Sunday, February 27, 2011

Book Review: Mr. Darcy's Secret by Jane Odiwe

Mr. Darcy's SecretFrom Goodreads:

One dark secret can completely ruin a bright future. From the author who brought you Lydia Bennet's Story and Willoughby's Return, comes a unique look into one of the most famous relationships of all time, in Mr. Darcy's Secret.  After capturing the heart of the most eligible bachelor in England, Elizabeth Bennet believes her happiness is complete-until the day she makes an unsettling discovery. When she finds a stash of anonymous, passionate love letters that may be Darcy's, Elizabeth begins to question the quiet, stoic man she married.

*          *          *

Fans of Pride and Prejudice know that lead characters Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet begin their lives together madly in love.  However, if their trip to the altar is closely examined, it becomes apparent that in truth, they know relatively little about the other as they make this lifelong commitment.  Jane Odiwe plays upon this notion in her Pride and Prejudice sequel, Mr. Darcy’s Secret.

Not long after marrying Mr Darcy, Elizabeth stumbles across some perplexing information, both in writing and through insinuations from her rival, Caroline Bingley.  It becomes clear that her new husband has some issues in his past that he has never shared with her.  Lizzy draws some of her own conclusions, and for the majority of the novel does not address Darcy himself regarding his secret.  Over the course of the book, Jane Odiwe builds suspense around his shadowy past, dropping in additional clues regarding the mystery and building the tension until ultimately, all is revealed.

Along with the mysterious goings-on with Mr Darcy, Ms. Odiwe includes a sub-plot involving Fitzwilliam’s sister, Georgiana.  She is coming into her own as a young woman, and Darcy is determined to marry her off to an appropriate suitor.  Despite the protestations of his wife, Darcy has no regard for Miss Darcy’s feelings and plunges ahead with his own plans for her life.  Contrary to her brother’s intentions, Georgiana falls for a relative commoner and must choose between her beloved brother and the romantic desires of her heart.  I enjoyed this storyline very much, as it took me back 20 years to the days when I’d just met my future husband and circumstances frequently kept us apart.  The energy and longing of new love is like nothing else in the world, and Jane captures that desire in a realistic and chaste way.  

Mr. Darcy’s Secret was not only an enjoyable narrative, but Jane Odiwe’s prose is incredibly well-crafted.  This is not just a fun Austenesque novel.  Jane’s skill with language and knowledge of the period are very apparent.  There were many times when I found myself purposefully going back to re-read a paragraph because of the richness of the writing.  I also appreciated her talent for conveying love and passion in a way that didn’t rely on graphic intimate scenes to make their points.  Less is more in my opinion, and Odiwe strikes the perfect tone in this regard.

There are moments when Odiwe employs a few Austen quotes, but the vast majority of the writing is all her own, and it flows seamlessly with the Austen style.  Jane has done her homework, and it shows—all without sounding too stilted or affected.

Although I own more than one Jane Odiwe title, I’m a bit embarrassed to say that this is the first I’ve read of her work.  My experience with her vision of Jane Austen’s world was very enjoyable, and I look forward to Lydia Bennet’s Story and Willoughby's Return.  If her previous works are anything like Mr. Darcy’s Secret, I’m set for more enjoyable reading.  Let it be no Secret—Jane Odiwe is a welcome addition to my list of preferred Austenesque writers.

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



  1. This sounds so good! I too have Lydia Bennet's story on my shelves and haven't read it yet, but I will definitely get to it soon!

  2. I came from Cym Lowell's Book Review Party Wednesday (BRPW).

    I like it when the author has obviously done his/her research as opposed to some authors' belief that they can just wing it fine. Some authors probably could, but as a reader I hate it when I read a book and it is obvious to me that the author hasn't really got a clue about the subject matter he/she is writing about. Glad to hear that Jane Odiwe is not one of those authors who just wing it.

    Cherry Mischievous
    chericenter-warrior2 [at] yahoo [dot] com

  3. Stopping by from the Cym Lowell book party.
    Looks interesting, thanks for the review.

  4. Stopping by from Cym Lowell's Book Review Party.

    Your book sounds good.

    Stop by my blog for a giveaway of LINEN QUEEN courtesy of Sarah from Hachette is ending this evening, March 23.



Related Posts with Thumbnails