"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.
Many of the spin offs of P&P are told in Elizabeth Bennett's point of view, and it's very rare (at least for me) to find Mr Darcy's point of view. I had heard of this series of books written by Pamela Aidan, but never got around to reading them. I finally got the first book from the library and I'm so happy that I read it. I loved it!
It was one of those books that you don't want to read too quickly. I wanted to savor and enjoy every little morsel of this book. I also had my very well loved copy of Pride & Prejudice so I could go back into the story and read as well. It was great fun to read them together. What I didn't realize when I first began reading it, is that this book only covers a third of P&P. The rest of the story is told the next two books.
I enjoyed getting a glimpse of Darcy's habits, thoughts, correspondence and everyday life. I think it gives the reader a little more understanding of his proud facade. I'm not sure if facade is the right word, but it's closest one I could think of.
I'm off to find the next one! Have you read this series? What did you think of it?
An Assembly Such as This: A Novel of Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman by Pamela Aidan (4.5/5) Historical Fiction; Pride & Prejudice spin off; Published: Wytherngate Press (12/03); Series: # 1, Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman; 2009 100 + Reading Challenge (142);