Mr Darcy Takes a Wife

Written by Linda Berdoll
Review by Mary K. Bird-Guilliams

At 800+ pages, this is a long entry for the guilty pleasure category, but that was my first impression, and it continued throughout the book. Following Darcy and Elizabeth into the bedroom? What a delicious premise. All the characters are back: wicked Wickham, the insufferable Lady Catherine DeBourgh, that annoying sycophant, Mr. Collins. Apparently this reader’s reaction was not an isolated one, as the book was self-published in 1999 and sold 10,000 copies. Now it’s out in trade paper and already selling well in pre-publication. The added characters, scenes, action and description are all carefully drawn from the Regency setting. Some of the extras are not as interesting as Mr. and Mrs. Darcy. It is, after all, they who anchor the book: rich, powerful, beautiful and with integrity, too. All is not too perfect, they suffer, for all their money and opportunities and struggle to deal with the challenges of marriage to each other. While you are never fooled that this is really Jane Austen writing, still Ms. Berdoll does not stray from the realm of possibility so that credibility is not breached, nor is it in any way a satire. Abduction, an illegitimate baby (or two), an ex-mistress, and a dangerous trip to France with Napoleon on the loose are just a few of the plot devices that arise. For all those who enjoy Ms. Austen’s most famous work, as well those who just love a fun and funny old-fashioned adventure novel.