In the Arms of Mr. Darcy: A Novel, by Sharon Lathan – A Review

Guest review by Kimberly Denny-Ryder of Reflections of a Book Addict

In the Arms of Mr. Darcy marks author Sharon Lathan’s fourth Pride and Prejudice sequel. As we journey to Pemberley and revisit the marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy, we take a slightly different path than her first three novels: In Mr. and Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy: Two Shall Become One, Loving Mr. Darcy: Journey’s Beyond Pemberley and My Dearest Mr. Darcy: An Amazing Journey into Love Everlasting, which chronicled the first year of their marriage. We now experience Lizzie and Darcy’s life from a wider perspective. Still deeply in love, but more mature in their relationship, Lathan weaves in new conflicts/surprises/events into the story and expands the roles of familiar characters such as Colonel Fitzwilliam, Georgiana Darcy, and Jane and Charles Bingley.

Picking up where My Dearest Mr. Darcy left off, the novel begins with the Darcy’s second Christmas celebration and the birth of their first son and heir to Pemberley, Alexander. Much to the chagrin of the “ton”, the Darcy’s refuse to employ a wet nurse preferring to care for their son themselves. Unfortunately, distressing news interrupts their joyous Christmas day celebration. A fire has broken out in one of the mills that Darcy is part owner of requiring his immediate attention. Much to Lizzie’s sadness, Darcy is forced to leave during the holiday, but promises to return for their son’s first month birthday.

As Darcy and Col. Fitzwilliam travel to the mill, we learn of Col. Fitzwilliam’s love for an old flame who has recently become a widow. Darcy is astounded that Col. Fitzwilliam believes he is ready to settle down and leave the military. The two share some wonderful moments together, truly showing what excellent friends they are, as well as cousins.

“Go easy on me Darcy.  I think I am in love, yes, but I am caught up in my own Shakespearean tragedy.”  … Timing is everything, I have come to believe.  Certainly this is true in military matters, but also in life and love.”

On the way back, a blizzard erupts and Col. Fitzwilliam and Darcy find themselves amidst a murder mystery! I won’t tell you the particulars of the whodunit, but it was an interesting chapter to say the least. (I’m not sure if it’s because I recently read Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South, but I felt like this chapter was influenced by that novel. There was much talk about the mill, the people who ran it, and their living and working conditions. It was a nice addition that added depth to the story).

Upon Darcy’s return to Pemberley, we find Georgiana and Lizzie preparing for their introductions to society. Georgiana has begun her transformation into a proper young lady, discarding the blushes of her youth, for the bloom of an engaging young woman. We are also treated to the baptism of young Alexander and are given a great chapter showcasing how proud Darcy is of his son, and what a wonderful father he will grow to be. We are also given glimpses into the engagement of Caroline Bingley, Kitty Bennet develops her first crush and broken heart, and the birth of Jane and Charles’ first child, as well as some more lovely moments between Lizzie and Darcy.

Engaging, fast-paced and searingly romantic, I highly recommend reading In the Arms of Mr. Darcy if you’re a true Lizzie and Darcy fan. Lathan creates multiple story-arcs in her novels and weaves the Darcy’s underlying love story through it all. Even though we experience a much more mature relationship between the Darcy’s, they are still infatuated with each other, and I am compelled to forewarn readers that there are many sexual scenes not only in this novel but Lathan’s first three as well.  If you are not a fan of authors who take those kinds of liberties with Austen’s characters, then I say steer clear!

I have to say I enjoyed In the Arms of Mr. Darcy best of all of Lathan’s novels in the series because of how the supporting characters take a much stronger role. As much as I enjoy following Elizabeth and Darcy’s new life together, I was glad to see more of Col. Fitzwilliam, Georgiana, and Jane and Charles Bingley included as it added depth to the story. For me, there are only so many times I can hear Darcy and Lizzy call each other pet names, or tell each other how much they love one another, and I was glad to be given a breather and thrust into the supporting characters lives.

4 out of 5 Regency Stars

In the Arms of Mr. Darcy: A Novel, by Sharon Lathan
Sourcebooks (2010)
Trade paperback (384) pages
ISBN: 978-1402236990

© 2007 – 2010 Kimberly Denny-Ryder, Austenprose

14 thoughts on “In the Arms of Mr. Darcy: A Novel, by Sharon Lathan – A Review

  1. Pingback: Guest Reviewer « Reflections of a Book Addict

  2. Thanks Audra! The series really is interesting. One of the other things I really enjoy about the series is how Lathan always gives the reader sneak peeks into the future lives of the characters. In her first book she wrote that she wanted to draw out the days/months/years of the characters to include as much detail as possible about them, so the books are generally about small pieces of time in their lives. She always throws in something about the Darcy’s marriage later on in years, or about Alexander in his teen years; all foreshadowing her future books. It’s just another reason I stick with the series – her little flash-forwards make me so excited to read the next in the series.

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  3. That’s a brilliant technique — it would hook me, too! I’m really hoping Susan Kaye’s new Persuasion sequel does the same for Anne Elliott and Wentworth — the detailed picture of their lives is what I want! That does it, I’m off to find Mr. and Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy: Two Shall Become One!!

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    • Good luck with it!! Susan Kaye’s first two Persuasion sequels were really good. I’ve read both. I was a little disappointed in the last chapter and a half of the 2nd volume. It didn’t quite fit the rest of her writing. I’m hoping volume three fixes that a bit.

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      • Yes, I would agree — I suppose because it was the first real departure from the Austen storyline, although now that I think of it, much of what she did with Wentworth out of Leeds/Bath was her own invention, too. For me, at least, her Anne felt a little off but I too hope the third book finds their voices again. Have you read Amanda Grange’s Wentworth book? It’s on my TBR.

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        • I’ve read three Amanda Grange books. Mr. Darcy’s Diary (liked it), Mr. Darcy Vampire (not a fan), and Captain Wentworth’s Diary (really liked it).

          She really got Wentworth in my opinion. I like her writing a lot. Mr. Darcy Vampire was so blah. The book is over before you find out he’s a vampire. I like paranormal too, really sad. I read Mr. Darcy’s Diary a while ago (maybe three/four years?) And I’m not really remembering too much about it. Going to have to do a re-read I think!

          She also just took part in writing for A Darcy Christmas. Grange, Sharon Lathan, and Carolyn Eberhart each wrote a short story for it. A compilation of the Darcy’s at Christmas.

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    • I thoroughly enjoyed the Susan Kaye books. And was wild about the Amanda Grange Captain Wentworth book– (I actually paid for it to come from Amazon UK!! and in hardback before it was in print here– and do not regret the expense!!)

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  4. Awesome review, Kimberley. I just have to add my thoughts. Originally, I found Lathan’s writings while she was yet posting it on her website. It was then an entertaining fan fiction (and free.) Then came all the hooplah about getting it published and I was excited for her. Unfortunately it remained dreadfully amateur from the phrasing to the story-line. I regret, I could not even finish it. (And I usually inhale a novel overnight!) There are so many sex scenes that even the romance became boorish and redundant. (BTW, I loved Berdoll’s passionate “Mr. Darcy Takes A Wife” — but this is a poor imitation.)

    When Sourcebooks picked her up, I did message her and ask if there had been any major changes to her series as I did not write a favorable review of her first self-published attempt and didn’t want to be redundant. She messaged me back saying it was pretty much the same. I confess, I wanted Lathan’s published version to be a triumph of her efforts but it never graduated to the level a book needs to reach to be on the market.

    I hadn’t read another Lathan book until The Darcy Christmas book which I reviewed here last week. And although there are not any passion filled loved scenes in that book as in her previous books (don’t get me wrong I do enjoy a good Darcy & Elizabeth loved scene! ie. Linda Berdoll, Abigail Reynolds, etc. ) I just cannot abide the lack of Regency language and attention to social norms. It just seems so unrealistic, to me, and I find myself rolling my eyes. Sorry. I hate to be critical of anyone’s passionate efforts, especially anything about P&P, but there you have it. So despite your great review, I won’t be buying a copy. Not my cup of tea. But I am glad there are those that enjoy her.

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    • Hi Christina! I can totally agree with you that the sex scenes can sometimes be a bit much. That’s why I liked the 4th book so much. While there were still sex scenes, they took on a more mature feeling. The supporting characters became much more important, therefore leaving less time for the pet names between Lizzie and Darcy. (I also have to mention Linda Berdoll – love her work. Apparently there is a third book on the way!)

      As I mentioned in my review the chapter where Darcy is at the mill took on a more mature tone while discussing the lives of the people who had to work in mills during that time. The book in general felt more mature and I really have to attribute it to the expanding character stories.

      This book definitely felt different than her first three, but having read them I can recognize what made you lose interest! The lack of regency tone is a pleasant break for me sometimes. I read so many P&P sequels, that it is a nice break for me to read some in a more contemporary tone.

      Thanks for the kind words on my review =)

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      • Funny I just “watched” Elizabeth Gaskill’s North & South this a.m. while working in my studio. Love that film.

        I do remember reading this on-line. I remember the murder mystery in the inn, the fire at the mill and preparing for being presented. I kinda have to agree with sagustocox “It seems to me that this series is too drawn out and too mired in detail, but actual adherence the original story where working in trade and other industries was looked down upon by Darcy’s set in society seems to be ignored in favor of creating a plot device to keep Elizabeth and her husband apart.

        I’ve read the first in this series and was disappointed by the overwrought nature of the relationship and the continuous endearments, which seemed laughable and unrealistic. While your review is lovely and I’m glad to hear that Lizzy finally had the baby after 4 books, I don’t think I’ll be picking up this series again.”

        BTW– are you going to the JASNA AGM in Portland next week?? Love to meet up.

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    • I have to agree with you about the sex scenes in the first book. The timeline was just so drawn out, and while I love Elizabeth and Darcy, I don’t need to know what they did every single day. And every time the story seemed like it was starting to go somewhere, we’d be pulled away by a sex scene. I’ve heard good things about the rest of the books in this series, but I’m hesitant to read another, and even more so now that I’ve learned that the first three books only cover one year! I must admit that this installment sounds good, though, with all of the supporting characters.

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      • You might be able to pick up the fourth without having read the first three. Lathan gives a cast of characters and sentence or two about each of them at the beginning of each novel. If you referred back to it you could most likely get through the fourth without being wholly confused.

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  5. It seems to me that this series is too drawn out and too mired in detail, but actual adherence the original story where working in trade and other industries was looked down upon by Darcy’s set in society seems to be ignored in favor of creating a plot device to keep Elizabeth and her husband apart.

    I’ve read the first in this series and was disappointed by the overwrought nature of the relationship and the continuous endearments, which seemed laughable and unrealistic. While your review is lovely and I’m glad to hear that Lizzy finally had the baby after 4 books, I don’t think I’ll be picking up this series again.

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