Monday, July 4, 2016

Book Review and Giveaway: Mr. Darcy's Journey by Abigail Reynolds

Mr. Darcy is at his wits’ end. Elizabeth Bennet, the woman he can’t live without, overhears him insulting her family. Now she won’t even listen to his apologies. Then his old friend Sir Anthony Duxbury tells him two of their friends are in terrible danger. If Darcy wants to help them, they have to leave for Yorkshire immediately.

But something doesn’t add up. Elizabeth claims to know Sir Anthony, too – but by a different name. What game is his old friend playing? And is it dangerous?

Even Sir Anthony says the trip is dangerous. The Luddite rebels are on the verge of armed revolt – and he should know, because he’s one of them. Darcy’s cousin Lady Frederica decides she’s going with them anyway, and insists on bringing Elizabeth. Could this be Darcy’s chance to earn Elizabeth’s forgiveness and her love?

Elizabeth would rather face a squad of Napoleon’s soldiers than spend three days trapped in a carriage with Darcy and his headstrong cousin, but she has her own reason for agreeing to come. If she can just manage to keep her temper, she may be able to rescue her uncle from financial ruin.

But when a Luddite riot erupts around them, it’s Darcy and Elizabeth who need rescuing – from each other. 

Long-term readers of The Calico Critic may recall that I’ve had a mixed history with Abigail Reynolds’ Austenesque fiction. While I generally enjoy her writing, at times the amount of adult content has been a frustration for me.  However, one of my very favorite Austenesque novels of all time is her Mr. Darcy’s Obsession, which sounds steamier than it is. That was my latest foray into her writing, almost six years ago now. I loved the book, and to this day I still hold out hope that she will write a follow-up to such a wonderful story. So when Abigail contacted me about reading her newest work, Mr. Darcy’s Journey, I was simultaneously excited but filled with a bit of trepidation. I don’t enjoy giving negative reviews due to content, but I do feel honor bound to be honest I my critiques.

Much to my delight, I can offer a positive reaction to Mr. Darcy’s Journey!  While I can’t say that it will be an all-time favorite as Mr. Darcy’s Obsession is (that would be quite a feat, indeed), I did enjoy this latest work from Abigail.   The story picks up before Darcy’s disastrous first proposal to Elizabeth Bennet in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, but not long after his attraction to her is beginning to grow.  He once again stumbles in his relationship with Lizzie, inadvertently insulting her family’s social position as he did in Austen’s original material. True to her original feelings, Elizabeth initially cannot bear Darcy and his haughty attitudes, even despising being in his presence during a carriage ride.

Along with Darcy and Elizabeth’s relational dance, there is much action in regard to the Luddite rebellion that was also breaking out at the same time in England.  Austen is known for glossing over such historical facts, given their political tone and possible implications for her stories.  Abigail Reynolds does not shy away from the issues of the rebellion, equal rights for women, unfair labor practices and other important topics.  While at times I felt that these social problems slowed Reynolds’ story down a bit, I did find them to be very informative.  The riots breaking out in Sheffield also provided several scenes of riveting action, and one opportunity for a very passionate kiss between two characters, a rare moment of sensuality in this otherwise fairly tame romantic tale.

I also enjoyed the amount of time that was spent with Darcy’s cousins, the Fitzwilliams.  Colonel Fitzwilliam is one of my favorite characters from Pride and Prejudice, and I found that his family as a whole to be very diverting.  His mother is quite a character, and I also enjoyed the evolution of his sister as she deals with a love interest who isn’t always who he seems to be. There was much adventure to be had with this crew, and I enjoyed them immensely.

Hobbes, the "Cat Butler"
Lastly, and this has absolutely nothing to do with my overall opinion of the book, I assure you—A while back I noticed that many of my fellow Janeites are also cat lovers.  I began a group on Facebook called “Austenesque Cat Lovers”, and Abigail was one of the first to join.  She has a lovely cat named Snowdrop who is arguably the honorary mascot of our group.  Members of our little society enjoy posting images of our own furry friends, articles regarding cats, books, videos, etc. (come join us if you like).  At some point in her writing, Abigail decided to have a few cameos in the novel.  I have a big orange tabby named Hobbes, and I was thrilled to discover that in this book, Darcy’s butler at Pemberley is named Hobbes, which is not a coincidence!  Not only did Abigail name the butler after my cat, but another character is also named after another group member’s feline, and beautiful Snowdrop makes a showing near the end of the story as well.  Again, this does not influence my opinion of the book.  It was just a nice little treat that was found as I read through Mr. Darcy’s Journey.

Cat cameos aside, I’m happy to give a positive review for Mr. Darcy’s Journey.  While Darcy and Elizabeth may not travel far distances in this novel, they did have quite a journey in their relationship.  You can most likely postulate how some things are ultimately resolved, but the trip along the way is what makes the reading enjoyable.  The romantic tension was perfectly balanced, creating an enticing tone without traversing into overly adult material. There were unexpected obstacles, injuries, joys and celebrations, providing many entertaining scenes which held my attention. I congratulate Abigail Reynolds on this latest work.  Now if I can just get her back to the sequel to Mr. Darcy’s Obsession, all will be right in the world…

Giveaway: E-Book and Pride and Prejudice Throw!

International Prize: E-Book Edition, Gorgeous Cat Not Included

Author Abigail Reynolds has generously offered a wonderful giveaway in association with today's review!   We have TWO prizes to offer.  For our international readers, you may enter to win an e-book edition of Mr. Darcy's Journey.  For the U.S. domestic readers, you have the opportunity to win a fabulous Pride and Prejudice throw blanket!  Utilize the Rafflecopter widget below to enter.  The only entry which is required is your contact information.  All other entries are bonus points, increasing your chances of winning. Contest will conclude at 12am EST on Monday, July 18th.

US Prize: Fleece Throw, Cat Not Included
a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the Author

Abigail Reynolds may be a nationally bestselling author and a physician, but she can’t follow a straight line with a ruler. Originally from upstate New York, she studied Russian and theater at Bryn Mawr College and marine biology at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole. After a stint in performing arts administration, she decided to attend medical school, and took up writing as a hobby during her years as a physician in private practice.

A life-long lover of Jane Austen’s novels, Abigail began writing variations on Pride & Prejudice in 2001, then expanded her repertoire to include a series of novels set on her beloved Cape Cod. Her most recent releases are Mr. Darcy’s Journey, the national bestsellers Alone with Mr. Darcy and Mr. Darcy’s Noble Connections, The Darcys of Derbyshire, and Mr. Darcy’s Refuge. She is currently working on a new Pemberley Variation and the next novel in her Cape Cod series. Her books have been translated into five languages. A lifetime member of the Jane Austen Society of North America, she lives on Cape Cod with her husband, her son and a menagerie of animals. Her hobbies do not include sleeping or cleaning her house.

Paperback Kindle Paperback Kindle


  1. My favorite way to spend the 4th of July holiday is with my family. Fortunately, we can see the city's fireworks display from down the street, so we all walk down together to "ooh" and "ahh" over the fireworks. It's fun, and we don't have to fight the traffic on the roads.

  2. I really love Abigail stories and I'm sure this will be no exception

  3. We were farmers for many years so many of our Independence Days were spent in the hay field. We now try to have picnic foods and watch fireworks but we are pretty low key with our celebrations. We do, however, appreciate this day and the freedoms it represents!

  4. Interesting twist to have the story set in the middle of the Luddite situation. I've enjoyed several of Abigail's books including Mr. Darcy's Obsession. Cute idea for the cats to get in on the story. :)

  5. Abigail's stories have been a staple for me since the beginning of my JA obsession. This is no exception. Thank you for the giveaway.

  6. She was the 1st author I found after reading pride and prejudice and has remained my favorite ever since

  7. Normally, the holiday is spent with family and we have lots of food and fun. This year we were packing for another move. Thanks for the giveaway opportunity. I haven't read any of this author's books.

  8. I enjoy the freedom to worship the Lord. Thank you for the giveaway.

  9. I love Abigail's books and am looking forward to reading this one and have already purchased the ebook.. I love that she incorporates cats into her stories as I love animals.

  10. I love stories that incorporate real history! I always learn something new or see history from a new perspective.

  11. I loved this book. Abigail's Fitzwilliam family is deserving of their own book.

  12. Keep them coming! Glad to read more about Ms. Reynolds and learn I am not the only one who doesn't love to clean. Read? yes. Clean? nope...

  13. Looking forward to reading this! Congrats on the new release!

  14. I love all of Abigail's books and can't wait to start on this one. Thanks for featuring one of my JAFF favorites. Jen Red

  15. PS Thanks for the FB Cat link! Its such a cute page.



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