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238 of 243 people found the following review helpful
I bought this book on the strength of the reviews from Amazon.co.uk and, to some extent, these reviews were accurate. The overall feeling from these reviews is that this is a fun, lighthearted, saucy adventure which worthily carries on the P&P story but this time shedding light on the marriage in all its facets, including in the bedroom.

Yes, this book was (in some places) fun and lighthearted; it was certainly saucy (although that side of things petered out more after the middle of the book), but did it worthily carry on from Jane Austen's original?

In my opinion, no. The main difference (apart from the sex scenes) being the language. Austen of course had the significant advantage of writing about her own era, Linda Berdoll is having to compose dialogue for people living 200 years ago on another continent (she's an American author). Unfortunately she doesn't succeed. Admittedly this is a very tricky thing to do, but Georgette Heyer managed it writing as recently as 1971 so it's not impossible. Part of the problem seems to be that someone's told her that there are a whole load of conjunctions that will seem appropriate for the era - such "Albeit" and "Howbeit" as alternatives for "Although". And they're not. At least not all the time. So you get sentences like this: "Forthwith of Goodwin's leave-taking was a splash as Darcy got into the tub." Forthwith??? And another example, "Howbeit that was odd, Hannah was not a busybody. Miss Bennett had married Mr Darcy. Period." Howbeit??? Period??????!!! ("Period" is an Americanism; for Brits it usually means menstruation - unfortunate in this context. We would say "Full stop".)

Americanisms abound as usual (sigh). The third season is "fall", Mr Darcy "inquires" rather than "enquires", the insidious "gotten" appears again. These mistakes are all really common in Regencies by American authors but it's so frustrating to read them. In mitigation for Ms Berdoll, this book was originally self-published so she presumably didn't have a professional editor - she doesn't seem to add more Americanisms than most other American authors who DO have editors, so this is one mark in her favour. Interestingly, in my UK edition the spelling was generally British English (colour, favour), except for in the aforementioned "inquires".

Reading the book, the prose is turgid and chock-ful of supposed 19th century phraseology - only it's wrong. Mainly there's too much of it. An example: "Enlightenments upon life at Pemberley in general and being a wife specifically came with all due regularity. These wisdoms rained down upon Elizabeth with such dispatch, she occasionally had to stop and take a breath to be able to function at all. In all this befuddlement, the descent of her monthly terms was not remotely a comfort." Yes, they are discussing Elizabeth's Full Stop there. This is just a random example on the first page I turned to of the thicket of weird phrases one has to fight one's way through to make progress in the book. Again, this improved after the middle of the book - perhaps Linda Berdoll hit her stride there - but it rendered the beginning of the book very difficult to read. In fact, if I hadn't bought it but had borrowed it from the library, I'd have probably stopped a third of the way through and taken it back.

And Geography. Someone REALLY should have given this author a map of England with a scale. I was amazed to discover that one character had considered walking from Pemberley (Derbyshire) to Portsmouth in a day. Mind you, seeing as Darcy and Elizabeth were able to journey by carriage from London to Pemberley in a day, this is perhaps not so astonishing. The geography went very haywire in the third part of the book, where after taking the carriage (rather than walking) to Portsmouth this character apparently travels half of the length of England NORTH to get to Dover. Obviously Linda Berdoll had the map held at 90 degrees when reading it, as well as awarding her horses superhuman speed and stamina in order to make these 2-3 day journeys happen in an afternoon. Most amazing of all, Lady Catherine de Bourgh has to leave home (Rosings Park, in Kent) before sunrise in order to arrive at Pemberley mid-morning. Wow. It would take me longer than that to drive from Kent to Derbyshire at 70mph with empty motorways so her horses and carriages must be true marvels. Perhaps it's mean of me to poke fun at these errors but they seriously detracted from the story to me - and they would be SO easy to check up on. Kent to Derbyshire is about 200 miles, and surely Berdoll could have found this out easily enough, had she bothered to look.

And now on to the sex scenes. Well, they weren't as `bad' as I had expected. Of course Jane Austen didn't write about this kind of thing, no doubt partly because she never married. But this side of the book, although maybe a little tacky, does give you the fun aspect of the book. You also learn an amazing amount of euphemisms for body parts and sexual acts, although I'm not entirely sure how useful this knowledge is.

Berdoll introduces many new characters and these are fairly well done. It's what she does with the characters we know and love that is disappointing. Their morals and behaviour aren't as I expected them to be, knowing how Jane Austen left the story. I won't write any more as it would be a spoiler, but suffice it to say the "Mr Darcy Takes A Wife" characters are more earthy and, dare I say it, 21st century, than Jane Austen's characters.

In conclusion, there is much about this book that is fun. There's also much about it that's surprisingly dark, and it is by no means a jolly read. People die, people's lives are blasted by circumstance, people's marriages have pain. It's worth a read, but in the knowledge that it's a very different story from Jane Austen's.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 7 March 2010
I totally agree with Helen Hancock's review above, but not with the star rating. The only star I can give for this book is for the sheer effort of writing a novel of this length. I have never read a P&P sequel before and this one totally infuriated me and I will never read a regency sequel again. I have even been put off reading any other regency historical or romance novel.
The research in this novel is appalling. More appalling because it could have been simply solved by typing in a query in the internet, or the distance between places on google maps! The author however seems to believe they can make up for this by basically cramming the book with as much sex and euphemisms as they possibly can. 'Saucy' is not the word. If Darcy and Elizabeth mentioning sex is enough to make you blush, imagine the graphic description of their conjugal happiness against a wall.
The worst example of a editing blunder is the constant adhering to using the title 'sir' and 'lord' interchangeably. "Sir Lewis de Bourgh"/"Lord de Bourgh"? hmm... Not only that but what caused my struggling journey through this book to reach its height of loathing was the first appearance of a "Sir Lucas". 'That's strange,' I thought, 'What a strange first name, it sounds very much like Sir William Lucas-- Oh wait. grrrrrrr!' Yes, this was indeed Sir William Lucas, knight (not baronet! - or lord) and the first arousal of my suspicion that this author may have not even read P&P (I suppose watching the BBC version is good enough for the historical content of this book). Any GCSE or A-level student made to read this book a few times and armed with a student guide could tell you Darcy's late mother was christened "Lady Anne" not "Elinor". Not only that JA's short paragraph at the beginning of chapter 42 in P&P ("Mr. Bennet was not of a disposition to seek comfort, for the disappointment which his own imprudence had brought on, in any of those pleasures which too often console the unfortunate for their folly or their vice.") which although a little unclear to someone with an IQ below that of a guinea pig would make the appearance of Mr. Bennet's illegitimate child equally confusing.
Every single sentence is over-wrought and violently fragmented - the author's aversion to contractions making even some simple sentence appear broken - that sometimes it is a puzzle to understand what is being referred to. Apart from euphemisms, which are hilariously rammed together with every "nethers", "members" and "womanly portals" the writer could summon to mind and ingenious only in their over-wrought complexity to make something meant to appear obscured extraordinary explicit by her excessive use - and misuse - of Austenish vocabulary. It is as if the author had swallowed a thesaurus and a pornographic novel and vomited up this up as a result, teemed with the sexual delicacy of a cheap tabloid.
This is not a Jane Austen sequel. It is not even good fan-fiction. This is a trashy novel - a "fun romp" if you wish - with some characters with names that sound like those of a certain novel by Jane Austen but in no way resemble them, in complexity in as much as language. I would have given it zero stars if I had been able.
Enjoy!
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42 of 45 people found the following review helpful
on 9 February 2007
I can't see how a Jane Austen fan would ever enjoy this book. If you ignore the names and pretend it is not a sequel to a great book, you might find it interesting (as in a romance paperback novel with graphic descriptions of "lovemaking"). Mrs Berdol made it quite clear from the first page that this book is not about Lizzy's heart but about a different part of her body. Well I thought she was joking, but to my disappointment it is true.

In addition, the writer tries so hard to write in "old english" or whatever, but she can't possibly avoid to show she's not from that time or place. You read and suddenly a phrase seems so out of there. I really hated this book. This is Jane Austen. A little more respect to the original would be great.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 14 January 2006
I liked this book overall, I think I have read most of the P&P sequels and this is one of the better ones, although that is not saying much.
There are a lot of sex scenes which I personally do not mind.
A great many things happen to the Darcys in this book and although they are all imagiative and well thought out, It sometimes feels like you reading 2 months worth of scripts from a bad and unbelievable soap opera. Too many things happen and they are all well, unbeleivable.
Other negatives: There are many spelling and grammatical errors, this also includes totally made up words and characters name's changing within the space of 2 pages sometimes. I can not believe that this book has ever landed on an editors desk.
However the main thing that is missing, and this is the thing that I think most of us want a sequel to capture above all else, is any conversation between the Darcys at all. They have conversations about sex, their own sex and other peoples, and that is truly it.
If you are just looking for a Elizabeth and Darcy fix, you cant go much wrong, the setting is there and if you dont think about it too much, you can just about make yourself believe that our heros are there also.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 26 January 2011
Pride and Prejudice meets Jilly Cooper, so awful I stopped reading and went back to the original to cleanse myself.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 24 June 2012
Recommended to me by a friend who knows how much I love Jane Austen. Well, this could have been the end of a beautiful friendship!!

What a terrible book. J.A would be rolling in her grave at this poorly written story-less piece of smut! It fails on all levels.. as a continuation of P+P, as an erotic novel , and as a piece of coherent writing. In a nut shell is is rubbish. I was slightly amused while reading it , but mostly by the very peculiar writing style and the author's attempts to sound authentic by throwing random Regency style words 'Howbeit' anyone? Also by the author's dismal grasp of England's geography. I mean, come ON..how hard would it have been to check a map and find out which way up is North.. last time I traveled I was going south to Dover..... and making it from Rosings to Pembeley in one morning... hell those horses must have been rocket powered. Simple but irritating errors.

Overall a great disappointment. Stick to the originals!
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
I have read a lot of books in a longish lifetime, written and published twenty-five novels myself, and taught creative writing, but this really is the worst book I have read. The problem is that Berdoll can't write. She simply hasn't a clue. On every page she creates yet another whopper, using the wrong words again and again, slipping in and out of a very poor pastiche of Austen, getting tangled in her syntax, repeatedly spelling 'complete' 'compleat' as if this will give her prose the appearance of early 19th-century writing. She is clumsy, and I even wonder if she has read Austen. That's the worst thing here. Austen was one of gthe greatest prose stylists in English, and her sentences are so perfectly balanced that it is pure hubris to try to write a sequel to any of her novels. How much more so when the person mangling their own prose does it so very badly. The story and characters just don't work, particularly when she gives them behaviour that Austen would never for a moment have given them. To portray poor Darcy as a womanizing sybarite is utterly untrue to Austen's characterization. To make sex so central to the story is just more clumsiness. Physical passion could have been iontroduced, but only by a much more sophisticated and experienced and subtle writer. I suggest Berdoll gave up the Austen pastiches and take up writing potboilers for Black Lace or someone.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 22 May 2010
I'm an avid reader and will generally read even the most boring of books through to the end. But I seriously considering throwing this one away by the time I had read page 1!

If the author thinks this book would be approved of in any way by Jane, she is delusional.

The language is wrong. Mr Darcy wrapping a *duvet* around ELizabeth's shoulders? I don't think so! A few slips might be overlooked, but anachronisms are signs of shoddy research and sloppy writing/editing. (As others have pointed out - Georgette Heyer in the 1970s managed to capture the authenticity of the period dialogue with fewer resources than Berdoll had available - ie no internet back then). Even if Ms Berdoll was self-published, there is no excuse for her not asking a couple of friends to edit first.

An even bigger sin, in my eyes is that it seems Ms Berdoll has either failed to understand the original characters of Darcy and Lizzie, or has deliberately subverted them to her own ends. Time and again while reading her story, I found myself thinking - Lizzie/Darcy would *not* have said or done that.

Then we come to all the sex scenes - right there on page 1, we are told what sort of a book this was going to be when the author comments on Elizabeth needing a cushion due to her and Darcy's conjugal bliss. I'm not a prude, and some stories with sex scenes are very good books indeed - but this isn't one of them. The sex scenes are not beleivable (eg Juliette's leaping *back* into the tumbril and landing conveniently on top of the very man who could save her life - with his nose in her bosom! That is a more fitting scene for a carry-on movie!

I know much has been said about Jane, being unwed herself, knowing nothing of the intricacies of sex. I don't believe this.

First of all, Jane grew up in the country - and would almost certainly have witnessed at one time or another, the various matings of animals. Then, she was the daughter of a minister and would have been involved in the lives of his congregation, and this at a time when poor families lived in cramped conditions so that even the youngest child would know exactly where babies came from.

Also, sexual mores were a lot more relaxed in Regency times than in the later Victorian age, and certainly when the Austen family removed to Bath Jane would have had ample opportunity for dalliances - some speculate that she didn't write much during this period because she was depressed but that does oot fit in with the fact that she loved dancing.

It is more likely, in my opinion that Jane made a deliberate decision to remain single - she was an intelligent woman and whilst she was romantic and loved a happy ending, she must have been all too aware that although being a wife raised one's social standing at that time, it also made women slaves to their husbands - provider of all domestic requirements, obliged to have sex on demand, give birth to as many children as ordained by her lord and master and legally unable to be anything other than a chattel. No right to own property, no right to a life or will of her own choosing.

THe wonder is that any woman in her right mind would willingly enter into marriage under those conditions, but love is blind after all. Jane had the opportunity, but declined to wed because she was not in love with her suitor - if she had fallen in love with someone, we may well have been deprived of the wonderful body of work which she left us as a legacy.

Essentially what I am saying is that the lack of sex scenes in Jane's books is not (again IMO) due to a lack of knowledge, but more due to the times she lived in. Books about sex existed, of course - pornography (literally the writings of prostitutes!) was published - but only for the discerning gentleman. Mainstream fiction of the day just simply did not include sex. A reflection on the times perhaps, but certainly not on Jane.

More to the point perhaps - if Jane had lived today - would she have written sex scenes in her books. You know... I don't think so.

A brief examination of books written by women today seems to indicate to me that there are a lot of stories written which include sex scenes but which are worth nothing in the world of literature. The Joanna Trollopes, The Maeve Binchies - the *great* female authors of the day manage to produce literature which engages, which is interesting, which is readable - all without needing explicit detail of what their characters are doing with their various body parts.

SO... if you like Jane Austen, if you enjoy good books - pass this one by. It's not worth the paper it's written on.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 9 March 2013
As others have said, the language of this book is so peculiar as to be a real obstacle to reading with enjoyment. Examples: "Aye" used repeatedly for "I" in the mouths of country people - presumably to the writer this conveys a rustic English accent. It doesn't, as "aye" is pronounced "I". Elizabeth has a "lady-maid" (as an alternative to a gentleman-maid? or a woman-maid?) and pregnancy results in "laying-in" (stocking up?) rather than lying-in. And could a candle-holder, however large, "subjugate" a dining table?
Even the cover is comical in its inaccuracy: there's nothing in P&P to suggest that Elizabeth Bennet is "universally admired" and she would have shown extraordinary prescience, as well as becoming an object of ridicule, had she worn "crinolines" during the Regency.
This is not a criticism of American English - the author has developed her own opaque language, neither American nor British, neither C19th nor C21st. I'm surprised at her publishers.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 28 August 2011
What can you say? total load of rubbish, and the English is just dreadful!
I wish the writer had taken the time to do some reading herself, maybe she would then know that we Brits do not have 'bangs', we have a fringe. Also, the DUVET did not arrive here until the 1970's, there are more mistakes of this nature, all very annoying, and this combined with the silly use of sex and most perculiar ways of describing body parts is enough to render this the worst P&P follow up I have ever had the great misfortune to read.
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