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
Trade paperback (384) pages
© 2007 – 2010 Kimberly Denny-Ryder, Austenprose