many other continuations of Jane Austen’s characters from P&P. You might try Mr. Darcy Presents his Bride, by Helen Halstead. There are many retellings of P&P, but not many authors have attempted to continue the story. Most wisely leave Elizabeth and Darcy’s romance were she ended it. Hard to top that.

      Cheers, Laurel Ann

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