Tuesday 19 November 2019

Mr Darcy's Enchantment by Abigail Reynolds - Review

Today I'm sharing a review that I wrote a few months ago but didn't have chance to share at the time. At the end of last year I took part in the blog tour for Mr Darcy's Enchantment by Abigail Reynolds. You can read Abigail's guest post and excerpt from the book here. I didn't have the chance to read the book at the time but over the summer I took a trip into a world where magic and faeries meets pride and prejudice. Let's look at the blurb and then I'll tell you what I thought of the book.

Book cover: Mr Darcy's Enchantment by Abigail Reynolds
Book Description

In a Regency England where magic and faeries are real…

Fitzwilliam Darcy is a powerful magician who controls fire, water, and wind. What he cannot control is his growing feelings for Miss Elizabeth Bennet. But Darcy is also sworn to uphold the laws which forbid women to use magic, and Elizabeth knows it.

Elizabeth’s sentiments towards Darcy are quite different. She detests his arrogance, and she fears he will expose her use of forbidden magic. He is the last man in the world she would choose to help her on a difficult and dangerous task.

But when a magical war looms between the land of Faerie and their world, a Lord of Faerie demands that Darcy and Elizabeth serve together as his emissaries to make peace with the other mortals. That mission throws them into the middle of a chaotic power struggle between magicians whose power dwarfs their own, and everything Elizabeth has ever believed about her family, her friends, and her enemies will be called into question.

This magical variation of Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice makes the land of Faerie as real as Regency London and Rosings Park, as bestselling author Abigail Reynolds presents new challenges for Darcy and Elizabeth in her longest and most enchanting story to date.

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Mr Darcy's Enchantment - My Review

Abigail Reynolds is one of my favourite writers of Pride & Prejudice variations so I was very keen to give this one a read. Although I know that there are a few others out there which meld magic with  P&P I haven’t read any published ones, which was another good reason to give this a go.

Mr Darcy’s Enchantment picks up the story in Kent, when Elizabeth visits the Collinses, so you can assume the previous parts of P&P have already happened, but there is obviously a major change in the fact that people can do magic. Actually, though, only men are allowed to practice, it’s not only frowned upon for a woman to do magic, but punishable, by a spell which changes the woman’s mind. This is a pretty terrifying thought, that a part of you will be, in effect, killed off. Therefore, as a woman who not only can practice magic, but actually does, in order to help people, Elizabeth has a good reason to be pretty wary of Darcy. The spell to lock up women’s minds is carried out by the Collegium of Mages and Darcy is a member of this. His uncle, the father of Colonel Fitzwilliam, is a very senior member. Darcy being tied to such an organisation is yet another reason for Elizabeth to despise him.

When Elizabeth decides to out herself in order to save another’s life she risks not only her mind, but her family’s respectability and her whole life as she knows it. Running away, she stumbles into a faerie ring and transports to the land of the fae, where she learns that there are even bigger problems, in terms of a looming war between the fae and mankind. Elizabeth will also learn that she has been mistaken in some of her judgements, and uncover some of the darkest secrets of her own family.

I found this to be a book of two parts. I really enjoyed the first part, which saw us in Rosings and later in the fae world. I thought the construction of the different types of magic was interesting and well-explained and I loved all the Darcy and Elizabeth time, as she realises how wrong she has been in her perceptions of him and her perceptions of how he considered her.

Later on, the book’s focus moves out much wider and while it was still good, and kept my attention I didn’t enjoy that part quite as much. I don’t think it was the magic. For me, it was that the story was so much wider than Darcy and Elizabeth so they were more part of an ensemble cast than having the starring roles. A whole new world is described and while I might like a tighter focus on Darcy and Elizabeth other readers may revel in the additional depth and breadth of the story.

One thing I did enjoy was uncovering some of the secrets in both Elizabeth and Darcy’s families. I gasped more than once at some of the the revelations. I really want to tell you some of the secrets, but even who the secrets involve would be potential spoilers in some cases! I anticipated some of the events, but some were surprising, which is always refreshing.

There is a glossary of terms at the back, which might have been more useful if I had realised that it was there before I finished reading the story! If I am reading something that makes me worry about the characters I may flick to the back of the book to reassure myself, but otherwise I try not to spoil the story, so I missed the glossary until that point. To be fair, I think I understood the terms anyway, as they are explained well in the story.

This is a long book and I stayed up far past my bedtime because I didn’t want to put it down, which is always satisfying. I was a bit undecided on the rating, but I think I’d round it up to a 4½ star read, and would recommend it to those who don’t mind some magic in their reading. Those who prefer to avoid sex scenes are safe, although there is an instance of a Regency lady wearing fairy attire, which would have been pretty racy by their standards :)

Now, I need to find some more magical variations. Any recommendations?

4.5 star read

*I was kindly provided with an e-book of this story by the author for my honest review

Buy Links

This book is available to buy in paperback or kindle. It's also available in kindle unlimited. Amazon UK / Amazon US / Amazon CA / Add to Goodreads Shelf

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  1. Well said, Ceri! I read and enjoyed this one and found the world of magic and manners that Abigail Reynolds created was impressive. It was also gasp-worthy a few times with those reveals.

    1. Thanks Sophia. I was impressed that a whole new world was opened up!

  2. I also enjoyed this story. The author's imagination and creativity are superlative. I have read all her books and she is one of my favorite JAFF authors.

    1. Hi Sheila. Abigail Reynolds is right up there in my favourite Austenesque authors too.

  3. Oh, I love this story! I'm glad you liked it, too. I thought it was very clever, particularly, how everything fit together. I'm a huge sucker for fantasy.

    Another really good magical P&P variation:
    Disenchantment (not published, available on AHA)

    I'm not sure if these count as magic, but they are fantasy:
    Maria Grace's Dragon series
    Nature of the Beast (not published, on Dwiggie)
    Touch of Night

    I love fantasy/magic, and I'd love to write one myself someday.

    1. Hi Sarah. I have read Disenchanted, and I really enjoyed it. I don't know if you follow the 'Read it While You Can' thread on AHA but this story is being taken down to be published, so hopefully it'll be out there for a wider audience soon!

      I also have 'Touch of Night' on my kindle - I keep meaning to read it in the run up to Hallowe'en, but it never happens!

  4. I have all Abigail’s books and they are on my re read list! I loved this one as well, especially the detailed descriptions of Faerie which as you say made it feel totally real.
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this.

    1. Thanks Glynis. I still haven't read them all. Some of Abigail's books I've re-read many times (Mr Darcy's Obsession, The Last Man in the World, Mr Darcy's Letter) but I read and re-read those all those before I started blogging and built up such a backlog. These days I find myself less likely to re-read because I usually should be reading something else, so some of the more recent ones I've only read once. Next year, I plan to try and re-read a little more :)

  5. Lovely review Ceri! I actually have the book waiting for me to read it! Hopefully before the end of this year!!

    1. C'mon Carole, we can beat our TBR lists!

      (we can't, but let's look at the positives that we won't run out of books to read!)

  6. Thanks for another great reveiw, Ceri. Yes, those reveals do make your jaw drop at times, don't they? But they make so much sense of certain things from canon! I actually ran the ebook and audiobook in tandem for this one very recently and definitely enjoyed the experience. All of the characters from the land of Faerie speak with an Irish accent in the audiobook, which I found rather interesting. And I loved the not-so-small cameo from the author's cat!

    1. That seems quite apt, that the faerie would sound Irish, I can imagine the magic being Celtic.

      I enjoyed the reveals - like you, I thought that they were clever because they not only made sense in the story, but tied back to canon too. I was bursting with secrets when I finished the book and had nobody to tell!


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