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The Darcys & The Bingleys – Marsha Altman

darcys-and-bingleysFrom the back cover –

Three days before their double wedding, Charles Bingley is desperate to have a word with his dear friend Fitzwilliam Darcy, seeking advice of a most delicate nature.  Bingley is shocked when Darcy gives him a copy of The Kama Sutra – but it does tell him everything he needs to know.

Eventually, of course, Jane finds this remarkable volume and in utmost secrecy shows it to her dear sister, Elizabeth, who goes searching for a copy in the Pemberley library…

By turns hilarious and sweet, The Darcys & The Bingleys follows the two couples and the cast of characters surrounding them.  Miss Caroline Bingley, it turns out, has such good reasons for being the way she is that the reader can’t help but hold her in charity.  Delightfully, she makes a more eligible match, and in spite of Darcy’s abhorrence of being asked for advice, he and Bingley have a most enduring and adventure-prone friendship.

Believe it or not, I have never read a Pride and Prejudice sequel.  Ever.  In fact, I don’t even really like Jane Austen much, and I thought Pride and Prejudice itself was only okay.  But when Marsha Altman emailed me and asked me if I would be interested in reading her book, I figured it might be a good idea to try out a genre I don’t have any experience with, especially since there have been SO many P&P sequels in the past few years.  I needed to know what I have been missing out on, of course.

So what did I think of the book?  Well I was entertained by it, that is for sure.  Altman wrote the characters in a way that made them seem so familiar, yet also refreshing at the same time.  I think she did a great job making the characters very true to their P&P personalities – Darcy awkward in social situations, Elizabeth stubborn as always, Jane and Bingley completely enamoured with each other, etc.  At the same time, there was a bit of a modern quality to this book that clearly differentiates it from P&P.  While The Kama Sutra is only mentioned at the very beginning of this novel (there aren’t any graphic sex scenes at all, it’s only hinted upon), I find it very hard to believe that Austen would have even thought to write about such a thing herself.

There were some really funny scenes in the novel; in general, the way the characters all interacted with each other had me giggling from time to time.  There is also enough development with the characters’ lives for the story to be interesting to read.  I’m sure that it is fun for P&P fans to imagine what their favorite characters did with their lives after the book ended.  

Overall, I did enjoy this book more than I had anticipated I would.  I didn’t love it, can’t say it was one of my favorites, but like I said earlier I am not the target audience because I am not really a Jane Austen fan.  I’m glad I took a stab at this novel… I don’t know that I’ll be seeking out more P&P sequels anytime soon, but I did like this one.  I would, however, highly recommend The Darcys & The Bingleys for Pride and Prejudice fans who would love another taste of their favorite characters – this book is just perfect for that.

Also reviewed by: Becky at Becky’s Book Reviews.

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