Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Book Review: The Perfect Bride for Mr. Darcy by Mary Lydon Simonsen

The Perfect Bride for Mr. DarcyFrom Sourcebooks:

If the two of them weren't so stubborn…

It's obvious to Georgiana Darcy that the lovely Elizabeth Bennet is her brother's perfect match, but Darcy's pigheadedness and Elizabeth's wounded pride are going to keep them both from the loves of their lives.

Georgiana can't let that happen, so she readily agrees to help her accommodating cousin, Anne de Bourgh, do everything within their power to assure her beloved brother's happiness.

But the path of matchmaking never runs smoothly...

*          *          *

I believe that one reason Pride and Prejudice has been so popular is that its readers thoroughly enjoy the dance that is Darcy and Elizabeth’s relationship.  Their path to the wedding altar isn’t straight or smooth, providing a delicious tension that results in a very satisfying conclusion.  Mary Lydon Simonsen’s The Perfect Bride for Mr. Darcy appreciates this dance and expands it just a bit, to a similar and delightful ending.

For a while during the beginning of Perfect Bride the facts and plot points that occur are right on point with the original Austen text.  Simonsen quotes Austen once in a while, and for the most part all the dialogue is new, but everything that occurs could have easily happened in other scenes not included in Pride and Prejudice.  It’s almost as if there was a second unit of cameras filming alternate scenes while the original story was being captured with Austen’s mental camera.  I found it to be interesting and very much enjoyed this fleshing-out of the cast of characters.

Eventually Simonsen’s plot diverts a bit from the original, but the conclusion of the tale is, for the most part, the same as Austen’s.  Mary simply added a few turns and twirls to the Darcy/Bennet dance, as well as to the promenades of others in the story.  This was very effective and I liked the choices that she made.

My quibbles are few on this one. The plot introductions that I’ve seen online (including the one above) seem to credit Georgiana with the bulk of the matchmaking and scheming that transpired.  In truth, Anne de Bourgh is predominantly at the wheel, surreptitiously guiding Darcy and Lizzie toward each other.  Georgiana spends most of her time trying to figure out Anne’s secret plans and then of course supports Miss de Bourgh in those efforts after she’s put the pieces together.  Anne is the instigator, and it is more her story than Georgiana’s.

There was a sub-plot involving Darcy’s lovers of the past that I found to be superfluous.  And there were just a few moments of Darcy fantasy that were unnecessarily steamy, although realistic for the character.

Overall, The Perfect Bride for Mr. Darcy is an excellent choice for Janeites who enjoy Pride and Prejudice and its interesting characters.  I loved this new perspective on Austen’s work and found the book to be enjoyable and brisk. There were a couple of nights when I stayed up irresponsibly late, not wanting to put the book down.  I’d say to myself, “Just one more chapter…” and I’d end up going to bed at 1am.  For this wife and mother of two, that’s fairly late!

Searching for Pemberley
While I own a copy of Simonsen’s Searching for Pemberley, I haven’t had a chance to read it yet.  Now that I’ve been introduced to this author and her work, I’m looking forward to that title even more than I had in the past. I know it's a totally different story, but if it’s as enjoyable as The Perfect Bride for Mr. Darcy, then it should be a perfect choice for me!

*          *          *

This title was provided by Sourcebooks Landmark.
Only an honest review was required.


This review was briefly quoted in the official Editorial Reviews section of the book's listing on Amazon.com.



  1. Thank you, Laura, for your wonderful review. I am so glad that you enjoyed my re-imagining. I agree with you about Anne being more important than Georgiana, but my suggestion to change the back cover was, shall we say, not taken up. You really made my day with this review. :)

  2. Mary, I'm so honored that you stopped by! I'm glad the review made your day. Your book was always a treat to read every night after a long day of work. I look forward to Searching for Pemberley! Interesting facts there, regarding the book cover. I should have mentioned in my review-- loved the cover art!


  3. Sounds charming, and perfect Jane Austen fans!

  4. Marie:

    Yes, it was. Really well done and a pleasure to read.

    Thanks for your thoughts!


  5. Sounds like a fantastic read! I'd love to check this one out...I'll have to start searching for it and definitely add it to my TBR list. Thanks for the rec.

  6. Cathy:

    I hope you get your hands on a copy!


  7. ...Stopping by from Cym Lowell's Book Party.

    Stop by my blog for a book giveaway:



    Chelsey Emmelhainz of HARPER COLLINS is graciously providing FIVE copies for five lucky winners.



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