About the book:
"She is tolerable; but not handsome enough to tempt me." So begins the timeless romance of Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice. Jane Austen's classic novel is beloved by millions, but little is revealed in the book about the mysterious and handsome hero, Mr. Darcy. And so the question has long remained: Who is Fitzwilliam Darcy?
In An Assembly Such as This, Pamela Aidan finally answers that long-standing question. In this first book of her Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman trilogy, she reintroduces us to Darcy during his visit to Hertfordshire with his friend Charles Bingley and reveals Darcy's hidden perspective on the events of Pride and Prejudice. As Darcy spends more time at Netherfield supervising Bingley and fending off Miss Bingley's persistent advances, his unwilling attraction to Elizabeth grows -- as does his concern about her relationship with his nemesis, George Wickham.
Setting the story vividly against the colorful historical and political background of the Regency, Aidan writes in a style comfortably at home with Austen but with a wit and humor very much her own. Aidan adds her own cast of fascinating characters to those in Austen's original, weaving a rich tapestry from Darcy's past and present. Austen fans and newcomers alike will love this new chapter of the most famous romance of all time.
I have yet to find an attempted Pride and Prejudice sequel to be worth my time. This novel is the first that really does the story justice. While this book isn't a sequel, it's a wannabe adaptation: the first of three novels which basically retell the story of Pride and Prejudice from the viewpoint of Mr. Darcy. A viewpoint that Austen readers have wondered about since the novel was published. This one ends after the ball at Netherfield, with Darcy and Miss Bingley conspiring to remove Charles from Hertfordshire.
While Aidan manages to capture some of the language of the time, she doesn't attempt to be Jane Austen and I appreciated that. Most of Darcy's story is conjecture. By necessity it is imagined, but the author has a good grasp of Mr. Darcy. Her interpretations are believable. I enjoyed the little details, such as when Darcy purchases books for his sister, one of them is Sense and Sensibility. That was a fun little addition. His interactions with his valet and household staff serve to portray him as the kind master his housekeeper alludes to in the original novel.
Aidan is most definitely a fan of the Jennifer Ehle/Colin Firth version of Pride and Prejudice. (Thank goodness for that, because I can't abide anything that refers to the Keira Knightley farce.) It's very easy to picture the scenes from the film as you read the book. One even wonders if her adaptations come from Colin Firth's Darcy, more than Jane Austen's Darcy. Still, I can recommend it with no reservations.
Thanks to half.com for having a copy I could purchase. You can purchase your own copy here.
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I am having vision issues which is terrifying to someone whose work and interests lie in reading and writing. Because of this, I am falling behind in some of my reviewing commitments and ask for your support and patience.