From the desk of Kimberly Denny-Ryder:
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
Thank you for the insightful and detailed review! I was curious about this novel and I think will read it. There aren’t enough modern P&P original retellings ;-)
Sounds like a fun, and definitely different, twist of characters! Love the name of the girls’ band!!
I am intrigued by this plot and plan to read it, although I have to admit I was hoping their reputation of having a “steady rotation of women” was just that – more of a rep than the reality, particularly with Darcy and Bingley. Even in a modern P&P setting I don’t like the idea of promiscuous protagonists (male or female, really). I’m ok with the steaminess aspect of it, though. I’m also wondering what the “drugs” entails. Guess I’ll find out :) I love the name Long Borne Suffering!with Darcy and Bingley. Even in a modern P&P setting I don’t like the idea of promiscuous protagonists (male or female, really). I’m ok with the steaminess aspect of it, though. I’m also wondering what the “drugs” entails. Guess I’ll find out :) I love the name Long Borne Suffering!
Sorry about my previous comment being jumbled…technical difficulties is the order of the day for me. My phone hates blog posts.
I’m usually totally ok with steamy sex scenes in novels as they do appear here and there. It just seemed ti become too much of a focal point in each couples story. I found myself wishing for more plot. The writing is fantastic though; highly creative and imaginative.
I love this story. It certainly is one of my favorite modern versions of ‘Pride and Prejudice’ and I have read it several times. I have not read the published version yet, but plan to do so. I have always like the girls band name also – Long Born Suffering. I appreciate the authors talent for writing. The one of a kind premise in the modern stories of Heather’s telling is certainly something to look forward to.
Whoa! I’ll definitely be going into this with my eyes open, at least. I’m not sure how much I’ll like it (like Monica, I’m not a fan of promiscuity), but it definitely sounds intriguing.
Does anyone know if it will become available for the Nook? You can get the kindle edition, and it is an “officially” published work…
I really want to read it, but don’t want to buy the paper version to have the ebook come out the next day (as I have done before, too impatient)
I remember reading this years ago when I first discovered Jane Austen Fan Fiction, but couldn’t remember details. Of course I am always thrilled to support & read when one of those writers gets published. I was really psyched to re-read this after reading her Q&A on her BlogTour stop here and ordered myself a copy! The book starts out with a pretty interesting author’s note explaining that music inspired much of her modern characters and scenes and that in the original on-line posting, we were always directed to a song and artist/playlist. But because of copyrighting, that had to go. I was so impressed to read that she then wrote new songs and I was excited to dig in. My copy arrived yesterday, and despite my initial enthusiasm, am still on p.69. A few quick impressions to ponder: Bingley is described as bubbly; I have yet to see a male rockstar on ET described as “bubbly.” Caroline Bingley aka Caro is reaaaaaally nice and patient. Lizzy is stubborn for the sake of angst; like she is intentionally trying to be difficult w/Darcy. Bingley and Jane are sickeningly sweet. I feel the author totally telegraphs who is going to match up together from almost the beginning in contriving to have each of the band members initially meet up alone (Lizzy and Darcy while Lizzy is cleaning her guitars; Charlotte meets Richard while both having a smoke; Charles is enamored with the “angel” from her performance on stage.) And yet the girls don’t even recognize Darcy or his FAMOUS, handsome band members at first even though LATER they can sing all the words to his songs. And I was surprised that there wasn’t much mention in the way of cell phones, texting, anything that is so necessary these days… some e-mail mentions but nothing current. Most frustrating is that the dialogue is so unbelievable… What rock star — or anyone really — talks in paragraphs, perfect grammar?? Or what American says they went to “university?” I like the premise and the originality. I do LOVE the name Long Bourne Suffering and contriving it from Mrs Bennett’s moaning.And that George is a pedofile isn’t quite as unnerving — because even Austen’s Wickham had a taste for young 15 year olds. And George would be one, translated to modern times.
As a modern P&P it has such potential– I had such hopes. In my opinion, the book still needed to be tightened up and re-written before going to pre$$. Still my favorite modern retelling is Sara Angelini’s, “Trials of the Honorable F. Darcy.” I think reviewer Kimberley Denney-Ryder’s 3 stars is right on the mark here.
I can’t help but laugh at the timeliness of Bill Deresiewicz guest essay in Jane Austen Regency World today– if you have the new copy, check it out. He talks about his impressions of the onslaught of pornography in Austenesque books. (I am actually looking forward to reading one of the sex sex and more sex scenes that Kimberley mentions in her review above… if only to get the pages turning.)