The fifth installment of Sharon Lathan’s Darcy Saga, The Trouble with Mr. Darcy continues the post-Pride and Prejudice narrative, picking up with Elizabeth Bennet Darcy pregnant with her second child, Alexander. The Darcys travel abroad and then back at home have the joy of welcoming their new addition to the family. However, things are not perfectly smooth after the birth of this precious child. Elizabeth is not herself, struggling with what we today call Postpartum Depression (PPD). This causes a huge rift in the relationship between Elizabeth and Darcy, causing alienation and pain on both sides. Their marriage is greatly tested, despite their years of strength and loving support.
Later in the novel, the Darcys face yet another crisis when George Wickham emerges on the scene again, in the area with wife Lydia to attend the wedding of her sister Kitty. George is bent on exacting revenge on Darcy and his family, and he enlists the help of another Darcy foe to collaborate with him in his schemes. Mr. Wickham is as charming and conniving as ever, but his resentments have degenerated into full-blown evil desires.
The Trouble with Mr. Darcy was almost like two stories for me—one detailing Elizabeth’s PPD, and another surrounding the Wickham drama. The PPD storyline was very compelling. Sharon Lathan’s experience and knowledge as a nurse were very evident, detailing the thoughts and emotions swirling about in Elizabeth’s head during that time. I myself have not experienced PPD, but I have struggled with depression before, and I was very impressed with Mrs. Lathan’s ability to enunciate the thought processes of someone struggling with loving their husband, yet feeling miserable at the same time. Sharon’s knowledge served her well as she crafted this portion of the novel, as well as later on when Lizzy has a bout with mastitis, another painful ailment for mothers.
The Wickham drama was excellent. I was positively riveted as this colorful and provocative character reared his head yet again in the life of the Darcys. I will offer no spoilers, but I can say that this portion was very enjoyable, and I loved every bit of it. Sharon can certainly write an exciting page-turner.
Also within the book is the setup for Georgiana’s own love story, which I assume will be told in the upcoming Miss Darcy Falls in Love. Sharon cleverly left out almost all details of Georgiana’s tale, but gave her readers just enough information to anticipate this forthcoming title in November 2011 from Sourcebooks.
As was the case with Lathan’s previous novel In the Arms of Mr. Darcy, there is more sexual content than I would prefer. For the most part it is all within the confines of marriage, so I applaud the celebration of marital bliss. So often in novels this is not the case. Sharon’s Lizzy and Darcy are madly in love, regardless of years of marriage and more than one child. However, as a reader I could do without the amount of detail that is given of their bedroom activities. Lathan’s writing is wonderful; she doesn’t need to add this superfluous content. The riveting Wickham storyline and her delightful A Darcy Christmas are proof of this. When these intimate scenes come about now, I gloss over them and move on to the next conversation or event.
That one reservation aside, The Trouble with Mr. Darcy is a wonderful addition to the Darcy Saga. I have not read the first three titles in this series, and can objectively say that newcomers to Lathan’s work could easily start with this title. I would recommend a rudimentary knowledge of Pride and Prejudice, so that the characters and the effect of their histories would make sense to the reader.
The love of Darcy and Elizabeth lives on in the pages of The Trouble with Mr. Darcy, and you will also find realistic struggles of new parents and captivating drama as well. Sharon Lathan continues to promote the philosophy of two becoming one, and I look forward to enjoying her vision of one of my favorite characters, Georgiana Darcy.
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While you’re here, check out Sharon Lathan’s guest post, where she addresses how her faith affects her writing and romantic story lines.