Huzzah! The much anticipated Mr. Darcy’s Obsession, a Pride & Prejudice variation by author, Abigail Reynolds has come at last. In this clever re-imagining, Miss Elizabeth Bennet left Hunsford before Mr. Darcy’s ill-stated first proposal as her father fell sick and later died. His heir, Mr. Collins assumes the entail and the ladies of Longbourn must shift for themselves.
Elizabeth’s eldest sister, Jane marries a local shopkeeper, believing she is doing her best for her family. The three youngest, along with Mrs. Bennet go to live with Aunt Phillips in Meryton while Elizabeth is sent to her Aunt & Uncle Gardiner in Cheapside. After Mr. Darcy discovers her in such reduced circumstances, he tells himself he simply needs to be reassured that she is being cared for. But after he contrives a “chance” meeting, he finds he cannot stay away. His obsession grows… He is consumed with the need to talk with her, see her, care for her. And just when his passions overcome his familial responsibility to his Darcy pride, another Bennet folly arrives, threatening to lower Elizabeth’s station even further. What delicious tension!
Abigail Reynolds’ Darcy is ever the romantic hero loving the sparkling Elizabeth, despite her lowly connections, and coming to her every rescue. Although some may acknowledge and even grumble about the distinct lack of hot, steamy love scenes that are typical in Reynolds’ Pride & Prejudice variations, there are plenty of dizzying, heart-pounding interludes to be had. Rarely have I read such sensual, seductive, provocative, yet wholly chaste, love scenes! “A fire seemed to kindle inside her as she realized that he planned to remove it. The smooth kidskin slipped away easily, but Darcy paused with her hand half-revealed as if asking her permission to continue.” Swoon-worthy, indeed.
Although many of Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice canon characters make appearances throughout this novel, Reynolds’ own original characters are just as rich and colorful… adding depth and validity to this engaging twist. For those that have been chomping at the bit for another Reynolds’ novel, Mr. Darcy’s Obsession does not disappoint! And to Darcy & Elizabeth lovers who have yet to discover her works, you must put this at the front of the queue!
Postscript: I messaged the author asking her why she failed to wrap-up Georgiana’s plotline in the epilogue… and she responded that it is because she is writing a SEQUEL with more Georgiana! How about that for breaking news?!
4 out of 5 Stars
Mr. Darcy’s Obsession, by Abigail Reynolds
Trade paperback (368) pages
Cover image courtesy of Sourcebooks © 2010; text Christina Boyd © 2010, Austenprose.com