Mr. Darcy's Obsession (Pride and Prejudice Variation Series)

Mr. Darcy's Obsession (Pride and Prejudice Variation Series)

3.8 52
by Abigail Reynolds

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The more he tries to stay away from her, the more his obsession grows...

"[Reynolds] has creatively blended a classic love story with a saucy romance novel." -Austenprose

"Developed so well that it made the age-old storyline new and fresh...Her writing gripped my attention and did not let go."-The Romance Studio



The more he tries to stay away from her, the more his obsession grows...

"[Reynolds] has creatively blended a classic love story with a saucy romance novel." -Austenprose

"Developed so well that it made the age-old storyline new and fresh...Her writing gripped my attention and did not let go."-The Romance Studio

"The style and wit of Ms. Austen are compellingly replicated...spellbinding. Kudos to Ms. Reynolds!" -A Reader's Respite

What if...Elizabeth Bennet was more unsuitable for Mr. Darcy than ever...

Mr. Darcy is determined to find a more suitable bride. But then he learns that Elizabeth is living in London in reduced circumstances, after her father's death robs her of her family home...

What if...Mr. Darcy can't Help himself from see king her out...

He just wants to make sure she's alright. But once he's seen her, he feels compelled to talk to her, and from there he's unable to fight the overwhelming desire to be near her, or the ever-growing mutual attraction that is between them...

What if...Mr. Darcy's intentions were shockingly dishonorable...

Editorial Reviews

Readers who can't get enough of Darcy and Elizabeth will find that Reynolds does an admirable job of capturing the feel of the period in this entertaining diversion.
— Kristine Huntley

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Pride and Prejudice Variation Series
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Read an Excerpt

"Missed, damn it!" Bingley handed off his musket without a second glance.

With a frown, Fitzwilliam Darcy accepted an intricately decorated rifle from his loader. "Bingley, is anything the matter? You do not seem yourself."

"I missed the damned bird; that is the matter!" Bingley scowled. Darcy had seen little of Bingley's habitual smiles since his friend had arrived at Pemberley.

"There is no shortage of birds to shoot at." Darcy waited while the handler shooed the spaniel into the brush. A brace of partridge rose obligingly from the trees. He sighted down the barrel and shot. One of the birds plummeted to the ground, and the dog crashed through the brush to retrieve it. "I was surprised your sisters did not accompany you on this visit." It was his only guess as to what might be troubling Bingley.

"I do not care if I ever see them again."

So it was something his sisters had done. Certainly they could be irritating, but it surprised Darcy that they would affect Bingley enough to cause this uncharacteristic fit of ill humour. "Have you quarreled, then?"

Bingley took another shot, hardly bothering to aim, but said nothing until Darcy had his own rifle to his shoulder again. "Do you remember Miss Elizabeth Bennet?"

Darcy's finger tightened involuntarily on the trigger before he braced himself. The rifle recoil knocked him back a step, and his shot went wide. "I remember her, yes," he said brusquely.

"I saw her at Kew Gardens. Did you know she is living in London now?"

Darcy rubbed his shoulder where the rifle had kicked him. He tried to still his racing pulse. Of all the mutual acquaintances Bingley could have named, why did it have to be that one? Darcy had almost put her memory behind him after his last Easter visit to Rosings when he discovered Mr. Collins had left his aunt's employment, thus terminating his only potential source of intelligence about Elizabeth. "No, I had not heard."

"Her father died last autumn, and the estate was entailed away from the family. That idiot cousin of theirs, your aunt's clergyman, inherited. Mrs. Bennet and her daughters moved in with her sister in Meryton, but there was not enough room for all of them, so Miss Elizabeth came to live with her aunt and uncle in Cheapside. She helps them with their children."

"I had not realized there was an entailment." Yet another reason it was fortunate that Elizabeth had returned home from Rosings the previous year to care for her ailing father before Darcy had time to act on his impulse to ask her to marry him. Still, the idea of Elizabeth without a home of her own gave him a tinge of discomfort. He had always imagined her comfortably ensconced at Longbourn. And unmarried. His imagination refused to consider the possibility she might marry another. He watched absently as the handler took the dead partridge from the dog's mouth and dropped it into the game bag.

"She seemed to think I might know about it, and said her sister Jane had written to Caroline and told her the news, but never received a reply. I asked her if Jane was in London as well, and do you know what she told me?"

"I have no idea." He was certain from Bingley's savage tone that it was nothing good.

"A week before their father's death, Miss Bennet accepted an offer of marriage from one of her admirers in Meryton, one who had been thought beneath her consideration, but this way Jane could be in a position to provide for her mother in her old age. My Jane, married to a shopkeeper old enough to be her father." Bingley practically spat the words out. Darcy shook his head. Bingley should be thanking his lucky stars for his narrow escape, and instead he was still pining over the girl two years later. "I hope it will work out well for her."

"Miss Elizabeth told me she had tried to persuade Jane not to do it, because Jane always wanted to marry for love, but she said she could never marry the only man she would ever love, so it mattered little whom she did marry. I could not help but ask what happened to the man she loved. Miss Elizabeth looked me straight in the eye and said, 'He left one day without explanation and never returned.'"

Darcy could picture it all too easily. Elizabeth had never hesitated to speak her mind, and if her sister had truly loved his friend, despite her appearance of indifference, Elizabeth would no doubt resent Bingley for his abandonment. "I am sorry to hear it."

"Not as sorry as I am. Then she asked me if I happened to see her sister when she had been in London the winter before their father died. Apparently Jane had called on Caroline and Louisa, who never saw fit to mention it to me. Caroline claims she did it to protect me." Bingley's bitterness was obvious.

It was just as well Bingley had no clue as to Darcy's interference in the matter. Darcy was not sure he would trust his friend with the information while he had a gun in his hand.

The loader held out a musket to Bingley, but he pushed it away. "I have lost my taste for shooting."

Meet the Author

Abigail Reynolds is a physician and a lifelong Jane Austen enthusiast. She began writing the Pride and Prejudice Variations series in 2001, and encouragement from fellow Austen fans convinced her to continue asking "What if...?" She lives with her husband and two teenage children in Madison, Wisconsin.

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Mr. Darcy's Obsession 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 53 reviews.
sandiek More than 1 year ago
In Mr. Darcy's Obsession, Abigail Reynolds explores the period between Darcy's first wooing of Elizabeth Bennett and their marriage; a time that they were estranged for a while due to Elizabeth's misunderstanding of his intentions. Hard times have fallen on the Bennett family after the death of Mr. Bennett. Jane has married a tradesman to provide some relief for the family; she doesn't love him but honors him and is grateful for his help. She now works in trade herself; a shop that sells ribbons and other lady's accessories. Elizabeth has been sent to her aunt and uncle to serve as a nanny. It is there that Mr. Darcy once again encounters her, and realizes that no matter the difference in social status, she is the only woman he has ever wanted. Although determined to win her for his own, life intervenes. Another Bennett sister, Lydia, has become pregnant out of wedlock, a situation much worse than genteel poverty as it meant the whole family would be socially ostracized, as would anyone who acknowledged them. Mr. Darcy cannot help but contrast this situation with similar ones in his own family and comes to realise that the only difference is the money and power that allowed his relatives to hide their shame. Meanwhile, he becomes more and more disenchanted with the social structure he has always taken for granted, with its huge discrepencies between those with money and the vast majority without. His eyes are opened by the disgraceful actions of his cousin and uncle and their treatment of women, despoiling where they wished, never caring for the aftereffects they condemned the women they picked to. Regardless of the various situations, Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth manage to break through the strictures of society and come to a happy ending. The reader is taken along on their journey, while gaining insight into the day to day life of this period. I was prepared to dislike this book. I'm far too much of a feminist to accept a society where a woman's every move is dictated in advance, and there is little room for advancement or ability to follow interests. But Abigail Reynolds has charmed me with her portrayal. While portraying the romance and the passion that simmered beneath, she hasn't made her characters into ones consumed with passion and sexual desire every minute of the day. Reynold's writing is gentle as the subject but she does not veer away from the inequalities that marred this social setup. I enjoyed a further glance at the backstory of these characters and of daily life in this period. This book is recommended highly for lovers of the Elizabeth Bennett/Fitzwilliam Darcy love story, and for those interested in an insight into this era.
Lizzlett More than 1 year ago
I read this quickly while flying to the Rose Bowl and hate to admit that it was not as enjoyable as all of the previous variations. Perhaps it was due to the fact that there was less passion between Darcy and Lizzy. You sort of come to expect a strong physical relationship based on the author's earlier works and this falls short of the mark somehow. I can't imagine any way that Darcy would stand back and allow a woman he loved struggle as she had to in this rendition. I love all of Reynolds' works and eagerly look forward to another - hopefully we will see a little more romance next time. The title here implies something that never really happens. I also did not like how Colonel Fitzwilliam's family is portrayed here - nasty relatives indeed!
LHedgpeth More than 1 year ago
I considered myself very fortunate to have read what I considered a splendid Pride and Prejudice retelling in Kara Louise's Darcy's Voyage; now, I must considered myself blessed by Jane Austen herself to have read an equally worthy retelling in Abigail Reynolds' "what if" Mr. Darcy's Obsession. Ms. Reynolds takes an especially fertile prospect - -the death of Mr. Bennet putting the Bennet ladies into the hands of relatives due to the entailment on Longbourn and in much reduced circumstances - - and weaves an intriguing and romantic tale. Her obvious affection for the characters of Darcy and Elizabeth permeate each page and, happily, neither characters strays from the path that Jane Austen herself structured two centuries ago. Had Ms. Austen written Pride and Prejudice with the death of Mr. Bennet featuring in the novel, I have no doubts that she would have followed a similar path to the joining of Lizzy and Darcy. I was fascinated by Ms. Reynolds' colorful and decadent details of the immoral side of "ton", which is rarely featured in either Jane Austen's writing or in more contemporary tales of the Regency period. Such descriptions took the story out of the more insulated and protected Longbourn, Pemberley and Netherfield and give the reader a better idea of what actually went on behind closed doors and in certain gentlemen's establishments and clubs. As such, a great deal of the story and action takes place in London, rather than in Hertfordshire. Ms. Reynolds also takes creative license with a few of the secondary characters, with shocking and yet pleasing results, leaving this reader very content with the outcomes. The introduction of characters wholly new or briefly mentioned in Pride and Prejudice is very welcome and adds a satisfying, as well as amusing, new divergence to the story. The writing flows smoothly and Mr. Darcy's Obsession was a relatively quick read, due to my desire to resume the story and learn the resolutions. Austen lovers, including purists, will appreciate the novel take on the beloved classic, as well as additional characterization we get for several of the characters, including Georgiana Darcy and Colonel Fitzwilliam. I would not hesitate to recommend Mr. Darcy's Obsession to any devoted reader of Jane Austen and historical fiction and romance readers. This book easily ranks in my top ten of Austen sequels, that's how enjoyable I found it. I have read a few other Abigail Reynolds books and Mr. Darcy's Obsession is so far my favorite.
Kimberly_Book_Addict More than 1 year ago
Mr. Darcy's Obsession is author Abigail Reynolds' sixth Pride and Prejudice variation, but the first of her novels not previously published independently. Mr. Darcy's Obsession poses the following what-if questions: what if Darcy had never proposed to Elizabeth at Rosings? What if Mr. Bennet died and Mr. Collins took over the entail at Longbourn? What if Elizabeth's situation was lower than ever? Would Mr. Darcy still love her in even lower standards? Mr. Darcy's Obsession picks up two years after Darcy and Elizabeth part company at Rosings. (Darcy never proposed to Elizabeth, owing to her hasty departure to care for her ailing father.) Bingley meets Darcy one day in London telling him that he happened upon Elizabeth and came to find out that Mr. Bennet had died, and that due to the entail on the estate her family was thrust out of Longbourn. Elizabeth now lives with the Gardiners in London, Jane lives with her merchant husband, Mrs. Bennett, Lydia, and Kitty still live in Meryton at Mrs. Phillips house, and Mary is off taking care of an ailing cousin. Darcy declares to himself that he must seek Elizabeth out to make sure she is being properly taken care of. He decides to have an impromptu meeting with her during her morning walk about the park. Their first meeting is all it takes for Darcy to become completely love struck again. Elizabeth begins seeing a new side of Darcy and decides that Wickham must have been wrong about him. (Readers will understand that since Darcy never proposed, Elizabeth never received the letter explaining his actions against Wickham) She begins falling in love with him and Darcy realizes that it doesn't matter what his family or society thinks of him, he can't live without her. Darcy decides to propose to Elizabeth but regretfully miss-states his feelings, thus causing Elizabeth to think he proposed that she be his mistress. She slaps him and runs away distraught that he would ever ask that of her. Elizabeth comes to find out that she misinterpreted everything Darcy said and is deeply distraught over it, for she truly was beginning to fall in love with Darcy. Darcy on the other hand is so depressed thinking that if she could think he would ask her to be his mistress that she could never look upon him with love. The two ill-fated lovers try to engross themselves their lives but can't and wind up missing the other company. Darcy vows he can't live like that anymore and needs Elizabeth. He finds her out in the park one day and rekindles the repartee they had before his proposal. Circumstances arise however that forces Elizabeth to leave London and head back to help her mother and Jane in Meryton. Unlike her other what-if variations Reynolds opted to make this one more about love overcoming all obstacles to tell Elizabeth and Darcy's story, rather than make it a passion heavy story. Some readers will be delighted that there are not heavy sexual sequences in this book as there are some in Reynolds' prior works. Everything in Mr. Darcy's Obsession has a more sensual feel to it. Mr. Darcy's Obsesssion is a work of creative genius. Reynolds has a way of truly being able to change one small piece of Austen's original creations. This book made me love Elizabeth and Darcy all over again. Elizabeth for her strength and Darcy for his tenacity and unwillingness to let Elizabeth have anything less than she deserved. He is truly a caring and thoughtful character. Kimberly (Reflections of A Book Addict)
MichelleSutton More than 1 year ago
I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this story. In fact, I found it difficult to put down. Unlike some of the official comments I read, this book wasn't steamy at all. It was very romantic and pulse-pounding, but in a very innocent way. The cover is gorgeous, but it makes Elizabeth Bennet look kind of seductive. I didn't get that sense at all from this story. I loved the way this story felt so true to the time period, and how different Mr. Darcy was from some of his relations. There ...more I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this story. In fact, I found it difficult to put down. Unlike some of the official comments I read, this book wasn't steamy at all. It was very romantic and pulse-pounding, but in a very innocent way. The cover is gorgeous, but it makes Elizabeth Bennet look kind of seductive. I didn't get that sense at all from this story. I loved the way this story felt so true to the time period, and how different Mr. Darcy was from some of his relations. There were many surprises that occurred in this story, too, and they were delightfully executed. (Sheesh, that even sounds like I'd recently read an Austenesque-type book.) I have to say that reading this book has given me a greater understanding of why many women find Mr. Darcy so heroic. If he was anything like this portrayal in the original story written by Jane Austen, it's no wonder women swoon when they hear his name. He was everything noble and good, but the way his character was developed was also believable. Her showed through his numerous actions that he wasn't a wretched cur like some of his other rich associations. I loved that he didn't give a whit about what his family said, but yet he always tried to do the right thing. Even agonized over his decisions at times. Regarding the romantic elements in this story, there wasn't much lip contact at all. But what little kissing did occur was portrayed to make the reader a bit breathless. That was well done even though the kisses were brief. I'm not sure how the reader did that. I think it had to do with the tension and expectation the author used to set the scene. Very impressive. Last, I was pleased at how moral this story was for a book that is not Christian fiction. The undertones were clear that immoral behavior was never honorable and doing the right thing, though painful at times, what priority. Mr. Darcy was even a bit of a savior in one young woman's life. At times, some of the description was a bit more detailed than you'd see in Christian fiction, but nothing was over the top or offensive, in my opinion. So if you love Austen-themed stories, you will no doubt enjoy this remix of Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy's relationship. I know I did.
Crystal_Kido More than 1 year ago
This is a wonderful book that is full of entertaining characters and surprises that will keep you reading until the end.
LuvMrDarcy More than 1 year ago
This one is ok... It's very short, I breezed right through it. I mostly didn't like Jane being married to someone else. If you like P&P "what if" stories that don't have "steamy" scenes in them, you would probably like this one. I just wished there was more to it! I recommend "Impulse and Iniative" which has now been renamed "To Conquer Mr. Darcy."
C_Rich More than 1 year ago
I'm used to sexuality being a major theme of AG's P&P variations. This is not the case in this book. The Bennet family struggles throughout the story following the death of Mr. Bennet. The stress and pain demonstrated by the characters are almost tangible (which drew me in from the beginning). Darcy's reaction to Elizabeth's situation is more in line with arrogant Darcy in Austen's P&P; however, he just cannot stay away from her making the story heart-wrenching and enjoyable simultaneously.
SusanM-M More than 1 year ago
"Mr. Darcy's Obsession" is Abigail Reynolds first new book in what seems like way too long. Her other "Pride and Prejudice" alternate stories are excellent and this one's no exception. After the wait, I was definitely not disappointed. In Obsession, Darcy never has a chance to propose to Elizabeth and leaves Rosings with an aching heart. Nearly a year later he learns that Mr. Bennet has died leaving the family in dire financial straits. Circumstances have forced Jane to marry a local shopkeeper, and Elizabeth is living in London as nanny for her aunt and uncle's children. Now her situation is even more beneath Darcy's than before. His head struggles with his heart. What will he do? Although he knows he should stay away, Darcy can't help himself. At first he tells himself he'll just check on her, but when the opportunity presents itself, he "accidentally" runs into her in the park. After some long talks, Elizabeth begins to see another side to Darcy, but as expected many misunderstandings ensue which threaten to separate them forever. In spite of the many opportunities Darcy has to walk away, he looks into those fine eyes and he's lost again. What I love most about Abigail Reynolds is the way she brings Darcy and Elizabeth to life. After reading one of her books I feel as if I've just stepped back into the world they inhabit and we've had a good chat. The dialogue between them is a delight to read. Elizabeth continues to be witty and down to earth while Darcy is becoming more human as he learns to put the needs of his heart ahead of the approval of parts of his family and society. Ms. Reynolds has also added some interesting, lively new characters to the mix as well as breathing life into some who are mentioned in P&P but never developed. They seem so real that they fit right in. Clearly, this author has great affection for her characters. In fact, I'd say she's somewhat obsessed with Darcy and Elizabeth - and I'm glad of it. I'll be anxiously awaiting my next opportunity for a visit to Pemberley, and in the meantime, I'll have to satisfy myself with rereading some of the author's earlier books.
DarcyLizzy More than 1 year ago
I gave this book 5 stars because it is extremely well-written, and a suspenseful page turner. That said, it is a dark and realistic portrail of British classest society, and shows the unfortunate consequences of not being born into wealth, especially for women. The book was well laid out and complex. The one thing I did not like about the book was Darcy and Elizabeth's wedding, which didn't go in a romantic way. However, did it go in a realistic way for the circumstances? Probably, given the additional characters she created in the book and their personalities and attitudes. I disagreed that Darcy would have had anything to do with his evil Uncle at the epilogue, but other than that, it was extremely well done. This book does not have graphic romantic scenes in it, but it's not for children as the themes are too adult and there are discussions and treatment of women, which, while true to the time period, were not pleasant. Darcy is a great man in this book, who rises above the confines and bias of his class, and that makes the book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
So wonderfully addicted to this different version of the clasic Pride and Prejudice! Will read this book over and over I give this story two thumbs up!!!!!!
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I enjoy reading sequels and variations of books I love... and I really loved the original and also the movie. I thought this book was worth reading. I am a little disappointed Darcy allowed Elizabeth to struggle for so long but it works out in the end and in some ways it shows the growth of Darcy as a person.
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