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Thursday, January 13, 2011

Review: The Perfect Bride for Mr. Darcy by Mary Lydon Simonsen

The Perfect Bride for Mr. Darcy by Mary Lydon Simonsen
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Genre: Fiction, historical fiction
Trade Paperback, 400 pages
Book Source: the publisher, Sourcebooks
My Rating: 95/100

From Goodreads:

Convinced that the lovely Elizabeth Bennet is her brother's soul mate, Georgiana Darcy enlists her clever and not at all snobbish cousin Anne de Bourgh in ensuring that pride and prejudice aren't able to keep these two hearts apart. All is going according to plan until Lydia Bennet brings scandal on the family by eloping with George Wickham, and Darcy is called away from Elizabeth's side before he has a chance to propose. It will take all Georgiana and Anne's considerable matchmaking talents to ensure that Elizabeth and Darcy are reunited in time to claim their happily ever after.

My Thoughts:

I am very leery when it comes to reading Austen inspired fiction, re-writes, or sequels. However when it comes to Simonsen's work all bets are off. Simonsen's past Austen inspired books were quite good and The Perfect Bride is no exception. I really liked and enjoyed this one immensely. Simonsen uses the basic premise of Pride & Prejudice condensing the original source work into a few chapters at the beginning. Kind of like a summary, but a quick telling of events to get the reader up to speed. The bulk of this match making story takes place after Elizabeth refuses Darcy at Rosings. Simonsen adds to P&P by expanding upon situations form the book, making them her own.

For example, when Darcy writes the letter to Lizzy to explain his side of the story, he first pours his heart out to his cousin Anne de Bourgh, who he is very close with. This is where Anne steps in and she is wonderful! Nothing like her mother or the portrayal we are used to seeing in the movie versions of P&P. That's what made this story refreshing for me. Expansion of characters, getting into their heads, reading about their background. This goes for Georgiana and Colonel Fitzwilliam as well.

As for elaborating on situations, Simonsen delves into what happened with Lydia in Brighton, Fitzwilliam's family history, and shows how Caroline Bingley truly is a witch. Caroline certainly gets her comeuppance, and those scenes were delicious yet painful to read at times, because you just know she is not getting Darcy despite what she thinks.

As for Lizzy and Darcy, Simonsen wonderfully builds anticipation between the two of them. Each with their own thoughts and apprehension of seeing each other, "Do I look good...will my feelings be returned." I was very eager for them to get together. Just speak your mind Darcy!

All in all I really enjoyed this book. It was like getting together with old friends who I haven't seen for a while and they had stories to share. All of the characters were wonderfully drawn and I felt like I was in the room when events happened. I also loved the fact that Simonsen used the previously unexplored characters of Georgiana and Anne as the impetus of the matchmaking and all of the machinations of the match making was cute. So if you are looking for a fun and interesting read, pick this one up. You will enjoy it.

Giveaway 411:

So would you like to win a copy of The Perfect Bride for Mr. Darcy?
Courtesy of the fabulous Danielle from Sourcebooks, I have 2 copies of Mary's book for giveaway.

The rules are as follows:

Open to U.S. and Canada addresses only.
Leave a comment with a way to contact you on yesterday's guest post.
+1 entry for visiting and commenting on this review.  I think it works out to two entries.

Deadline for entries is midnight, EST, January 31, 2011.

Thanks to Danielle from Sourcebooks for my ARC and giveaway copies.


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