A Wife for Mr. Darcy, by Mary Lydon Simonsen – A Review

A Wife for Mr. Darcy, by Mary Lydon Simonsen (2011)Guest review by Kimberly Denny-Ryder of Reflections of a Book Addict

Mary Lydon Simonsen, author of Searching for Pemberley and The Perfect Bride for Mr. Darcy, is back with yet another opportunity for us to wander down that “what if” path with our favorite Pride and Prejudice characters: Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy.  This time, our variation begs the question: what if, after Mr. Darcy made that terrible “tolerable, but not handsome enough to tempt me” comment, he goes to apologize to Elizabeth and beg her forgiveness instead of never addressing it?  We find out in A Wife for Mr. Darcy, Simonsen’s third P&P fan fiction novel.

Our story opens with Mr. Darcy heading to Longbourn to make his apologies for the dreadful comment he made about Elizabeth at the previous night’s assembly.  It is here in the Longbourn sitting room that Darcy gets to truly meet lively, witty, beautiful Elizabeth Bennet.  Completely shocked by how she is able to draw him out of his taciturn nature, Darcy begins to realize that she is unlike any female he has ever met.  As Jane and Bingley spend more time together, so do Elizabeth and Darcy.  The two flourish in each other’s company, and they quickly realize that they have feelings for each other.  Darcy, however, finds that he cannot voice his true feelings for Elizabeth due to the duty he feels he owes his family to marry and have a male heir.  Due to an entailment upon Pemberley, it’s impossible for Georgiana to be given the estate.  Therefore Darcy must have a male heir.  As such, he begins showing a favor for Miss Morton prior to his trip to Netherfield.  Now upon meeting and falling in love with Elizabeth, he is struck with following his heart or following what he knows to be his duty.  Even though his courting of Miss Morton had not been going on long, he felt that ending the relationship abruptly would hurt Georgiana’s chances at a proper marriage.  Will he be able to untangle himself from the loveless courtship he’s begun with Miss Morton and take his rightful place at Elizabeth’s side as he dreams?

Simonsen is a master at getting her readers to feel the emotions that her characters are feeling.  For most of the book, I felt the angst that Darcy was feeling when trying to figure out what to do and how to do it.  I felt Elizabeth’s depression, as she realized she loved Darcy, and also realized that he could never marry her due to her low social standing and lack of wealth.  Simonsen’s descriptive prose flows from page to page, as you become engulfed in the emotions of her storytelling.  It’s a fantastic reading experience, one I get from reading every one of book of hers.

It always amazes me how variation authors are able to create such completely different storylines just by changing one small piece of the plot.  You would think that with the drastically changing plot you would get dramatically altered characters.  Surprise!  You don’t.  I think if Austen were able to read Simonsen’s work, she would definitely approve of the new directions that her beloved characters are taking.  While Austen purists might not enjoy the new plot, I think even they would be satisfied with the characterizations of the characters.

You’re definitely going to want to add this emotional rollercoaster of a book to your “to read” pile.  I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.

5 out of 5 Regency Stars

A Wife for Mr. Darcy, by Mary Lydon Simonsen
Sourcebooks (2011)
Trade paperback (384) pages
ISBN: 978-1402246166

© 2007 – 2011 Kimberly Denny-Ryder, Austenprose

A Wife for Mr. Darcy Blog Tour with Author Mary Simonsen

Please join usA Wife for Mr. Darcy, by Mary Simonsen (2011) today in welcoming Austenesque author Mary Simonsen for the official launch of her book blog tour of A Wife for Mr. Darcy, a new Pride and Prejudice-inspired novel that was released on July 1, 2011 by Sourcebooks.

I am so pleased to be back at Austenprose to kick off my blog tour for my latest novel. Thank you, Laurel Ann, for hosting me. It’s always a pleasure.

You asked that I write about my inspiration for my new novel, A Wife for Mr. Darcy. That’s easy: Elizabeth Bennet. Since I first read Pride and Prejudice when I was 17 (that’s a few decades ago), I have loved the character of Lizzy Bennet, probably because she was the antithesis of me. Lizzy had spunk; I admired spunk. Lizzy was willing to refuse an offer of marriage from a handsome, well-to-do man of rank and privilege because he exhibited a “selfish disdain for the feelings of others” and because he had injured her sister. In an era, when a woman faced a life of privation and pity if she did not find a husband, refusing such an offer took real courage. On the other hand, I usually played it safe, except for that time I went to Greenwich Village in New York City without telling my mother. (Long story short: I got caught.) If Mr. Darcy had asked me to marry him, I would have accepted him, keeping my fingers crossed that I could mold the man to my liking. However, if things didn’t go as planned, I could always mope about in one of Pemberley’s exquisitely decorated rooms or go sulk in the gardens.

When I write about Lizzy, I always portray her as someone who knows her own mind, but I also try to be true to the times in which Elizabeth Bennet lived. In A Wife for Mr. Darcy, Darcy realizes that he was rude to Elizabeth at the Netherfield ball and goes to Longbourn the next day for the purpose of apologizing, thus setting their relationship on a different trajectory. But there are difficulties. (Of course, there are difficulties.) During the season, Darcy paid sufficient attention to a Miss Letitia Montford to get the gossip mills going. Because there are expectations of an offer of marriage to Miss Montford, Darcy must tread carefully or risk injuring the lady. Both Lizzy and Darcy must navigate a minefield of societal norms in order to come together.

I think another reason that I have always been attracted to Lizzy Bennet is because she belongs to a family of five daughters. I was the fourth daughter in the family of six girls. Jane Austen did an excellent job in mixing up the personality traits of the five Bennet daughters. In my family, there was definitely an Elizabeth, Jane, and Lydia. When I was in my teens, I was most like Mary Bennet: quiet, bookish, and someone who frequently said stupid things. But as I gained confidence (especially after my marriage to a wonderful man), I became more like Elizabeth Bennet. I gained enough confidence to write and publish novels and to put them out there for other people to comment on just as Jane Austen did nearly 200 years ago. In doing so, I exhibited another of Elizabeth Bennet’s qualities: courage.

Do you find the character of Elizabeth Bennet to be inspirational? I’d love to hear from you. Thanks for reading my post.

Author Mary Simonsen (2011)About the author:

Mary Lydon Simonsen’s novels, Searching for Pemberley and The Perfect Bride for Mr. Darcy, were acclaimed by Publishers Weekly, RT Book Reviews, and Booklist. She is well loved and widely followed on all the Jane Austen fan fiction sites with tens of thousands of hits and hundreds of reviews whenever she posts. She has also self-published a parody of Persuasion, Anne Elliot, A New Beginning, two Austen novellas, Mr. Darcy’s Angel of Mercy and For All the Wrong Reasons, and a modern romance, The Second Date, Love Italian-American Style. Mary lives in Peoria, Arizona where she is currently working on her next Jane Austen novel. Visit Mary at her blog, on Facebook and as @bibliofilly on Twitter.

Giveaway of A Wife for Mr. Darcy

Enter a chance to win one of three copies of A Wife for Mr. Darcy by leaving a comment answering what intrigues you most about reading a Pride and Prejudice-inspired what-if novel or what characters you would like to see Mary write about next, by midnight PT, Wednesday, July 13, 2011. Winners to be announced on Thursday, July 14, 2010. Shipment to US and Canadian addresses only. Good luck!

A Wife for Mr. Darcy, by Mary Simonsen
Sourcebooks (2011)
Trade paperback (384) pages
ISBN: 978-1402246166

© 2007 – 2011 Mary Simonsen, Austenprose