When you think of Rock ’N’ Roll, two things besides music come to mind: sex and drugs. Now think of Rock ‘N’ Roll and throw in the characters of our beloved Pride and Prejudice. Yes, you read that right, Pride and Prejudice plus sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll. Such is the premise for Fitzwilliam Darcy: Rock Star, the innovative, contemporary retelling of P&P by author Heather Lynn Rigaud.
Fitzwilliam Darcy is the guitar god of Slurry, a rock band that also includes singer Charles Bingley and drummer Richard Fitzwilliam. The three have a reputation of being hard partiers that enjoy a steady rotation of women, as well as being extremely difficult to work with. A week before the next leg of their tour they are scrambling to find a new opening act when they come across Long Borne Suffering, a girl rock group consisting of sisters Elizabeth and Jane Bingley, as well as drummer Charlotte Lucas. The girls sign on to be the new opening act and begin touring with Slurry. Charlotte and Richard begin a very casual sexual relationship while Charles and Jane fall head over heels in love. Elizabeth and Darcy are on the outs, as they don’t get along due to Elizabeth overhearing some nasty remarks Darcy made about the three girls. Friendship happily ensues amongst both groups (with the exception of Darcy and Elizabeth), and creates an enjoyable touring experience for the groups. All is well until the girls find success and begin recording videos with director George Wickham. Wickham starts to show attention to Elizabeth, which makes Darcy realize that he has to tell her his true feelings, as well as the truth about what Wickham really is. He fears that the missteps from the beginning of their relationship are already strikes against him, and he’s nervous that Elizabeth won’t reciprocate how he feels. Will Elizabeth ever know Darcy’s true feelings? Will the relationship between the two destroy the camaraderie that has formed between the bands? Will there be any happy endings for Charles, Jane, Charlotte, and Richard?
Reader, take note: there is a LOT of sex in this book. If you’re able to go into reading the book knowing that it’s going to be a super steamy novel, then I’m sure you can find pleasure in the storyline. I think the plot of the novel was strong enough to have stood on its own, but I guess sex is part of rock ‘n’ roll, and was included accordingly. Sex aside, the plot of the book is actually quite enjoyable. It really did take the story Austen wrote and make it modern and contemporary. The idea of making both Elizabeth and Darcy guitar virtuosos, and having them connect on a musical level before they could connect on a personal level was very intriguing. It added a dimension to their characterizations that was really believable as many musicians find their passion for music to be a catalyst in their personal lives.
I have to be honest and say that I disliked some of the character changes that went on in the book. (spoilers ahead) Richard Fitzwilliam is a legitimate sex addict and Charlotte Lucas is an S&M freakazoid. Those two things were a little bit hard to swallow, and skewed the previous views I had of both these characters in my mind. The decision to make George Wickham a pedophile really creeped me out. All of the changes that Rigaud made were made on such an extreme level that the storyline became way too over the top for me.
While the concept and plot behind Fitzwilliam Darcy, Rock Star was incredibly innovative, as a veteran Austenesque reader I found the changes were too drastic and unbelievable from the original and took away from the pleasure I expected in reading this novel.
3 out of 5 Stars
Fitzwilliam Darcy, Rock Star, by Heather Lynn Rigaud
Trade paperback (432) pages
© 2011 Kimberly Denny-Ryder, Austenprose