Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife: Pride and Prejudice Continues, by Linda Berdoll – A Review

The Pride Prejudice Bicentenary Challenge (2013)This is our ninth selection for The Pride and Prejudice Bicentenary Challenge 2013, our year-long event honoring Jane Austen’s second published novel. Please follow the link above to read all the details of this reading and viewing challenge. Sign up’s are now closed for new participants, but you can join us in reading all the great reviews and comments until December 31, 2013. Since I am traveling in England on a Jane Austen Tour, Christina Boyd is pinch-hitting for me in my absence and offers this great review of a classic Pride and Prejudice sequel.

From the desk of Christina Boyd:

Author Linda Berdoll’s first novel in her continuation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice was originally self-published in 1999 as The Bar Sinister. This reviewer, however, discovered her work in 2006, after Sourcebooks had re-published it under the new title (in 2004) Mr. Darcy Takes A Wife. Mind, I had only discovered the world of fan-fiction and life after Pride & Prejudice through the elegant writing of Pamela Aiden’s Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman… and had no idea what to expect from this madcap, puckish sequel that opens as Mr. & Mrs. Darcy embark on married life and harkens back to the impassioned moments reined in during their engagement. Nevertheless, not until after their ardent wedding night do they discover how truly well-matched they are for one another. However, it’s Berdoll’s explicit voyeurism into the Darcy’s enthusiastic and abundant love-making that many devoted Austen readers have taken offense to, thus, separating readers into two camps: those that fervently love Berdoll’s work and those that vehemently hate it. (Note: as I have stated previously in other Berdoll reviews here at Austenprose, I am clearly on Team Berdoll.) Continue reading

The Darcys, The Ruling Passion: Pride and Prejudice Continues, by Linda Berdoll – A Review

The Darcy’s, The Ruling Passion: Pride & Prejudice Continues, by Linda BerdollGuest review by Christina Boyd

Best-selling author Linda Berdoll’s Mr. Darcy Takes A Wife and Darcy & Elizabeth have been hailed as “sexy, hilarious, poignant” and “wild, bawdy and utterly enjoyable (Booklist.)”  But also, “blasphemy, smut and trash,” are not uncommon adjectives used by her severest critics. Rarely has there been such a clear division of thought between two camps: those that fervently love her work and those that vehemently hate it. I for one am with Team Berdoll and at the risk of having my Janeite card revoked, boldly declare that Linda Berdoll sets the standard for this romance genre.  I will stride out even further by surmising that many “romance” writers of Pride and Prejudice re-imaginings and sequels strive to emulate not Jane Austen, but Linda Berdoll. Regardless of what side you defend or how you receive my pert opinions, having sold nearly 350,000 copies, one cannot deny Linda Berdoll is the reigning Pride and Prejudice romantic sequel writer to date.

The Ruling Passion, her highly anticipated sequel to the sequels, has finally come to fruition.  This self-published sequel opens in the year 1818, approximately two years after Darcy & Elizabeth: Days and Nights at Pemberley concludes; wherein Darcy had saved the family from scandal (again) and that scurrilous rat George Wickham has received his comeuppance — his “whennymegs” were shot off!

The Darcys still have an exceedingly loving marriage in this continuation of one of classic literatures most beloved couples.  “Despite their duties to hearth, park and children, they consoled each other’s enduring appetence with great enthusiasm.  Time and children had not mitigated their passion whatsoever.  If any consternation bedeviled them, it was finding privacy wherein to avail themselves of their desire, not want of it.” p. 8.

Albeit, what bedevils the Darcys is the re-introduction of Lady Howgrave, formerly Juliette Clisson, newcomer to the neighborhood, but as Darcy’s courtesan of his bachelor days, not new to this narrative.  As we discover that Juliette’s marriage contract was partially based on her presenting Sir Henry Howgrave with a son and heir, his own potency comes into question.  Although the beautiful Juliette could easily engage any number of competent studs, her own experiences with Darcy’s virile credentials and his now known accomplishment at fathering sons, she becomes well-nigh obsessed with getting him back into her bed.  Or carraige.  Or wherever she can entrap him.

Whilst Reactionaries and Civil Libertarians rally for political support, and as radicals and rabble rousers incite riots in London, sadness falls upon Pemberley: the Darcys lose an infant son to a putrid fever. Elizabeth slips into a deep depression and closes herself off to her husband and his comfort.  “Her love for her husband had not wavered.  But, imbedded in a muddle of fear and grief, she did not allow herself to take pleasure in their amorous inclinations.  She clasped his nightshirt and buried her face against his neck as he took her.” p. 172.  Therefore, as Elizabeth undertakes a circuitous quest for redemption from Pemberley to her childhood home of Longbourn and back, the Darcys too must find a way back to each other.

Berdoll weaves a rich cabal by her own coloring of classic Austen characters as well as those she thusly contrived.  Her style of recounting each character’s tale, entangling with all the others is mesmerizing and kept me turning pages as I puzzled out their fit.  I laughed heartily at the tongue in cheek (and other sensitive spots) euphemisms of the burlesque, smirked at her quirky yet exacting vernacular, smiled at the quick-witted teasing, and sighed at the tender exchanges between a man and woman who truly adore one another.  I might add, unlike the Mr. Darcy Takes A Wife, when the Darcys were newly married and their conjugal proclivities numerous — and ubiquitous– this latest offering does not focus as much on those amorous seductions.  As much, but more on the vissitudes of Elizabeth & Darcy, Juliette’s scheming, and the intrigue of a Mr. Alistair R. Thomas.

If your sensibilities are offended by explicit, passionate love scenes with Jane Austen’s original namesakes, this is presumably NOT the book for you.  However, those who delight in reading about the Darcys beyond Pride and Prejudice, including all their complexities, and intimacies, (in and around the bedroom), and most particularly if you are a fan of Berdoll’s previous works, The Ruling Passion is not to be missed!  Yes, hold on to your bonnets as Linda Berdoll has quite done it again.

Note: For now, you can only purchase this through the author’s website www.lindaberdoll.us. eBooks and other outlets are in the works.

Christina Boyd lives in the wilds of the Pacific Northwest with her dear Mr. B, two youngish children and a Chesapeake Bay Retriever named Bibi.  She studied Fine Art at Temple University’s Tyler School of Art and received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from Salisbury University in Maryland. She has for the last nine years created and sold her own pottery line from her working studio. Albeit she read Jane Austen as a moody teenager, it wasn’t until Joe Wright’s 2005 movie of Pride & Prejudice that sparked her interest in all things Austen.  A life member of the Jane Austen Society of North America, visiting Jane Austen’s England remains on her bucket list.

4.5 out of 5 Regency Stars

© 2007 – 2011 Christina Boyd, Austenprose

Top Ten Reasons to Read Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict, – Again!

WIN A FREE COPY OF

CONFESSIONS OF A JANE AUSTEN ADDICT

 

Image of the cover of Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict, (2007)

Today is the official release date for the paperback edition of one of my favorite Austen-esque novels,  Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict, by Laurie Viera Rigler. Hurrah! You can read a synopsis of the book here

This novel received a most  ‘favourable’ response from reviewers and Janeites when it was released in hardcover last summer. Here are a few highlights… 

This is Laurie Viera Rigler’s first novel and she’s done a wonderful job. Charming characters, matchless plot-lines and a great Austen flavor make this debut a must-read. Fans of Austen will love Rigler’s style and Austen newbies will have no trouble following the story even if they aren’t familiar with all of Austen’s work. Blog Critics Magazine 

…the fans that adored Jude Devereaux’s Knight in Shining Armor or the time travel movies Somewhere in Time, Kate and Leopold, and Big will definitely have a rollicking good time. Jane Austen Today 

Ms. Rigler knows her Jane Austen and sprinkles the book with loving references….This book is a fun, light, fluffy bit of “chick lit” for any Janeite – a good read for a plane trip or a rainy weekend. The Austen Intelligencer 

I absolutely loved the creativity of this novel and admire Ms. Rigler’s bold and inventive plot and characters, which is made all the sweeter since it is just so darn funny. 

So Janeites, inspired by modern comedic brilliance, and Miss Austen’s character Emma Woodhouse who demands from each of you “one thing very clever, be it prose or verse, original or repeated — or two things moderately clever — or three things very dull indeed, and she engages to laugh heartily at them all“, I put to you my top ten reasons to read Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict, again, – and challenge you to add your share! 

Top Ten Reasons to Read 

Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict, Again…

 

10.) Your cat became a critic and coughed up a hairball on your copy of Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife.

9.) Your boss caught you watching the new adaptation of Northanger Abbey on your computer at work, and has restricted your Austen addiction to lunch room reading. 

8.) Your VCR just ate episode 4 of Pride and Prejudice (1995), and your new DVD will not arrive from Barnes and Noble for three days! 

7.) Your wannabe Captain Wentworth just asked that stick insect cheerleader to the spring prom, and now your last minute blind date is your mother’s second cousins, manicurist’s minister’s, step son who is Mr. Collins’ doppelganger! 

6.) Your 13 year old little sister was just offered a modeling contract with the Wilhelmina agency in New York.   

5.) Your husband has just learned that you are being audited by the IRS because you talked him into claiming your purchases of Jane Austen books, DVD’s and conferences as a charitable contribution on your taxes.      

4.) Your debate team teacher will not let you argue the merits of Colin Firth vs. Matthew McFadyen to prove ‘who is the hottest Mr. Darcy ever’ at the state debate finals next month. 

3.) Your parents think you are crazy for refusing to go on vacation with them to Hawaii because Regency ladies never wore bikinis. 

2.) You have just learned that the movie Lost in Austen has been put on the back-burner, and now there are no pending movies of Jane Austen inspired biographies, spin-offs or adaptations in the immediate future.  

And the number one reason to read

Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict again is… 

 

Your new boyfriend thinks that your ‘Darcy on a pedestal’ addiction is out of control after you ask him to bow when he meets your parents for the first time!

Be sure to visit Laurie’s web site devoted to everything addictive about Jane Austen, janeaustenaddict.com and explore the question, what would it be like to live in Jane Austen’s time, read about her latest insights for Jane Austen addicts on A Great Deal of Conversation Blog, or have your share of the conversation on the forum. 

Image of the cover of Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict, (2007)CONTEST: Win a free paperback copy of Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict by stating your unique reason for needing to read the novel in the comments by 11:59 pm on Wednesday May 7th, and the winner will be drawn and announced the next day! Good luck Austen addicts.