Friday 6 June 2014

A Wife for Mr Darcy by Mary Lydon Simonsen

When I read The Perfect Bride for Mr Darcy recently I referred to this book so I thought I'd share my review of it with you. I read this at the end of last year...

Book cover: A Wife for Mr Darcy by Mary Lydon Simonsen
This is a Pride and Prejudice variation. What if Mr Darcy realised that Elizabeth may have overheard his slighting comment about her at the Meryton Assembly and went to apologise to her? They start off on much better terms, so much so that when Mr Wickham comes to Hertfordshire spreading his tale of woe Lizzy doesn't believe it.

In Pride and Prejudice, once Elizabeth overcomes her dislike of Mr Darcy she falls in love with him pretty quickly and this is what happens here, but there is a fly in the ointment in the fact that prior to coming to Netherfield Mr Darcy had begun a courtship in London of a Miss Letitia Montford and now feels himself bound in honour to her.

Recognising that Darcy's honour is going to lead him to a life of misery Miss Darcy, Colonel Fitzwilliam and his elder brother Lord Antony Fitzwilliam spring into action to try their hand at unravelling the problem through a series of entertaining plots.

Both Fitzwilliam brothers are wonderful characters, lots of fun. However, Lord Antony Fitzwilliam really steals the show. He refers to his estranged wife as the Evil Eleanor, dresses ten years out of fashion so he stands out, is a colossal flirt with married ladies and has some wonderful droll dialogue.

"This does not sound like the Darcy I know," Antony said. "But if he is not going to learn from my mistakes, then why should I help him? On the other hand, he is my cousin, and on occasion has lent me money. 

There is also a fantastic scene where Georgiana visits Mrs Redford, who is Miss Montford's companion, and we see that the scheming isn't all one-sided.

Since much of the book focuses on Darcy's family there is not so much of the Bennets, although we see Jane Bennet show unexpected steel in taming Bingley's niece and nephews (children of another sister who is not mentioned in P&P).

I would have liked to have seen a bit more Lizzy, and a bit more wooing on Mr Darcy's part. Due to his impending courtship he is unable to make overtures towards Elizabeth for some time. She thinks at one point "Why is it that a man of sense and education, who had lived in the world, found it so difficult to speak in declarative sentences that didn't require an interpreter?" and I had a lot of sympathy for her view, although I understood his reasoning. By the time he is free to win his lady she is already won and he doesn't really need to put much effort in, I thought she deserved a bit more.

There is some behaviour that I don't think was in line with norms of the day, such as unmarried ladies sitting on the same side of the carriage as men and receiving letters from men who weren't relations, and there was also some language use that didn't seem quite right for a book set in England in this period such as a house having a foyer instead of a hall etc. However, I thought this was a very entertaining and lighthearted read. It's very humorous. I'd certainly recommend this book and I hope that Antony features in other books, I'd love to see more of him!


  1. Lovely review, Miss Ceri! Lord Antony is something else, isn't he? Love him!

    1. If I remember this book the thing that stands out in my mind is Lord Antony. He stole every scene he was in! I thought he was wonderful!


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