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I am a huge Jane Austen fan and Pride and Prejudice is one of my favourite novels of all time. One I can regularly go back to and re-read (something I rarely do with any other author), so I was intrigued to try some of the sequels that have since been written. Obviously the late Miss Austen cannot offer us a sequel, even if she wanted to, so that has to be left to other authors, and it seems several have had a go at recreating Regency England. Due to a promotion on Amazon, the Kindle edition of Mr & Mrs Fitzwilliam Darcy: Two Shall Become One was available for free, no doubt to entice readers into a series of four books about the Darcys. The book is currently £5.69
We meet the Darcys right after their wedding where they head off to an inn for a short honeymoon break before returning to the Darcy family seat of Pemberley in Derbyshire. Basically they are very much in love and repeatedly remind each other of that fact every other second. They also had sex a lot. Obviously Austen would never have written a sex scene for any of the characters, but this isn't Austen, so we get to learn how much they love each other physically too. However, this is no 'Fifty Shades of Grey', the numerous sex scenes are bland, sappy, and poorly described, and there is nothing to titillate the reader. For me, sex scenes in a (non-erotica) book are to move the story along and add something to the character development but in this case they were added in to make up for the fact there wasn't actually a story there, and the characters didn't develop. They just carried on telling each other how much they adored the other. Quite frankly it made me cringe on more than one occasion. A friend asked me what I was reading and I was embarrassed just describing the book, it is that bad.
For the most part, the author Sharon Lathan, attempts to use language suited to the period, but it isn't quite right for me. I can't imagine Austen using the word "cute" for example. The book is also American so 'colour' is spelt without the 'u' and other Americanisms can be spotted. Lizzy makes friends with local women with the not very Regency sounding names of Marilyn and Chloe.
In the original, there was some wit and intelligent conversation, a fact that is completely ignored by this book. To me it didn't seem to follow on from the book and referred to events that I didn't recall. However it seems the author was inspired to write the book after seeing the 2005 film with Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen, and this appears to be a sequel to that film rather than the book. Although the author since admits to having read the book, she obviously didn't make notes or use it as a reference as she cobbled together what I can only describe as very poorly written fan-fiction which (somehow or other) got published and launched onto an unsuspecting and undeserving public.
In summation then, you have a poorly written and researched period 'romance' with under-developed characters. Austen must be spinning in her grave, and any fans of her work are strongly advised to avoid this terrible book. Any non-Austen fans are also advised to avoid it. I strongly recommend NOT reading this book to all.