If you’ve always loved Pride and Prejudice, but wish it had a few more vampires in it than Pulse and Prejudice might just be for you.
The novel follows the events of Jane Austen’s classic, except for one tiny difference – Mr. Darcy is a vampire. Within the first few pages, we are there with him at the Meryton assembly. Mr. Darcy is not only in danger of being declared arrogant and prideful but of drinking the blood of the locals. Though he initially writes off all the ladies in town, he is strangely drawn to Elizabeth Bennet. Her wit, her beauty, her fine eyes, and, yes, even her throat draw him in. Though he resists his growing love for her, believing that he can never marry because of his condition, Darcy eventually gives in and asks Elizabeth to be his wife.
The rest we Austen fans know… or do we? This time, when Elizabeth learns the truth about the man who so admires and loves her, she is horrified to discover that the haughty Mr. Darcy is actually a vampire. Will Mr. Darcy be able to change his prideful ways and win Elizabeth’s hand? And even if he does, will Lizzy ever accept a vampire as her husband?
I cannot express enough how skeptical I was upon starting this book. Pride and Prejudice with a touch of vampires were enough to send me into fits of eye rolls. But, within only the first chapter, I found myself strangely drawn to the story. The vampire Darcy weaves his spell quickly.
It helps that the author actually writes quite well. She is quoting large sections of dialogue and prose from Pride and Prejudice and her own writing blends fairly seamlessly with Jane Austen’s. She also has a very strong grasp of Austen’s characters. I was pleased and excited to see that the character’s motivations and evolution were woven in so well with the paranormal aspects of the novel and fit so nicely with Austen’s original. I actually love that Mr. Darcy hates socializing partly because he thinks he’s above his company, and partly because he’s a vampire who might kill someone. Elizabeth, too, maintains her composure, even upon discovering that Darcy is a vampire. She is no Bella Swan, falling all over herself to be with a blood-thirsty creature. The girl still keeps her wits about her – just like Jane intended it.
The vampire mythology is different from, say, Twilight, though I was initially expecting that there might be some similarities. Mr. Darcy does not sparkle. He does sleep, but only a little bit (and never in a coffin). He also drinks animal blood, though human blood is a whole lot tastier. In truth, some of the vampire details are sort of shadowy and aren’t as thoroughly explained as they could have been.
Since the book is told from almost entirely from Darcy’s point of view, we also get many more scenes with Charles and Caroline Bingley, Colonel Fitzwilliam, Georgiana, and Lady Catherine. I enjoyed delving more into Darcy’s relationship with each of these characters. Hearing about his affection for Charles, his secret annoyance with Caroline and each internal eye roll when his aunt is in the room was thoroughly enjoyable. Even his back story with Wickham gets an exciting twist, which makes Wickham’s motivations (and his potential for causing havoc) all the more interesting.
I will offer this note: according to the publisher this book contains “graphic, explicit sex.” While it’s true that there are several pretty detailed sex scenes, these occur in the last few chapters of the novel. I only mention this so that those who are looking forward to lots of vampire-inspired sex won’t be disappointed, and those who aren’t into that sort of thing won’t be scared off.
The one bad thing I can say about the book: it really sticks very close to Pride and Prejudice. I kept hoping that the book would skip over the familiar events and tell us exactly what happened after they all lived happily-ever-after. Lucky for me, the author is working on a sequel that involves Mr. Darcy traveling to New Orleans to track down a rogue vampire.
I am surprised to say that I’ll probably be devouring that one, too.
4.5 out of 5 Regency Stars
Pulse and Prejudice: Pride and Prejudice with a bloodthirsty twist, by Colette L. Saucier
Secret Cravings Publishing (2012)
Trade paperback (320) pages
Lisa Galek is a professional writer, editor and lover of all things Jane Austen. She lives in the suburbs of Cleveland with her wonderful husband and their two beautiful daughters, Elizabeth and Gwendolyn. When she’s not working or mothering, she enjoys attempting to write her own novels, watching mindless TV shows, and re-reading Pride and Prejudice yet again.
© 2012, Lisa Galek, Austenprose