What I didn't understand when I started reading Regina Jeffers' 'Darcy's Passions: Pride and Prejudice' Told Through his Eyes; was that it was the never ending book. It not only tells the story through Fitzwilliam Darcy;s eyes, but it is one of those books that expand the story past the wedding which wasn't something I was expecting. Listen, I thought it was odd that events I thought happened in the middle of 'P & P' appeared in the first quarter of this novel, but I was hoping that the tracking down of Mr. Wickham while he was holed up in some rat infested London flat with Lydia Bennet was going to be an off road adventure -- however I was wrong...very, very wrong.
I think there are two types of Jane Austen fans. There are the fans such as myself who think Austen spun some very amusing stories of the time and place she lived. She game us in a more modern world a clearer picture of what life was like for the middle classes of England living during the Regency Era -- especially for women who rarely had their points of view examined by members of their own sex. Then there are fans of Austen who all about the romance. They can't get enough of it. These are women (and yes, I'm making assumptions) who are from places like Little Rock, Arkansas. On Sunday afternoons they break out their grandmother's tea sets and put dollies on their coffee tables while they entertain like-minded fans in discussion about how Elizabeth Bennet is the exemplary ideal of womanhood while Fitzwilliam Darcy is simply perfection (of course they all picture Collin Firth as the ultimate Mr. Darcy). People from my Austen ilk tend to love 'Pride and Prejudice and Zombies' by Seth Grahame-Smith while our cousins, if one is to believe a comment strand on the Goodreads website, feel 'P & P & Zombies' is a desecration to all things Austen. 'Darcy's Passions' is for the dollies group.
By the end I could only read a few pages at a time because I was afraid my blood sugar would spike. Once Lizzy and Darcy find themselves in love it was all kissy face and 'I luv U' intersected with a misunderstanding, a fall, and then barfing up dinner because pregnancy had made the smell of after dinner cigars too repugnant. Worse than all the lovey dovey stuff, Jeffers seemed to follow the Lifetime movie template with Darcy and Lizzy constantly touching each other which is not very Austen. Further, I believe that whole double marriage bit was from BBC's 1995 production of 'Pride & Prejudice' which Jeffers credited as a source for her book. BTW, the 1995 production is one thing that all Austen fans can agree on so if you haven't seen the miniseries Netflix it ASAP! Therefore instead of using Austen's book as a guide Jeffers uses a mishmash of anything Austen to inspire her patchwork novel.
I do think 'Darcy's Passions' picked up during the last fifteen pages (or I was just too happy to see light at the end of the tunnel). I recommend this novel only for the most Austen centered readers. Honestly I think 'Darcy's Passions' marks the last book I will read of Austen's universe except for those that were actually penned by her.
Westerfield © 2012