The Perfect Bride for Mr. Darcy by Mary Lydon Simonsen
Publication Date: January 2011
Genre: Jane Austen Fiction
(Received for review from Sourcebooks)
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Purchase from our local independent bookseller: CoffeeTree Books
Borrow from our local library: The Rowan County Public Library
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Excerpt from The Perfect Bride for Mr. Darcy
Synopsis (Book Blurb):
If the two of them weren't so stubborn...
It's obvious to Georgiana Darcy that the lovely Elizabeth Bennet is her brother's perfect match, but Darcy's pigheadedness and Elizabeth's wounded pride are going to keep them both from the loves of their lives.
Georgiana can't let that happen, so she readily agrees to help her not-at-all-snobbish cousin, Anne De Bourgh, do everything within their power to assure her beloved brother's happiness.
But the path of matchmaking never did run smooth...
Jane Austen inspired fiction has captivated the interest of many readers across the world. With sequels, prequels, variations and mash-up's, there is a lot to choose from in this growing area of fiction. It's hard to know which one to pick to read, as there are so many choices. Mary Lydon Simonsen makes it easy with The Perfect Bride for Mr. Darcy! I would consider her stories, variations. She uses Jane Austen's work as a guide and gives us the same wonderful characters and essentially the same story, but with some changes and twists that make it interesting and different.
Mr. Darcy has asked Elizabeth Bennet to marry him. She has refused him because of his arrogance and interference in Jane and Bingley's relationship. This is where The Perfect Bride for Mr. Darcy starts to change from Austen's original, Pride and Prejudice. Darcy could have went on with his life and forgotten Elizabeth or the story could have proceeded just as it did in Austen's book, but that's not what happened. Darcy's cousin, Anne De Bourgh was his intended bride before he met Elizabeth, but that seems to have been her mother's wish, not her own. Anne realizes that Elizabeth is just right for Darcy and she puts a plan in motion to get them back together. She uses Mr. Darcy's sister, Georgiana to help her bring the plan to fruition at Pemberley.
In, The Perfect Bride for Mr. Darcy, Simonsen takes some of Austen's minor characters and gives them a more prominent position in the story. Though Georgiana Darcy is a part of Pride and Prejudice by Austen, we know very little about her character. Simonsen shows us a Georgiana that we may not have been expecting. She's young and care-free, has the curiosity of any teenager. She and Anne become matchmaker's for Darcy and Elizabeth. It's a light-hearted book with lots of wit and heartwarming sentiment. Georgiana's devotion to Darcy is very compelling.
Anne De Bourgh's character is explored in greater detail in Simonsen's book as well. Anne appears to have been "sickly" though we are not told what is wrong with her in Pride and Prejudice. She seemed to be timid and much in the shadow of her overbearing mother, Catherine De Bourgh. In The Perfect Bride for Mr. Darcy she comes out of shell and we see her as a spirited young woman, with determination. She decides that Elizabeth and not she, is Darcy's perfect match and she puts her matchmaking skills to the test as she tries to get them together. But matchmaking doesn't always go the way it's planned and we see Anne and Georgina getting into all kinds of scrapes along the way.
I enjoyed the book very much. It was a much lighter, happier book than I was expecting and it really hit the spot with me. It is certainly what could have happened if Austen had taken a different path. So as a variation, I think it stays true to the original story, while giving us other options to explore. The changes in the overall story did not change the eventual outcome, which we know and love, Darcy still ends up with our beloved Elizabeth. It's always fun to see what would have happened if someone had figured out their attraction to each other and tried to get them together sooner, so this book really brought that possibility to the fore.
I recommend it to lovers of not only Austen inspired fiction, but to Austen lovers as well. You may think that nothing can be as good as Austen, but I have a feeling you might be more open to "change" than you think! Austen "purists" are missing out on a lot of great fiction.
The Perfect Bride for Mr. Darcy is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.
I'm giving this one 4 out of 5 apples from my book bag!
Check my giveaway on sidebar for two copies this book, sponsored by the publisher and my interview with the author!
Mary Lydon Simonsen's first book, Searching for Pemberley, was acclaimed by Booklist, Publisher's Weekly, and Romantic Times. She is well loved and widely followed on all the Jane Austen fanfic sites, with tens of thousands of hits and hundreds of reviews whenever she posts. She lives in Peoria, Arizona.