Let’s get one thing straight: there is only one Mr. Darcy.
Sure, there have been capable and even stellar namesakes (I’m looking at you, Mark Darcy). But there is only ONE Mr. Darcy.
And so we have the latest incarnation, so to speak: Donovan Darcy, a man who owns and breeds show dogs.
Yes, I know. It’s difficult not to at least snort with a certain mocking humor, much as Mr. Darcy himself probably would do.
Donovan Darcy is not a bad guy, though, nor is he a particularly awful Mr. Darcy. He’s quite lovely, in fact. His Elizabeth is Elizabeth Scott, a school teacher based in New York who owns and handles a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. The two meet cute at a New York dog show, although there are initial misinterpretations of character (as there should be when you’re basing a novel on Pride and Prejudice, for goodness sake).
When Elizabeth moves to London for a job, the two cross paths again, and a relationship takes bloom.
While there is no Mr. Wickham, there is a Caroline Bingley who, in true Caroline Bingley fashion, wants to be Mrs. Darcy more than she wants her next breath. Naturally, she does not take kindly to Elizabeth, which causes inevitable friction and misunderstandings.
One of the reasons Pride and Prejudice fascinates and captivates me is the dynamic between Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet. These two get each other wrong right from the start. Mr. Darcy may realize the error of his ways sooner than Elizabeth does, but Jane Austen tells us that he does everything he can to avoid a romantic attachment to Miss Bennet. Elizabeth, on the other hand, prides herself on being right about everything. She believes she sees more than other people and that her instincts are always, always correct. When she realizes how wrong she’s been, it’s one of the most moving scenes in literature.
And that is what’s missing from this book.
No, it does not purport to be Pride and Prejudice. It’s fun, romantic, sweet, and comfy, which Jane Austen’s masterpiece is not. But Elizabeth Scott is not Elizabeth Bennet. She isn’t even Bridget Jones. She’s likable, but not tolerable enough to tempt us into envisioning her as an Elizabeth Bennet product. She’s too – dare I say it? – dull. Whereas Donovan Darcy is a bit too sensitive to be a Darcy clone, Elizabeth Scott lacks the spark of Elizabeth Bennet. She holds her own against the Caroline Bingley character, but she’s just not as interesting as I wish she had been.
The book, though, is entertaining and romantic. There is some headboard rockin’. It isn’t wild or explicit, but it’s there. You will be charmed, and it’s quite possible that you will want to pick up Pride and Prejudice and read it (again), just to connect with the original.