Impulse and Initiative: A Pride and Prejudice Variation
“What if Mr. Darcy didn’t take no for an answer?” is the premise of this speculative work. After reading it, the answer that comes to mind is, “Then at least this novel would never have been written.” Reynolds’ work focuses primarily on feelings—Darcy’s for Elizabeth, Elizabeth’s for Darcy—rather than action or true situational or character conflict. In this re-telling, Darcy morphs from the curt and enigmatic gentleman of Austen’s novel to a neurotic and self-absorbed suitor. Elizabeth, no longer ebullient and charming, is actually dull, with a tendency to over-internalize everything that occurs in a decidedly 21st century fashion.
An apparent assumption that the reader knows and remembers everything about the characters and locations of the original results in very little description, detail, or development. The most significant scene, wholly improbable for the era or the individuals, places Elizabeth and Darcy in a bedchamber. And not only once.
Reynolds strives to replicate her predecessor’s graceful sentences, and though her writing shows skill, these passages contain neither the wit nor the pith of Austen’s work. While such a comparison is unfair, other authors have succeeded in Austen re-creations. Unfortunately, this one does not rise to their standard.