Darcy and Elizabeth: Nights and Days at Pemberley
Darcy and Elizabeth, sequel to Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife, Berdoll’s conception of the aftermath of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, begins immediately where its predecessor left off. Darcy has returned from Waterloo to find Elizabeth has given birth to twins; his sister has been impregnated by his best friend; his father-in-law has died; and his sister-in-law, Lydia, believing her husband, Wickham, to have been killed at Waterloo, is enjoying widowhood with the same self-centeredness as always. This is all more like a modern soap opera than anything ever conceived by Miss Austen, who, being who she was, did not write explicit sex scenes. There are many minor characters, subplots, coincidences, twists and turns that keep the story moving at a fast pace.
Berdoll has written a strong, imaginative, often entertaining story. As in her previous novel, she tries to capture Miss Austen’s original voice with interjections of archaic phrases and convoluted sentence structure. Since most of the current editions of Miss Austen’s works are abridged to allow modern readers a smoother, more enjoyable experience, this seems more conceit than homage.