Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Book Review: In the Arms of Mr. Darcy by Sharon Lathan

In the Arms of Mr. Darcy (Pride & Prejudice Continues)
For months, I have looked forward to diving into Sharon Lathan’s series, The Darcy Saga.  I managed to obtain Books 1-3, and signed up to review Book 4 for this month.  My goal was to work through the series from the beginning and then continue to Book 4, In the Arms of Mr. Darcy, now available from Sourcebooks Landmark.  Alas, my schedule—both my personal and my reading schedule have been inundated with activity and I have had to begin my experience with The Darcy Saga without reading the first three books in the series.

Fortunately, Sharon has presented a Darcy tale that can stand on its own—all that is required is a rudimentary knowledge of Jane Austen’s classic novel, Pride and Prejudice.  While I wish I could have begun the series from the top, I don’t believe my experience was diminished by this fact at all. I became easily immersed into this Austenian world and had a complete grasp of the events and relationships within.

A listing of the “Cast of Characters”, a brief description of the main characters, including some birth dates and wedding anniversaries, precedes Lathan’s tale.  This was quite a useful tool for me at the outset, as it kept me from disorientation with all of the individuals within the story. I especially liked the inclusion of dates, as I was able to understand the context of events in Lathan’s timeline.

In the Arms of Mr. Darcy is quiet and yet recurrently passionate, primarily focusing on Fitzwilliam Darcy, his wife Elizabeth and their newborn son Alexander.  Surrounding them are their close friends and family, most of who were introduced in the original Pride and Prejudice.  The book is essentially a series of anecdotal tales, revealing the everyday life events of these characters and the occasional moments of drama in their lives.

For Darcy and Elizabeth, most of their drama comes within the bedroom.  Darcy does have a couple of side adventures of his own and plays rescuer to Elizabeth in one harrowing incident, but most of the action comes from their marital relationship’s intimacies.  While I’m pleased that sex is portrayed as a wonderful gift of married life, readers should be aware that their love scenes are fairly steamy and occur regularly within the novel.

Outside of Darcy and Elizabeth, other anecdotal moments in the lives of their loved ones are shared.  Most of these incidents are short and sometimes seem inconsequential to the rest of the story, but they are enjoyable nonetheless.  The storyline that probably has the longest reach across the novel is that of Colonel Fitzwilliam as he grows from an ambitious soldier to a man who desires a steady home life and family of his own.  His storyline had quite a few twists and turns, and I highly enjoyed his journey as an individual.

While I didn’t enjoy In the Arms of Mr. Darcy as much as I had hoped, it was still a pleasant, ambling stroll with the characters of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Again, I could have done without the amount of sexual detail with Darcy & Lizzie, but at least that aspect was kept within a married relationship.  Little Alexander Darcy was simply adorable, and the way his parents doted on him almost made me fancy another little one myself!  Books 1-3 are still on my shelf, and I do plan to read them as well.  This Janeite cannot get enough of these characters, and I’m pleased that Sharon Lathan has given them another enjoyable way of being in this reader’s life.

This title was provided by Sourcebooks Landmark.
No obligation other than an honest review was required.



  1. I have tried two of Sharon Lathan's book and I just don't like them, to me they are not anything like Jane Austen books and I think maybe I am just not one for knock offs, but at least I did give them a try.

  2. I read the third one and I was extremly disappointed as well. However, there are other authors who do a much better job. It just seems to me that the little bit of plot she has is there to tie the sex scenes together.

  3. those books always look like so much fun. :) one of these days...

  4. +JMJ+

    I confess that I've grown rather tired of Jane Austen knock-offs myself. (Unless they include monsters, that is! =P) A few months ago, I read a hilariously scathing--and spot-on--analysis of one of the most popular titles, in which the critic pointed out that every single new story had something to do about sex and that the author was simply airing her own fantasies of being Elizabeth or Jane and being married to Darcy or Bingley.

    But it's good to hear that this one lets Colonel Fitzwilliam have some real character development of his own. Every time I reread Pride and Prejudice, I find myself liking him more and more. He might be a very minor character, but there is something about him . . .

    Thanks for the review, Laura!

  5. Thanks for the great comments, Enbrethiliel! I agree, there's just something about that Colonel. He's no Darcy, but I like to see him on the page as well.


  6. Thinking again... I guess he is a Darcy cousin, but not the Darcy.



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