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3.2 out of 5 stars
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on 29 May 2006
I bought this book on the strength of the reviews from 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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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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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.
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on 20 January 2007
DONT READ THIS BOOK WHAT EVERY YOU DO !!! i did and it has ruined everyting I loved about Pride and Prejudice. Jane Austen would be appauled at the amount of nudity and sexual content that goes on in this book. the things that go one would never happen in a million years between Darcy and Lizzie. i wouldnt even give this book one star but as i have to, i have only given it one. if you read this book, then i hope that you are prepared for all of the consequences. the auther hasnt reserched england properly, e.g she thinks it is possible that someone could walk from portsmouth to derbyshire in half a day! and dont get me started on her attempt to do old english language. i couldnt understand most of the things that they were trying to say. it is also very bitty and skips all over the place, so you dont know if is the day after the wedding, or six months after the wedding! the new characters that were introduced - well, i didnt even bother reading about them. i struggled my way through this book.

The things which happen to Mr. Darcy and Lizzy, no i'm sorry, they would never have happened, i dont know what this woman thought she was doing, but she has just ruined the most beautiful love story ever. i will never forgive her, never !!! (what has she done)

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on 30 June 2008
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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on 26 April 2007
At first, I thought this book was going to be a clever, tongue in cheek sequel to "Pride and Prejudice", but before many chapters had passed it became obvious that Linda Berdoll's Mr.Darcy had a one-track mind and little or no regard for his wife's well-being or dignity. As page after page revealed yet another "variation on a theme", I could only yawn and think sadly, "Oh no,not again!"
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on 10 June 2004
The only reason I've given this book one star is because I can't give it less. I don't really like writing bad reviews, but this book is so awful, and supposedly a continuation of the wonderful Pride and Prejudice, that I felt I had to warn other readers. This is an example of what you'll find in this book: "Mr Darcy, with all gentlemanly solicitousness, offered the new Mrs Darcy a pillow upon which to sit . . . His making an issue of her sore nether-end was a mortification in and of itself. But, as Elisabeth harboured the conviction that she had adopted a peculiar gait as a result of her most recent (by reason of matrimony)pursuit, her much abused dignity forbade her to accept such a blatant admission of conjugal congress."
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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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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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on 26 January 2006
The appeal of Jane Austen's masterpiece lies in the accessibility of the characters. They have probably been recognisable since cavemen evolved beyond the grunt. Emily Bronte's complaint about throbbing etc is ironically astute - as therein lies the appeal. An exhilerating plot can consume more attention than the protagonists. Austen's characters are all thrown into sharp relief, without needing excess parody, by the ordinariness behind them. The result is exquisitely elegant social satire and characters you can, with very little effort, believe are real.
I know P&P inside out - it has been my favourite book since I was 14 - I read and re-read it, and then studied it. I get very defensive with my favourite things. If adaptations try to subvert and change the plot, I get cross.
However, I love to hear other people's views, and other people's imaginings are intriguing. If you have read Pride and Prejudice, enjoyed it, yet not wanted to look into the happy ever after, you are in the minority, and, lucky you, you can treasure the mystery by never opening a sequel. These books are tributes. They are no more "cheeky" or "copywrite infringing" than an A-level essay. They are about (often rather good) authors indulging in a bit of a luxurient wallow through their own imagination and inviting us to join them. If they make a profit, good for them - they've bestowed pleasure.
Mr Darcy Takes a Wife did little to offend my favourite thing prejudices. I would have liked to have had Austen's own scant follow up followed. In this sequel, Mr Bennet did not consistently turn up uninvited at Pemberley. Lady Catherine did not unbend. Kitty did not spend most of her time with her older sisters...etc. And I really do identify with the reviewers who were irritated by the spelling. I'm a bit of a spelling and grammar fascist myself, because, when immersed in a book, a clanger of a spelling error, anachronism or misuse of language can jar and un-immerse me quite quickly. It's distracting and unnecessary in a published novel, as these minor mistakes should be edited out. (I also notice that some of the strongest critics of this book seem to have a strong disdain for spelling, punctuation and sentence structure - they clearly perpetrate what they do not tolerate!)
Criticism aside, the essence of Darcy and Elizabeth does actually shine through in this book. The characters draw and build on their very strong P&P foundations, and the result is, they are genuinely loveable. The book is exciting because they make you care deeply about what happens to them. The plot is exciting too - what it lacks in beautiful Austenesque round-dress simplicity it makes up for in imagination and pace. It's swashbuckling and fun. It's even well written (varying from almost well written to superbly well written). All of this is a great bonus because it's not the point of the book - the point is, it's glorious Darcy-porn! (Even if the naughty bits actually only occupy about 1/20th of the book.) I overcame my dislike of change to compulsively rewind the wet-shirt-from-the-lake scene in the BBC adaptation, so I can certainly make a similar concession here. I am a doctor, so quite physically aware and interested in human nature; I am also a normal 25 year old with the matching libido! I LIKE being titillated. Why not? Pornography is usually pneumatic and dull. Female orientated eroticism is usually too evasive for my dirty medical mind. Romance in either of the above is rocking horse poo! Jane Austen creates a wonderful frisson between her leads which is admirable for its subtlety; sexy without sex. Linda Berdoll allows frisson to blossom into fusion, graphic stuff, yet it's all wrapped up with an accomplished plot, good characters, and avoids a tawdry modern bodily function treatment of sex by confining it to a loving marriage. I sometimes think it's a shame that sex sex sex has to penetrate every aspect of our society, but it has it's place, and Mr Darcy's bedroom is one of those places.
The other major achievement of this sequel is it retains the sly, but not spiteful, humour of Jane Austen. It actually is very funny. All this combines to make it one of the most enjoyable reads I've had for ages. It's no substitute for Jane Austen, but for a lovely lazy read with characters who feel like old friends, it's good enough for me to spend this quiet evening while my husband's on call writing my first essay for years in praise of it! Miss Austen is still Queen, but Linda Berdoll is a worthy Caroline Lamb. Please keep writing!
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