Dangerous Magic: A Pride & Prejudice Variation (Mr. Darcy’s Magic Book 1), by Monica Fairview — A Review

From the desk of Katie Jackson:

The world of Austenesque stories has expanded exponentially in recent years, and now enthusiasts of Jane Austen fan fiction (JAFF) can treat themselves to fantasy versions of their beloved novels. There’s even a delightful new Facebook group dedicated to the subgenre: Fantasy Reads for Austen Fans. Bestselling author Monica Fairview is the latest creator in this whimsical realm with her imaginative Pride and Prejudice variation, Dangerous Magic.

Fitzwilliam Darcy has the weight of the Kingdom on his shoulders. As an elite and formidable Royal Mage, he is destined to help save England by winning the war against Napoleon and his ever-increasing army of French mages. “Darcy wondered if there had ever been a moment in his life when he could have forged his own path. He had always been guided by duty, honor, and good principles, and he had never thought to question their hold on his life.” (17) Trained from childhood as a true-blooded mage at the exclusive Royal Academy, Darcy is well-versed in the textbook spells—but they’re not strong enough, and England is on the verge of being overtaken. Darcy needs to Bond with a Janus Twin—an equally powerful mage, thus doubling their magical strength—if the Kingdom has any chance of surviving Napoleon’s attack. But such mages are exceedingly rare, and time is running out.

Elizabeth Bennet has been raised in the countryside, instinctively developing her magical skills without any formal training and only vaguely aware of the war being fought on English soil. Her life changes dramatically on the day the Royal Mages arrive to enlist her services for King and Country. “Conscripted. A heavy sense of dread had lodged inside Elizabeth, along with a prickling of fear. What if she had to be in a battle? What if they sent her to fight in France?” (95) Although she is not a true-blooded mage, she is extraordinarily talented, and she has become their last, best hope for saving England from the French.

The challenging circumstances escalate when it’s decided that, due to the extensive amount of training time they must spend together, an unmarried man and woman cannot form a magical Bond as Janus Twins without utterly ruining the woman’s reputation, and therefore, Darcy and Elizabeth will be forced to marry for the benefit of the war effort. Darcy is bitter. “An insignificant young lady, from an insignificant family, and an even more insignificant village? …All I can hope for is that she is at least tolerably pretty.” (54) Elizabeth feels trapped. “Serving as a mage for a few years was one thing. Being bound to a stranger for a lifetime with no possibility of escape was quite another.” (249)

Sparks fly—literally—and the volatile situation becomes ever more dire as they fight with each other, as well as against mysterious forces determined to keep them apart, and the French mages continue to hunt for a battle. When the dust settles, will Darcy and Elizabeth reign victorious?  

This book was an absolute page-turner from start to finish. My only complaint is that it felt like it ended too soon—mostly because I read it so quickly and couldn’t put it down—and I want to read a sequel posthaste. Imagine my delight when I discovered that this book, although easily a stand-alone story, is the first in a series and a sequel is, in fact, forthcoming. The story was so immersive and had such a cinematic feel to it that I wish I could see a film adaptation. The creative yet believable world-building was enhanced by beautifully descriptive explanations of the magic used. It was fascinating to see the wealthy, upper-class ladies and gentlemen working together with a real purpose, instead of their usual leisure pursuits. I also enjoyed the apt depiction of Janus, the Roman god with two faces, representing beginnings and transitions. Our courageous Lizzy was her usual obstinate, headstrong self, with some impressive magical talents making her a truly accomplished young lady. Taciturn Darcy was just as proud and prejudiced as ever, with the added bonus of his role as an esteemed Royal Mage to make him that much more dutiful to tradition and reluctant to change. Their fiery interactions were, dare I say, magical. 

Dangerous Magic is an enchanting tale that will charm both Austen enthusiasts and fantasy fans in equal measure.     

5 out of 5 Stars

  • Dangerous Magic, A Pride & Prejudice Fantasy, by Monica Fairview
  • White Soup Press; 1st edition (March 15, 2021)
  • Trade paperback & eBook (242) pages
  • ASIN: B08W4CFT4Y

AMAZON | GOODREADS

Disclosure of Material Connection: We received one review copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review We only review or recommend products we have read or used and believe will be a good match for our readers. Austenprose.com is an Amazon.com affiliate. We receive a modest remuneration when readers use our links and make a purchase. We are disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Cover image complements of White Soup Press © 2021; text Katie Jackson © 2021, Austenprose.com

The Darcy Brothers: A Pride and Prejudice Variation, by Monica Fairview, Maria Grace, Cassandra Grafton, Susan Mason-Milks and Abigail Reynolds – A Review

The Darcy Brothers final 2015 x 300From the desk of Monica Perry:

When I first heard that some of the authors from austenvariations.com were planning a Pride and Prejudice: Readers’ Choice collaborative story wherein Mr. Darcy had a younger brother, I was all excited curiosity–a story with two Mr. Darcys? Yes, please! Would Mr. Theophilus Darcy be strong and stoic like his elder brother, a model of amiability like Mr. Bingley, or perhaps more of a rakish Mr. Wickham? Participating in the Readers’ Choice voting each week and having so much interaction with the writers was great fun, and I was eager to read this published version of The Darcy Brothers.  Monica Fairview, Maria Grace, Cassandra Grafton, Susan Mason-Milks, and Abigail Reynolds are authors whose works I’d read and loved in the past, and The Darcy Brothers was no exception.

From the very first page, as Theo and Fitzwilliam Darcy reluctantly make their way to Rosings Park for Easter, we see the way they typically interact (read: Theo pushes Darcy’s buttons and Darcy gets his trousers in a twist). In the wake of childhood tragedy and the more recent near-elopement of their young sister Georgiana with Theo’s friend Mr. Wickham, their relationship is strained and they’ve all but given up on getting along. Darcy is dismissive and distrustful of Theo, and Theo delights in vexing him because he knows he’ll never live up to Darcy’s impeccable standards anyway. When Theo makes the acquaintance of the charming Miss Elizabeth Bennet they form an easy friendship, and Darcy begins to feel that twisting sensation again, a little nearer his chest this time. Each brother’s affection for Elizabeth is noted by the other and although they don’t see eye to eye, each wants the other to be happy. How far would a Darcy go to make it happen, even if it goes against his heart’s desire?  Bargains are struck and along with some meddling assistance from Georgiana, Anne de Bourgh and Colonel Fitzwilliam, and a surprising series of events at Rosings, Darcy, and Theo begin to see themselves, and each other, in a different way. Darcy realizes he has underestimated Theo, withheld the praise and affection a younger sibling craves and used him as an easy scapegoat; likewise, Theo sees he’s had a childish understanding of Darcy’s responsibilities as heir. Can they overcome their pride and start again, and will it last?

“How did one respond when the world no longer obeyed its natural order? The sky was blue, the grass green and his brother angry.  That was the way of things. Was it possible for such truths to change?”

Theo Darcy is a wonderful original character and I loved getting to know him not only as a foil for Darcy but as a fleshed-out person in his own right. We see him diligently applying his profession as a bewigged barrister (I’m going to go out on a limb here and say probably the cutest one ever) and a protégé of the famous Mr. Garrow, kicking back as men do with his best friend, Sir Montgomery Preston, and happily encouraging his sister’s most unladylike interests. Sir Monty is also a delightful addition and is hilarious alongside the new and debate-ably improved Anne de Bourgh! Continue reading