Saturday, July 21, 2012

Compulsively Mr. Darcy

Compulsively Mr. Darcy
Nina Benneton
Published by Sourcebooks Landmark
352 pages
Available on
Purchased copy
4 / 5 cupcakes

So on the long list of my obsessions, Pride & Prejudice might just take second place (behind Bruce Springsteen). I re-read that book at least once a year, and I became a high school English teacher just so I could teach it. I am nothing if not well versed in Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy.

But when it comes to reading fan fiction based on Pride & Prejudice, I approach with caution. What will the author do to my beloved characters? The story? The passion? The humor? Will I want to pluck my eyes out or will I think, "Now, THAT'S how it's done!"

In the case of Compulsively Mr. Darcy, it's something of a combination platter.

Elizabeth Bennet is an infectious disease doctor volunteering her time in Vietnam, where her sister Jane is filling in as the operator of an orphanage and adoption agency. (The agency's owner is the girls' Aunt Gardiner.) Charles Bingley and William Darcy accompany Charles's sister and brother-in-law, the Hursts, when they come for a potential adoption. Also joining them is Caroline Bingley, who harbors a deep wish of becoming Mrs. Darcy.

William and Elizabeth meet cute when Charles goes to the doctor for stitches and William faints at the sight of blood, after he berates Elizabeth and her staff for their less than prompt attention. William later spots Elizabeth and immediately is attracted to her lively green eyes. And when I say "attracted," I mean that our Mr. Darcy is AROUSED.

The two begin their romance, which of course proceeds with fits and starts. Aunt Catherine de Bourgh and her stepdaughter Anne try to cause trouble, and then there is that pesky George Wickham, who is every bit as seedy in this telling as he was in Jane Austen's.

There are some sex scenes, folks. Mr. Darcy likes to rock that headboard with abandon (le sigh - he always has, as far as I'm concerned), and he and Elizabeth enjoy some robust, if also a bit creative, couplings.

But is the book good?

Yes and no.

Darcy has OCD, which ... really? I've never seen him in that manner. Elizabeth is feisty and misreads EVERYTHING, preferring to see the absolutely wrong state of things. Lydia is not a tramp, Mary is an eco warrior, and Kitty graduated from Stanford (with honors!!). The obvious winks to the source material get old, especially references to the BBC miniseries and the Keira Knightley movie.

I think what bothered me the most was that this Mr. Darcy is not the alpha male that I pictured him as being. He is too besotted with Elizabeth. Yes, Mr. Darcy is obsessed with her, but not to the point of directing her life. And Elizabeth occasionally is just as silly as her sisters.

Still, though, it's a fun, quick read, with some reasonably hot sex scenes.

If you're looking for a frothy little romance, this is for you. But if you are easily frustrated (or offended) by mediocre P&P fan fic, then find something else.

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