Darcy & Elizabeth (Fall River Press Edition): Nights and Days at Pemberley
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Darcy & Elizabeth (Fall River Press Edition): Nights and Days at Pemberley

3.7 91
by Linda Berdoll
     
 

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“It is a truth universally acknowledged,” Jane Austen wrote, “that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.” But after marriage—then what? In Darcy & Elizabeth, Linda Berdoll imagines a future for the characters of Austen’s beloved classic Pride and Prejudice that is full of drama,

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Overview

“It is a truth universally acknowledged,” Jane Austen wrote, “that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.” But after marriage—then what? In Darcy & Elizabeth, Linda Berdoll imagines a future for the characters of Austen’s beloved classic Pride and Prejudice that is full of drama, danger—and desire.

It is several years since the felicitous union of Elizabeth Bennet and the dashing Fitzwilliam Darcy at  the conclusion of Austen’s novel, and the couple are settling down to a life of domestic bliss, raising their twin infants at the Pemberley estate. All should be happy at home and hearth—but dark clouds
loom on the horizon of Derbyshire. On the continent, the Napoleonic Wars are raging, and Wickham, Lydia Bennet’s despicable husband, has returned miraculously from his presumed death with vengeance in his heart toward Darcy and all whom he holds dear. Meanwhile, haughty Lady Catherine de Bourgh, still stung by her nephew’s betrothal to Elizabeth, schemes scandalously to unite their families’ bloodlines.

Readers who enjoyed Jane Austen’s timeless tale of romance and respectability will thrill to the unbridled emotion and wild abandon of this modern sequel. Darcy & Elizabeth is a tale of pride, prejudice, and passion.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Berdoll's second lighthearted romp through Jane Austen's Pride & Prejudice set (following Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife) turns nasty. Things start off sweetly as the terminally dignified Darcy returns from the continent to greet wife Elizabeth and the twins she has borne in his absence. Despite initial annoyance engendered by Elizabeth's recuperation, during which sex is rather out of the question, hearth and home soon return to normal. However, dealing with Darcy's conniving aunt, Lady De Bourgh, as well as the machinations of his troublesome sister-in-law, Lydia, and his arch-rival and nemesis Wickham (here truly evil), threaten their domestic happiness. Elizabeth takes all this circumspectly but with keen concern; between bouts of marital jollity, she provides Darcy with wise and commendable counsel. The story is thick in period trappings and language; the secondary characters and tangential story lines are Dickensian to a fault and the ending is very deus ex machina. But Berdoll's take on Darcy & Co. contains enough pleasures to overcome overwriting and underplotting. (May) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Berdoll's sequel to Jane Austen's seminal Pride and Prejudice, Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife, took up where Austen's book left off, addressing world events-e.g., Waterloo, political unrest, the Corn Laws-and the physical passion and daily intimacies between husband and wife. Darcy and Elizabeth continues the saga, following the Bennet sisters through the trials and tribulations of parenthood and the deaths of certain family members. Purists will take exception to Berdoll's language, which, while it captures Austen's ironic flavor, is sprinkled with anachronisms; her characters, however, are dead on. Austen fans will delight in learning more about Darcy and Elizabeth's relationship and will find themselves intrigued by all of Austen's original characters and enchanted by the new ones. [For those who can't get enough Jane Austen knockoffs, see also Elizabeth Aston's The True Darcy Spirit, Paula Marantz Cohen's Jane Austen in Scarsdale, and Laura Horowitz's The Family Fortune.-Ed.]-Cynthia Johnson, Cary Memorial Lib., Lexington, MA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
There are Jane Austen fans, and there are Jane Austen spin-off fans. Sometimes they merge, but probably not while reading Berdoll's bawdy second novel about the Darcys (Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife, 2004). In 1815, Elizabeth Darcy, nee Bennet, gives birth to twins just as Mr. Darcy returns to Pemberley Hall from the battlefield of Waterloo, where he'd gone to rescue his sister Georgiana, who was nursing her beloved cousin Fitzwilliam. Now, deeply wounding Darcy's sense of propriety, Georgiana confesses that a hasty marriage must be arranged; a weak and befuddled Fitzwilliam obliges only to discover that she has fibbed about her deflowerment, let alone her pregnancy. Elizabeth's sisters Jane and Lydia have their share of problems as well. Jane's husband Bingley has strayed, briefly but long enough to father a child. Meanwhile, England's post-war political and economic woes have endangered his finances. As for Lydia, her wicked husband Wickham is assumed dead on the battlefield. So when she finds herself inconveniently with child, Lydia finds a new husband, the relatively decent Major Kneebone, only to have Wickham reappear. Then there is Darcy's impossible Aunt Catherine, whose desire to unite the family fortune causes mischief minor and major, bordering on tragic. As for Elizabeth and Darcy, their big drama concerns the frequency and picturesque locales of their connubial relations. Derdoll spares no effort in describing period details, but the tone has little to do with Austen's restrained understated social commentary. The continual couplings echo 18th-century sexual ribaldry (and 21st-century romance novels) while the plot reads like a Dickens or Thackeray knock off, particularly in thedownward spiral of wicked Wickham, whose capacity to bear and desert bastards must set some kind of literary record. Not without charm, but too bloated and overheated to be enjoyed as light-hearted fun.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781435123908
Publisher:
Sterling
Publication date:
04/12/2010
Series:
Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife Series, #2
Pages:
429
Product dimensions:
9.42(w) x 6.48(h) x 1.39(d)

Read an Excerpt

Come live with me, and be my love,
And we will some new pleasures prove,
Of golden sands, and crystal brooks,
With silken lines, and silver hooks.
-John Donne

The inestimable Jane Austen had penned only six books when she died in 1817 at age forty-one. Pride and Prejudice, her third work, was published in 1813 and has been judged by many to be the finest novel in the English language. The story of the courtship of the beautiful and spirited Elizabeth Bennet and the handsome but haughty Mr. Darcy is as brilliant as it is brief.

As remarkable a writer as she was, Miss Austen wrote only of what a respectable unmarried woman in Regency society would be privy to. Therefore, Pride and Prejudice concludes with the nuptials. Regrettably, in ending her story upon the very cusp of what undoubtedly would be a marriage of unrivalled passion, she has gifted many of her readers with an unfortunate case of literary coitus interruptus.

This hunger has spawned a prolificacy of sequels-most attempting to replicate the original in restraint, if not wit. Readers of sequels seem to fall into two categories-those who are longing to learn what Darcy might have whispered into Lizzy's ear in their nuptial chamber, and those who fall into a swoon at the notion of such heresy.

If you, dear reader, happen to fall into the latter category, we offer this caution before you read further: Hang onto your bonnet, you're in for a bumpy ride.

As our story recommences, all should be bliss within the Darcy household. At long last, Lizzy has birthed an heir and Darcy is again by her side. Motherhood, however, has not only rendered her busy and distracted, childbirthitself has left her temporarily "indisposed."Although Darcy's heart aches for what his Lizzy has endured, it is not the throbbing of his heart that is most troubling to his serenity-it is the palpable pain in his loins...

Chapter 1: New Pleasures Proved

To all the world the month of June in the year of our Lord, 1815 would come to be known as the season of Waterloo. To the members of the Darcy household, it would be called that, but not remembered as such. Far too many other events of greater personal importance to them had transpired to remember it so simply.

Although France was the conquered, England paid a harsh price for its victory. The county of Derbyshire was not immune to that heavy toll. So vast were the repercussions, they were felt even within the usually impenetrable walls of Pemberley. Lives were lost, marriages brought about, and babies born all in the space of a few months.

Having weathered these many woes within the bosom of her very own family, Elizabeth Darcy felt exquisitely compensated by the two babes nestled in her arms. Indeed, that her husband had survived war, quarantine, brigands, and pestilence and returned to her whole was all she desired.What wiles he employed and whose auspices he availed himself of as he trekked through the battlefields and drawing rooms of France to accomplish his mission of rescuing his sister was of no importance to her.

Of even less concern was that the emissary he chose to send word to her of his progress was a woman with whom he had once shared uncommon intimacy. Indeed, when at last he had returned to his wife's waiting arms, all question of his connexion with that beautiful woman was forgot. At least at first, but not for long.

Of even less importance was whether George Wickham was actually dead and buried or was gallivanting about the Continent.

Whilst Wickham's fate remained unknown, there were other vexations. What with Mrs. Darcy labouring to withstand a growing curiosity (approaching to eclipse the Alps in dimension) as to just what went on between her husband and his fetching French emissary, and Mr.Darcy labouring with equal vigour to withstand a desire for his nursing wife aroused to a similar degree, a dance of uncommon peculiarity commenced.

It extended well into the next year.

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Meet the Author

Linda Berdoll is the author of Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife, another sequel to Pride and Prejudice, as well as Very Nice Ways to Say Very Bad Things.

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