I read this book with a little bit of skepticism, since I've mentioned recently that I'm not a fan of Pride and Prejudice spin-offs. After all, how could anything ever match up? However, I'm interested in how other people think the story should continue (if at all), and so I picked this book up. There were many things that were wrong with this book, not the least of which was the stilted language the author used. Believe me, this is even worse than Mr. Darcy's Daughters.
The book opens in a carriage. Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet have just gotten married, and Mr. Darcy is laughably preoccupied with the comfort of his wife's "nether end." For the next two hundred pages or so, the author concerns herself with the conjugal activities of the couple. Some readers have suggested here that the book is rather like porn; soft-core porn, as a matter of fact. Based on the original, I would have expected the Darcys to have had a passionate marriage; but not to the extent described in this book.
Aside from the sexual exploits of Mr. and Mrs. Darcy, I really couldn't find any major flaws in the plot- probably the only redeeming feature of this book. The author, it seems, is a great writer. Mrs. Bardoll could have written such a great book; but only if she hadn't chosen to write a "sequel" to a wonderful, much-loved classic!
The plot concerns many things: the parental identity of a groom who lives on the Pemberly estate; the literary aspersions of Georgiana Darcy; the marital felicity of Jane and Charles Bingly (which is not as happy as one would have supposed); the marital felicity of George and Lydia Wickham (which, to no one's surprise, is nonexistant); and the doings of a roguish footman who wiggles his way into the middle of the Darcy family. Mr. Collins makes an appearance here, and he is much more hapless than Jane Austen depicted him; there's one rather hilarious scene in which he falls off a horse.
Anyone who has read Pride and Prejudice several, or many times, will have prejudices of what the characters should be like. Mrs. Bardoll's opinion is only one of many. But Mrs. Bardoll bases her novel on the 1995 BBC adaptation of the book, instead of the book itself; and therin lies her problem. The author is too concerned with an image she gained from watching the miniseries, the actors involved, etc. The author also claims that she did years of research for this book; as a result, her book is convoluted with references to historical issues and doesn't focus upon what Jane Austen would have focused upon.