Monday, April 12, 2010

Review: The Other Mr. Darcy

The Other Mr. Darcy
By Monica Fairview
Publication date: October 2009
My rating: ****

My review:

After the wedding of Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy, Caroline Bingley has an uncharacteristic breakdown, sobbing over her broken heart in the library at Pemberly. What she doesn't know is that Darcy's American cousin Robert Darcy is also in the library. She is mortified to find that she had an audience to her grief and is certain that Robert will expose her folly but he keeps her secret and she is relieved believing that she won't ever see him again. One year later however, Robert Darcy is once more back in Caroline's life and unexpected circumstances force them together. Can she trust this man who is so different from his cousin?

I normally do not like Pride and Prejudice spinoffs because I am always disappointed by them so I had really low expectations for this book. I was surprised to find that I actually enjoyed reading The Other Mr. Darcy. There were even times when I laughed out loud. I really liked the character of Robert Darcy. He has a good sense of humor and is not proud and stuffy like Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice. The banter between Robert and Caroline was thoroughly enjoyable. The Caroline Bingley that we meet in this novel however is very different from the Caroline Bingley of Pride and Prejudice. In the original work, Caroline is this spiteful and arrogant woman who enjoys insulting Elizabeth Bennet and making cutting remarks about the Bennet family. Here however, she is close to her new sister-in-law, Jane and even develops a friendship with Elizabeth. While I probably wouldn't have liked her as a protagonist if she was the mean character I met in Pride and Prejudice I do miss the barbs. It is like a cat that has been declawed.

Other major characters from Pride and Prejudice make appearances. Elizabeth Darcy is very different in this novel. She has just suffered a miscarriage and is physically frail but her personality is also lacking its usual sparkle. Mr. Darcy is closer to the original character but still somewhat tamed. Of course the changes can be explained by the difficulties and loss they have gone through but it is still disappointing. Lydia Wickham is as annoying as usual, just like Mrs. Bennet who complains of her poor nerves. Mr. Bennet, Mary, and Kitty all appear the same although Mr. Bennet pays more attention to his daughters' foibles. Louisa Hurst thankfully is just as horrible as she was in Pride and Prejudice.

The relationship between Robert and Caroline works really well though it lacks the electricity that is seen with Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy. The reader comes to understand Caroline Bingley's behavior and we see how she has grown over the year between the events of P&P and the events in this novel. I genuinely liked her character even though I did miss the claws. I think the novel succeeds because the focus is not on the Bennet/Darcy marriage. The introduction of an original character as the love interest also helps. If you are a Pride and Prejudice diehard fan you probably wouldn't enjoy any sequel or spinoff and you might want to skip this. However if you are okay with the idea of a novel focusing on other characters and the changes don't bother you, give The Other Mr. Darcy a try. It is a well written romance novel with a likeable version of Caroline Bingley and a delightful hero. I would definitely prefer the refreshing openness and kindness of Robert Darcy to his reserved British cousin!


  1. I've never read a Pride and Prejudice spin-off, but I've read the actual book, of course. Since I've been hearing a lot about these types of books recently I've been very interested in reading one. Maybe I'll give this one a shot!

  2. I can't read these Jane Austen spinoffs, but I am glad that you enjoyed it. Caroline without the bitchiness definitely seems a bit weird

  3. Enjoyed reading your review, Christina. I'm glad you liked Robert Darcy!


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