Sunday, July 31, 2011

Book Review: A Wife for Mr. Darcy by Mary Lydon Simonsen

A GENTLEMAN should always render an APOLOGY

When Mr. Darcy realizes he insulted Miss Elizabeth Bennet at the Meryton Assembly, he feels duty bound to seek her out and apologize...

When he has INSULTED a LADY

But instead of meekly accepting his apology, Elizabeth stands up to him, and Darcy realizes with a shock that she is a very different type of lady than he is used to...

Darcy is more intrigued than he's ever been by any young lady, but he's already entangled in a courtship. It's a brutal predicament for a man of honor who only longs to follow his heart...

*          *           *

Fans of Pride and Prejudice are well aware that on more than one occasion, Fitzwilliam Darcy states things he later comes to regret.  We first witness this at the Meryton Assembly where he declares that his future love, Elizabeth Bennet is not “handsome enough” to be tempting.  Like in Jane Austen’s original novel, Mary Lydon Simonsen’s personification of Darcy also comes to regret the statement, but he quickly travels to her home to apologize.  Austen’s original plot is adapted frequently from there, but the themes remain the same.  Darcy lives within a genteel world with social, financial and familial responsibilities, and these issues complicate his journey to happiness with the woman he comes to love.

Earlier this year I read Simonsen’s The Perfect Bride for Mr. Darcy and enjoyed it very much.  The writing is well done, appropriate for the period, but isn’t stilted or difficult to read.  The same can be said for A Wife for Mr. Darcy, but I must admit that I have enjoyed my second experience with this author even more with this latest title.  Darcy and Elizabeth again must dance around the inconveniences of their stations, there is humor and wit in the writing, and I appreciated the lack of extraneous plot points.

I was also pleased at Simonsen’s ability to create romance and sexual tension within the story without revealing ridiculous amounts of detail.  She put a few points out there, and mature readers can easily fill in the blanks.  {SPOILER WARNING} – It was also so refreshing to have a modern author choose to have Darcy and Lizzie’s first time together – gasp! – On their wedding night, not before!!  There were a few steamy details, but given some other things I’ve read in recent years, this novel was tame.  And after all that these characters had been through to be together, it was a welcome moment.  I was genuinely happy for them, for their restraint and for their marital joy. {End Spoiler Moment}

The cast of characters within the story also contributed to its quality.  There are the usual names seen in Austen's original novel, with some given more or less attention than they have in the past.  Georgiana loves to play the little matchmaker and plays a significant role.  However, Lady Catherine De Bourgh is hardly seen at all.  One of Darcy's relatives, Lord Antony Fitzwilliam, is a colorful individual, the life of the party who brings a certain energy with him wherever he goes.  Simonsen augments and diminishes original characters, and brings in new ones, all to great effect, as the plot consistently moves along in a pleasant way. 

If you share my love for Austenesque novels, particularly ones have tones that are true-to-period, both in style and in plot choices, A Wife for Mr. Darcy will be a fine choice for you.  Mary Lydon Simonsen brings new ideas and plot twists to this classic tale, but the characters stay true to their original incarnations.  Darcy is an honorable, proud man.  Lizzie is romantic yet a strong, modern woman.  Wickham is a cad, and Lydia is a fool.   Mr. Collins is painfully loquacious and Jane is Lizzie's confidant. And while all of these characteristics may be expected, A Wife for Mr. Darcy brings new paths, suspense, laughter and romance to this beloved world.  Once again Mary has produced excellent work.  I count this title among my recent favorites and look forward to more work from this talented author.


  1. Laura, Thank you so much for this wonderful review. I'm so glad that you liked it. This will definitely add to the "healing" I need at the moment b/c of a fall. Thanks, Doc! :) Mary

  2. Delightful review, Laura, and big congrats on the terrific novel, Mary!!

  3. Excellent review and I too adore these types of P&P variations that stay true to Austen's voice and time period. I love Mary's books and feel that she just keeps getting better with each book!!

  4. A very thorough review, Laura. You've convinced me to read A Wife for Mr. Darcy. It sounds lovely and romantic.

  5. Thank you Marilyn and Monica. Always good to see my fellow Austen Authors. Staci, I think I am becoming a better writer as well--at least I hope so. Constructive criticism is part of the reason. Thanks everyone.

  6. I think this sounds delightful and everyone raves about Mary's writing! I think I will have to give one of her books a try. I could use a little summer romance! Thanks for marking the spoilers..I didn't read them so I can be surprised. I read a book review the other day where the reviewer gave the whole plot away so I appreciate the spoiler warning!

  7. Beth:

    Her writing is delightful! Check out her website-- she's going to be hosting some giveaways this month:

    Glad the spoiler thing worked for you. I personally wouldn't have minded knowing those details ahead of time, but others might not feel that way. You can come back later and let me know if you agree.

    Thanks for your thoughts!


  8. I loved this book, too. It's one of my favorites in the Austenesque genre.

  9. Sounds like another fun Austen sequel:-) Glad you enjoyed it!

  10. I don't read many of the spin-off books but this one looks good.

  11. Stacy:

    Yes, this one was a good one-- enjoy!




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