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Book Review: Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife by Linda Berdoll

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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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About Betty Wong

Betty Wong grew up studying natural health and nutrition and is now a certified Master Herbalist. She believes that the health of the body, mind, and spirit are intrinsically linked and that nurturing all aspects of the self is essential to achieving true health. She is a naturally curious person who likes to ask questions and look for creative and unusual answers. She is also an avid reader and writer, and enjoys crafting in her free time.
  • http://katiesreading.blogspot.com Katie McNeill

    I picked this one up and tried to read it. I really did, and I wanted to like it too. But I felt that she didn’t stay true to Austen’s characters. It would have been better if she hadn’t called them Lizzy and Darcy. I hated what she did to them! I guess your right though, either you love or hate it.

  • http://justbetty.blogspot.com Betty Wong

    Hi Katie, sorry you didn’t like the book. Didn’t Austen called them Lizzy and Darcy too? I thought she did. There are quite a number of other Pride and Prejudice sequels and Austen related books, have you read and liked any of the others?

  • Joanna

    I have read this book and found it amazing!!! Mr. Darcy is ten times more romantic, and I caught myself going Awe outloud alot. Pure Jane Austen fans will not like this book. I am getting Darcy & Elizabeth friday!!! If you are looking for the story to get more intense in every way go for it! If you want a book exactly how Austen would have written it I wouldn’t reccomend reading this one. This book also answers alot of specifics in the past Austen left unsaid.

  • Judy

    I loved this book so much I couldn’t put it down . I started it Saturday afternoon and finished it by late Sunday. I was on my seat whenever they were together, wondering what would happen next.My heart broke for them when they were sad. I then went out Tuesday and picked up Darcy & Elizabeth. I am hoping for a third book to let me what happens now. Will there be another book???

  • Your Worshipfulness

    I absolutely hated the book, perhaps because I’m a Literature major and a Jane Austin purist. The book just wasn’t tasteful, and I’m not talking about the sex alone. The whole tone was lowering, seemingly more in keeping with the court of King Henry VIII than the Regency Era. I don’t know who the author was trying to fool, but the ‘erotica’ in the novel was lurid and off-putting- describing mediocre sex and then adding a bunch of exclamation points doesn’t automatically elevate it to ‘passionate’. Darcy’s suddenly becoming a nymphomaniac was almost as implausible as a nobody from London somehow daring to transcend dozens of class barriers and even aspire to gaze lustfully at Mrs. Darcy.

    This book evinces little to no understanding of romance, sex, or Jane Austin.

  • leta

    I’m a huge Jane Austen fan, especially when it comes to Pride and Prejudice. I have read many sequels and Darcy point of views. I’ve also seen every film version of the book. And personally I liked Mr.Darcy Takes a Wife. I like seeing how someone can imagine Darcy as a sex addict and so on. Even though it’s not how I imagine Darcy and Elizabeth after they are married. I still loved it.

  • Nicole

    P&P is an unquestionable classic and Jane Austen’s writing unparallelled in its compelling, understated style. I’m not a purist AND I adore and respect Jane Austen. The author of this book (Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife) should really consider her motivation for attempting to write a continuation and write a retraction.

    How could you, Linda Berdoll? I don’t object to your writing a book, but take the responsibility and create your own characters, don’t denigrate another author’s. Especially one you have no hope of being favourably compared to. By all means write, if you must. But own it, don’t pilfer from the good name of Jane Austen.

    While I understand that this is not a forum for personal attacks, I believe Ms. Berdoll comitted the first offence.

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