Reader Raves for Being Mrs Darcy
A Five-Star Read!
I greatly enjoyed Being Mrs Darcy and it’s one of my new favorites! It’s a delightfully long five-star read!
Elizabeth prevents Wickham from eloping (really, kidnapping) with Georgiana but the events are witnessed by neighbors and the gossip ultimately leads to Mr Darcy and Elizabeth being forced into marriage with each other.
My feelings toward forced marriage scenarios are mixed at times; I enjoy them but they need to be handled delicately, which this novel does quite well.
The relationship between E and D was tense at first and my heart was heavy at times with sadness for Elizabeth’s situation. There was much effort being made on Elizabeth’s side to impress the Darcy and Fitzwilliam families, which impressed Mr Darcy and makes him slowly realize Elizabeth’s worth.
Reading along as Darcy’s admiration of Elizabeth grows was spectacular. Elizabeth’s confused feelings were absolutely natural and felt very real. Our dear couple doesn’t recognize the slow burn of love building up in them, but you the reader definitely will!
I loved the resolution to the story.
-- Raven Kuehn
This Book Delivers!
This is a fresh variation on the much-loved P&P story. This story throws canon out the window from a plot point perspective right from the start; instead it focuses on the character growth that takes place during the course of the relationship between ODC, which to me is the heart and soul of the P&P story. The misunderstandings at the beginning of Darcy and Lizzy's relationship, the explosive confrontation of the Hunsford proposal (in this story, an argument on a cold December morn), the personal reflection both Lizzy and Darcy undertake after the argument, and the growth and change each have to take on within themselves to come together for a truly believable happily ever after is what keeps me coming back to this story over and over, and this book delivers.
While seemingly focused on Elizabeth's experiences after a forced marriage to Darcy, the best part of this book for me was being able to read, from Darcy's point of view, of his struggles with his own arrogance and conceit and the change that he undergoes after his marriage to Elizabeth as he starts to respect and then ardently love her. Experiencing this redemption from Darcy's point of view is what really drew me into this story.
The story starts with a forced marriage between Lizzy and Darcy after Lizzy steps in late one night to defuse a confrontation between Wickham and Georgiana in Ramsgate. Wickham runs off, Darcy shows up, and while saving Georgiana's reputation, Lizzy ruins her own. The ruination situation seems over the top, and I found it hard to believe that Lizzy would have been ruined from talking with an unknown man and woman on the street, but the neighbors saw and the rumors spread, and so her and Darcy are forced to marry.
The first part of the story is about the beginning of the marriage. Darcy is cold and arrogant, Georgiana is mean and selfish, Darcy's family (with one exception) is unaccepting, while Elizabeth tries to do the best she can to become a good mistress of Pemberley. While Elizabeth's strong character and good sense guide her as she steps into the role, the first third of the book lost the light-hearted, "dearly love to laugh" element to her personality, which I sorely missed as I was reading. Fortunately at about 35%, the book switches focus and starts to include Darcy's POV, and that to me is where the story really gets interesting and engaging. After an argument (standing in for the Hunsford proposal confrontation) we see Darcy's journey through anger, denial, realization, redemption, and finally get to see him fall in love with Elizabeth and work to gain her trust and love.
This is a story of Darcy's family, not Elizabeth's. Familiar characters are absent or greatly reduced (although they aren't really missed). Bingley barely shows up, although Caroline is there briefly to help Darcy see how arrogant he has been. There are a lot of secondary characters introduced, Darcy's family and Pemberley neighbors, which I sometimes found hard to keep track of (or care about). My favorite of these new faces is Sterling (Darcy's older cousin on the Fitzwilliam side) who accepts and supports Elizabeth almost from the start; he provides a shot of humor here and there as he stands up to his family and Darcy in Elizabeth's defense. Georgiana has a much bigger part to play in this story, and is a brat. I did struggle with this part of the plot; while the deceitfulness and bitchiness was necessary to create a major conflict and the tension in the story, it seemed forced that she was really that spoiled and dead-set against Elizabeth, and then again forced when she finally came around out of thin air at the very end of the story. I actually preferred how the plot line with Mr. Bennet (sharing villain duties here with Georgiana by forcing the marriage and then rejecting Elizabeth) wrapped up with a vague truce that Darcy fails to believe but grudgingly accepts for Elizabeth's sake.
Overall I really enjoyed this book, and I look forward to reading more from this author.
Five stars. Angst meter: High to Extreme.
Ramsgate! Anyone who knows anything about Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice will immediately cringe at the very name of that seaside town. We all know what happened at Ramsgate. Our author, Lucy Marin, tweaked the story a bit by having Mr. Bennet, Jane and Elizabeth residing at Ramsgate for Jane’s health. One dreadful night Elizabeth Bennet interceded between a young girl being imposed upon by an older man. When the girl’s brother arrived all you-know-what hit the fan. The consequences for Elizabeth’s rashness caused a scandal that involved the Bennet and Darcy families and resulted in a forced marriage between Elizabeth and the girl’s brother, Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy of Pemberley. At this point they hardly knew each other and neither were thrilled at being forced into anything let alone marriage to a stranger.
Mr. Bennet was furious with Lizzy; she should have minded her own business. Mr. Darcy was furious with George Wickham; how dare he even consider speaking to Georgiana, let alone attempting what he did. Darcy, although grateful to Elizabeth for helping his sister, was furious at being forced into a marriage with someone so decidedly beneath him. Again, JAFF fans will recognize echoes of his opinion of the Bennets in the canon pre-DHP [Disastrous Hunsford Proposal] and before she enlightened him as to his arrogance and his selfish… etc. etc.
Throughout a great portion of this long story, we have Elizabeth walking on egg-shells around Pemberley, Darcy, Georgiana, the Darcy relations, the Fitzwilliam relations, the Derbyshire neighbors, his dogs, and his horses. Well, maybe not those last two. Poor Elizabeth had no life of her own and she felt isolated and constantly under scrutiny among Darcy’s friends and family. She could not receive ANY of her relations. Her father refused to send Jane to her for six months and yet, through it all, Elizabeth attempted to make the best of her situation. Darcy on the other hand, I wanted to tweak his pointy little head. Grrr!
This was a multi-thread story with Darcy, Elizabeth, and Georgiana all trying to make the best of a horrible situation [Ok, a train wreck], in their own way. The problem with that? None of them were on the same track.
“Teenagers. Everything is so apocalyptic.” –Kami Garcia, Beautiful Creatures
Georgiana: little harridan… mini Lady Catherine [if you can imagine] in her attitude and condescension. Petulant 15-year-old wallowing in the worst throes of teenage hormones and angst. She was a child in a woman’s body. She wanted what she wanted but when things didn’t go as it should, she reverted to the teen-angst of someone much younger. Spoiled, self-centered, self-absorbed and wholly ‘the world revolves around me’ attitude. Stubborn, petulant, and failed to take responsibility for her own actions. She had her two male guardians wrapped around her little finger until she got cocky and slipped up in her half-truths… ah, heck… she lied a blue streak. Everything was the fault of someone else… namely Elizabeth Bennet. She refused to call her a Darcy, she didn’t deserve the title. Georgiana considered herself the heroine of her own novel. Her being punished was so not fair. La!! The confrontation between her and her brother was the best, EVER. He was horrified when he learned of her actions
“A monster. You and your friends, all of you. Pretty monsters. It’s a stage all girls go through. If you’re lucky you get through it without doing any permanent damage to yourself or anyone else.” –Kelly Link
Angst meter: set at high to extreme. We spend a lot of time in the heads of our characters. Darcy was angry and his attitude and feelings demonstrated that fact. Elizabeth spent her time simply existing in a situation nearly unendurable. As far as Georgiana was concerned, she was full of teenage angst to the point of being a little snot that needed to shipped to another planet until she grew up. The little termagant was horrid to everyone when her relations didn’t give her all the attention, she felt she deserved. This was a long story and that page-time loitering in the heads of Darcy and Elizabeth grew a bit tedious as they worked their way toward their understanding, forgiveness, and reconciliation. Grrr! We would read about their experience, then Elizabeth would think how to understand it better. Then we would be in Darcy’s head as he ruminated over the same situation. It could have been trimmed. I wanted more romance time and less angst over their misunderstanding. There was also no epilogue so I have no idea what happened with any of the characters. We were pointed in a direction for their futures but, who knows?
I received an ARC from Quills & Quartos Publishing with no expectations of a review positive or otherwise. The views expressed are my own thoughts. I had originally read this on one of the fanfiction forums and had given it 5-stars at the time. My thoughts have not changed.
One of the best forced marriage scenarios around! Elizabeth, along with her sister and father, are visiting Ramsgate when she interferes in Georgiana’s intended elopement. Rumors abound forcing the marriage. This scenario is unique because Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy don’t know each other--and neither wants the marriage. The story focuses on Elizabeth's attempts to be the best Mrs. Darcy she can be. Georgina, however, remains a petulant and even, at times, malicious teenager. This story was beautifully written. The flowing prose leads the reader through the emotional highs and lows of our couple’s journey to happiness. I enjoyed this story immensely.
I Applaud the Author
No good deed goes unpunished. ~ Oscar Wilde
Elizabeth Bennet’s good deed? Overhearing a man and a girl in a heated argument and interfering to save the young lady. Elizabeth Bennet’s punishment? She must marry the girl’s brother to forestall scandal involving both families.
"In the long run wives are to be paid in a peculiar coin — consideration for their feelings. As it usually turns out this is an enormous, unthinkable inflation few men will remit, or if they will, only with a sense of being overcharged. ~ Elizabeth Hardwick
Elizabeth’s husband, one Fitzwilliam Darcy, is so convinced that Elizabeth is the only one to gain from their marriage that he shows no consideration for her feelings at all. Oh, he arranges for his Aunt to take her shopping for a wardrobe that won’t disgrace the family. He allows her to redecorate the mistress’ quarters which haven’t been used since Lady Anne Darcy’s death. He arranges a suitable horse for her and instructs his grooms to give her riding lessons. It never once occurs to him to attend to her riding lessons himself, much less to ride with her. After all, a wardrobe is all a wife wants, isn’t it?
Quote from the book: She should be pleased with her situation, and she is. He brushed aside such minor irritations as Miss Simms’s insult; Elizabeth had too much wit to mind what such a ridiculous lady said. She gained a great deal by our marriage, and she is the envy of many, to be my wife and mistress of Pemberley. I am glad she can appreciate it.
Even worse attitude comes from her new sister-in-law who is not a sweet, shy little soul. Imagine, Elizabeth removed one day from a home with four sisters with varying degrees of sense, nurture, and boisterousness and placed in a house (not at all a home) with a cold, detached husband and an openly hostile new sister. Her extended family ranges from Lady Catherine and Anne de Bourgh who feel cheated by her scheming ways to the Fitzwilliams who worry only for their own social position. In a switch from the usual JAFF variation, Colonel Fitzwilliam is less sympathetic to Elizabeth than his older brother Sterling, the Viscount.
Quote from the book: If she dared, she would tell them that she had no wish to be part of their family, and ask that they get on with deciding how they would trick society into believing she and Darcy had married for love, and that his relations were delighted with the match.
"If you are afraid of loneliness, don't marry. ~ Anton Chekhov
After a brief stay in London, the Darcys journey to Pemberley where Elizabeth tries her best to learn her duties as Mistress of such a large estate. The first person to notice the new Mrs. Darcy had redeeming qualities was Mrs. Reynolds. Other characters took much longer, in part because of certain inexactitudes – lies – Georgiana conveyed to them.
Darcy is convinced the issues between his wife and his sister are being created by his wife.
Quote from the book: I shall observe them over the next week. If they are not then being more companionable, I shall remind Elizabeth she must make more of an effort. After all, Georgiana is young and naturally reserved, and it has been a difficult time for her. Elizabeth will have to be understanding and be the one to extend a friendly hand.
At last … we arrive at the Hunsford Moment which in this case was at Pemberley.
Separation follows. What will it take for Darcy to finally see a viewpoint other than his own?
Quote from the book: “I do not care,” Sterling said slowly, “who her father is, or how the rest of her family acts. There is nothing wrong with Elizabeth’s manner, and, lest anyone has forgotten, let me remind you that she is Mrs. Darcy because of something Georgiana did. Elizabeth prevented Georgiana from ruining her reputation, if not her life, and dragging us all into scandal.”
Yeah, you tell ‘em, Sterling!
This is another story that has been hidden at a Fan Fiction site for years. It is well-edited and proofread. I applaud the author and Quills and Quartos for making this available to many more readers and recommend it to anyone who enjoys JAFF. (I received an early copy of this book with no promise of a review, good or bad.)
"The marriage of convenience has this to recommend it: we are better judges of convenience than we are of love. ~ Mignon McLaughlin