Thursday, September 13, 2007

Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife by Linda Berdoll

I have read Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice only once quite recently, and I have seen the movie starring Keira Knightley twice. So I'm not a die-hard fan, but I did love both book and movie. How can anyone not fall in love with the charming, bold Elizabeth Bennet and the mysterious and sexy Mr. Darcy? Their love story is so romantic and entertaining, and the rest of the cast of characters and their antics are hilarious. I, like every other person who loved the story of Elizabeth and Darcy, was glad that they ended up together, but sad that the story ended there. If you're like me, you'd be hungry for a sequel to Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice because you'd just want to know what happens next.

Luckily for me, Linda Berdoll has written a beautiful sequel to Elizabeth and Darcy's romance with her book, Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife. In Pride and Prejudice, we see Elizabeth as a girl flowering into a young woman under Darcy's romantic pursuit of her. In Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife, we see Elizabeth's flower positively blooming when she becomes Mr. Darcy's wife.
Berdoll's sequel is a maturation of Austen's Pride and Prejudice in every sense of the word. It isn't just that the characters mature and evolve in this book (there are some exceptions, I fear Lydia will never mature), although I positively love Berdoll's portrayal of all the notable characters. Berdoll stays true to Austen's characterization, but she brings so much more. Pride and Prejudice is a flowering book, just as Elizabeth was a flowering girl in it, but Berdoll's sequel has bloomed into a beautiful epic.

Everything is more mature, more serious, more dramatic, more adult, more, more, more. Berdoll's sequel is just so much more of Austen's Pride and Prejudice. If you're an Austen purist and you're reading this, you're probably throwing rotten tomatoes at me in your head right now, but it's true, Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife is more! In fact, I'd say it's almost in the same league as Margaret Mitchell's Gone With the Wind. I wouldn't be exaggerating at all, and I would be covered in rotten tomatoes.

I guess this is one book where you will either love it or hate it. In my case, I loved it, which I think is great because it's so much better when you love books than when you hate them, don't you think? There were a few things which bothered me, like Berdoll's use of the language which sometimes didn't seem right to me, but it's not enough to take away from my enjoyment of the book. I loved Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife, and I want more! And being the lucky girl I am, there's more, because Berdoll has written a sequel to this sequel. I will be continuing the exciting story of Darcy and Elizabeth in Darcy & Elizabeth: Nights and Days at Pemberley. I can't wait!


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