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Customer reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
4.1 out of 5 stars

on 25 June 2011
The author writes with an Austenesque style with very few verbal anachronisms. She extends the P&P story while remaining true to the personalities created by Austen. Elizabeth's and Darcy's interactions, Lady Catherine and Lydia all come across as authentic. None of the characters is wholly irreproachable, which is also faithful to Austen.

Georgiana is an important character, and, of course, we didn't know all that much about her from P&P. However, the fact that she had eloped with Wickham at the age of 15 can plausibly be used to justify her behaving indiscreetly now she is a little older and gaining in confidence.

The plot is also fairly Austenesque. In fact it is quite explicitly about pride and prejudice, but in a new context. Unlike some would-be Austen continuations, there are genuine and important difficulties in the way of the lovers. I felt that the ending, where the difficulties were removed, had a touch of deus ex machina, but that is a minor quibble.

The criticism of the plausibility of some of the behaviour may be justified. Modern readers may not always understand the suffocating conventions that bound women in the Regency period. Odiwe clearly does understand them and even expresses thoughts about them through the characters. Nevertheless, it is difficult and perhaps undesirable for a 21st-century writer to see things totally through 18th/19th-century spectacles. The thoughts and occasionally the behaviour of the female characters may be a little anachronistic. In that respect, there is a touch of Georgette Heyer, whom I love but who essentially places 20th-century women in a Regency setting.

My only unhappiness was with the Caroline Bingley episodes. I didn't feel that they were true to her character as created by Austen. Of course, the reader can enjoy laughing at Caroline's discomfiture, but I couldn't believe she would ever forget her dignity enough to behave as Odiwe makes her.

However, overall I am very impressed by this book and will now buy another one of Odiwe's.
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on 30 May 2013
I couldn't wait to finish this book, but only because I'm stubborn and it was so bad. There is no warmth between the Darcys but rather everyone else telling us how happy they are while they spend their time arguing in private and being petty. I like the initial idea that Darcy doesn't turn over a new leaf altogether, it would naturally take time, but what happened to Colonel Fitzwilliam having shared guardianship over Georgiana? That essential element is missing altogether (to make the story work) so it just doesn't feel right.

There's also the issue of writing style; the author has a preference for putting people's thoughts in speech marks. Eg (not used in the book but in an attempt to carry my point) everyone is having tea in the parlour when Mr Darcy accidentally drops his cup, as he bends to retreive it "look at the way your trousers go taut around your manly thighs when you bend in that way, Mr Darcy" thought Lizzy. You're already miles ahead thinking, surely she didn't just say that out loud? when actually, no she didn't. Very misleading and it makes you have to reread everything.

Wish I hadn't bothered with this one.
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on 12 March 2011
I didn't enjoy this the first time as I thought Georgiana wouldn't have spent time alone with a man after Ramsgate. However I persevered and thoroughly enjoyed it. Shows you shouldn't give up too easily. Enjoyed the author's other books so should have known better. I have given it 5 stars as the story makes up for the areas I have problems with. Still recommend it! I have now read this three times including one accompaniment to hospital.
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on 18 September 2013
I loved this book from beginning to end. This is just how Elizabeth and Mr Darcy should have ended up. I thought the language was just right and the flow from Pride and Prejudice was perfect and I particularly loved Mr Darcy's attempt at poetry - I literally laughed out loud.
I'm sure Jane Austen would have been overjoyed to read this book.
Great job Ms Odiwe. I think you are my new Jane Austen!
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on 4 March 2011
Having thoroughly enjoyed this authors earlier books I have been eagerly awaiting the publication of 'Mr Darcy's Secret'. The wait has been worthwhile - Ms Odiwe's writing just gets better and better!!! The plot keeps you in suspense to the last and as a lover of gardens and garden history it was an added bonus to have a landscape designer as one of the main characters. The sparkling dialogue had me chuckling - look out for the fantastic 'soft dumpling' scene. Her wonderful sense of place brings the beautiful Derbyshire and Lake District landscapes to life. I loved this book and highly recommend it - my favourite so far - please, please Ms Odiwe bring us some more!
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on 12 April 2011
"With little exception, the anticipation of a long awaited and desirous event will always give as much, if not more pleasure, than the diversion itself. Morever, it is a certain truth that no matter how gratifying such an occasion may prove to be, it will not necessarily unite prospect and satisfaction in equal accord."

Once again Jane Odiwe ( Lydia Bennet's Story, Willoughby's Return) delves deep into the Regency to bring to life scenes from Austen's novels. Her third book, Mr. Darcy's Secret follows the fortunes of the Darcys and Bingleys as they embark on their new lives as husbands and wives.

The book begins with Mr. and Mrs. Darcy traveling to Pemberley after their wedding. As Mr. Darcy's wife, Lizzy is confident that "knowing him better, his disposition [is] better understood." But does she truly understand his disposition? Has he undergone so material a change? Does he indeed possess no improper pride? Will she be able to rise to the demands of being `Mistress of Pemberley'. As she becomes "familiarly acquainted with the rooms, rejoicing in them as her home, welcoming to them visitors such as her aunt and uncle", a cloud hovers over her happiness.

Having resolved to "act in that manner, which will constitute [her] own happiness, without reference to any person so wholly unconnected with [her]", Lizzy must face fallout from Lady Catherine DeBourgh and her cronies; village gossips threaten to mar her serenity and Georgiana, so desirous of pleasing her brother, struggles with a wayward, loving heart, which refuses to bend to her self-command.

From the sitting rooms of Hertforshire, to the delights of a Christmas Ball in Derbyshire and a jaunt to the Lake District, the stage is set for another foray into Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, continuing to play with the `what ifs' and `why nots', that linger on after "the day on which Mrs Bennet got rid of her two most deserving daughters." A dream come true for all those wishing there were just a few more pages, one more glimpse into the lives of Austen's most beloved power couple.

The title is Mr. Darcy's Secret, and mystery and drama abound--- after all, who is Master Tissington? Local tittle-tattle suggests he is an heir to Pemberley, but by whom? Someone is determined not to let the past die. Long forgotten letters, the remnants of a love gone by, may hold the answer, but it is not until a blackmailer threatens to tell all that the key to Mr. Darcy's Secret is discovered, the truth arising from the most unexpected source.

In reality, however, the book might be titled Miss Darcy's Secret, for it is Georgiana's story, as well. Lizzy may be our heroine, but with an artist's delicate skill for revealing detail, one brush stroke at a time, Ms. Odiwe crafts a compelling tale of love and betrayal. New characters are introduced, including the bold landowner, Mr. Calladine and the young Thomas Butler, a brash young landscape designer, son of Mrs. Gardiner's old school friend. Who will win the hand of Georgiana, a young woman determined not to let her heart lead her astray a second time?

Old friends are not forgotten, either. Mr. Collins and Charlotte appear frequently, along with their olive branch, young Catherine (a bonny babe, and as unlike her noble namesake as December is to May) Mr. Bingley's sisters play pivotal roles as do Elizabeth's sister and brother in law, Lydia and George Wickham.

The Gardiners appear several times to steady the Darcy's in their new life and bring common sense and counsel to the young couple. Perhaps the most delightful character is Mrs. Bennet, for here, Ms. Odiwe's ear for Jane Austen's writing is impeccable. One can simply hear Mrs. Bennet (and her longsuffering husband) speak her lines as she comes alive on the pages. It is fitting therefore, that she is given both the first and last word in this novel. Despite her humors, nerves and prattling about, she rests secure, knowing she has done all a mother can for her children:

"My fussing has been very productive. If I had been content to let my daughters follow their hearts willy nilly, they would not have made the matches they have. Jane and Mr Bingley, Lizzy and Mr Darcy, Lydia and Mr Wickham, Kitty and Mr Lloyd..."

Ms Odiwe shines in her ability to write truly of the intricacies of family relationships. As she did in Willoughby's Return, she details the struggles of a young couple's first few years of married life with delicacy and insight. The frustrations and fascination of discovering that at times you hardly know the person you have married must be almost universal. The solidarity of the Darcys in facing each trial with a united front, of Lizzy's determination to trust her husband and Fitzwilliam's admission of his own too hasty decisions must be a model for each young couple starting out. The road is not smooth, nor the way plain, but true love must and will win the day.

A scholar of the Regency period, as well as an artist herself, Ms Odiwe is able to paint a picture of Jane Austen's era with deft strokes that bring the customs and manners of the day to life. Her descriptions of the Lake District are conveyed with an enthusiasm and familiarity that make you feel as though you were there in the midst of the wild crags and misty peaks.

As with her past books, I tore through this novel (to the detriment of not a few household projects!) and eagerly look forward to the day when I can share her works with my own small daughters. It is a delight to find an author whose work is not only well crafted but tastefully executed, modest enough for even the youngest reader.
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on 9 December 2013
I gave this story five stars as it was well written and easy to read. I thoroughly enjoyed this extension to Pride and Prejudice and felt that the author was very sympathetic in outlining the characters and their faults and interactions.
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on 23 April 2011
Pride and Prejudice (Penguin Classics) continues in the elegant style that is the distinguishing brand of Jane Odiwe's sequels. After Willoughby's Return: A Tale of Almost Irresistible Temptation , her skill at creating thrilling emotions, her thorough research and her passion for the Regency Era , are successfully dedicated to make the inhabitants of Pemberley re-live on the beautifully written pages of Mr Darcy's Secret . You'll meet the newly and happily married couple, Darcy and Lizzy, as well as their relatives , friends and antagonists.

A successful marriage haunted by the untold, a dark secret to be unveiled, a denied love story, are among the main elements in the plot , but you also find so many typical Austensian features like balls, family gatherings, trips and journeys, marriages of convenience and for love, propriety and good manners, friendship and sisterly love, elopments and engagements, that you really start thinking you are reading Austen.

A real page-turner you can't miss, if you love Austen sequels, romances and witty prose in historical fiction.

The story opens at Longbourn with Mr & Mrs Bennets enjoying the correspondence from their daughters' successful marriages, both Elizabeth and Jane are married now. Successfully married to very rich gentlemen! Well, Lydia is married too, to George Wickham and living in Newcastle. But she and her dashing officer husband won't be with them at the Christmas gathering at Pemberley. Mrs Bennet is very excited: Pemberley!

At Pemberley, Elizabeth is anxious but willing to undertake her new tasks as lady of the house. At their arrival, both her and her admired Mr Darcy, are welcome with enthusiasm and cheer by all the inhabitants of the village. But their bliss starts immediately being haunted:

"I know very little of my husband...I am certain that a man does not reach the age of twenty-nine without experiencing an affection or infatuation or maybe something more" (p. 114)

To induce suspects and torment in Elizabeth's thoughts, rumors and gossip, as well as love letters she finds hidden in a book kept on the shelves of Pemberley library. What is Darcy hiding from her? Why doesn't he trust her with the whole truth?

To increase her disappointment, Darcy's behaviour to Georgiana. He wants to choose a proper husband for her, chosen among the best families in the neighbourhood, a husband who can grant both a title and patrimony, in order to protect his little sister from fortune-hunters. Georgiana is ready to obey her brother: her sense of guilt for past mistakes, her awe and deep love for him, make her accept her brother's choice of a husband. She is going to marry Mr Calladine, though she is in love with Tom Butler.

Lizzy tries to persuade her not to go on with her resolution, since she could greatly regret it . Lizzy is also really furious with Darcy for his considering Mr Butler , a drawing master and an artist, an expert in landscape gardening, too low a catch for her sister. Furthermore, her disappointment is even greater when she hears Darcy repeat the same statements she had to bear hearing from him when he first proposed to her. He hasn't changed, then. And what he thinks of Mr Butler might obviously be what he still thinks of her!

Tom and Georgiana will experience the pains of denied love because of Darcy and Elizabeth will not be able to do much more than witness her young sister-in-law's unhappiness and support her with her affection.

Each time the two young lovers - because, of course, Tom Butler loves Georgiana too - meet each other by chance, the love tension and their longing is palpable:

"Georgiana felt tears spill over her hot cheeks before she was aware of Tom's cool fingers under her chin raising her head until her eyes were in line with his own. He held her face in his hands, his fingers caressing her soft skin as he brushed away her tears. His blue eyes stared into the pools of the grey eyes that looked up at him, the connection broken for a moment as he lowered his gaze to rest upon her lips. He was going to kiss her, she felt sure. More than anything, she wanted him to kiss her, to show him how much she loved him. Georgiana stared back at his mouth and closed her eyes in anticipation. Tom looked down at her skin, warm and glowing like a soft peach in the sunlight, her wet lashes curling against her cheek, her lips pink and inviting. He thought how beautiful Georgiana looked, but Tom knew he would be very wrong to take advantage of such willing submission. The temptation to kiss her was very strong and he had to fight every inclination to touch the lips that looked so bewitching. Georgiana opened her eyes to see a look of defeat in his eyes. How she longed to tell him that he could steal a kiss, that she wished he could take her in his arms, however wrong she knew that would be." (p. 213)

But it is an Austen sequel, isn't it? You must be patient and you will be rewarded in the end. You 'll get your very happy ending and rejoice in Tom and Georgiana's joy.

All through the novel, Elizabeth will have to cope with Lady Catherine and her despise, Caroline Bingley and her envy, shadows from her husband's past, unexpected and painful arguments with him on several occasions and several obstacles on their path to happiness. But you know her strength, vivacity, resourcefulness and courage.

Here's an example of Lady Catherine's bitterness to her new niece-in-law:

"Does your husband know that you are running around the countryside dressed asa gypsy riding in a donkey cart, Miss Bennet? ... What on earth can you mean by disgracing Mr Darcyin such a fashion? Have you no idea of decorum, are you insensible to the honours bestowed on you by him, that fool of a nephew of mine who has singled you out above all other women to bear his name?" (p. 175)

How do you think Lizzy will react? No fear, you're right. She will face her stern newly - acquired aunt as you can expect, as an impeccable Austen heroine would do.

What else can you expect from this new Pride and Prejudice sequel by Jane Odiwe? Well-built tension, surprises, tender emotions until the final gratifying unveiling of the "secret" and the protagonists' well-deserved happiness.
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on 10 March 2011
Get ready to relive the world of Pride and Prejudice! Jane Odiwe's Mr Darcy's Secret explores life for the newly married Darcy couple. The book begins just after Lizzy's fairytale wedding at Longbourn. But it's not long before our heroine has to cope with the hostility of Lady Catherine de Bourgh and her friends. Soon Elizabeth wonders if she knows her husband as well as she thought. Who is the mysterious child allegedly linked with the Darcy family? Is her husband involved? What is the meaning of Caroline Bingley's dark hints? The bride also has her hands full with Georgiana Darcy - a rash engagement, egged on by her brother Darcy, could wreck Georgiana's happiness forever. Odiwe skilfully and lovingly recreates Austen's characters, and there are some wonderful touches of humour, too. The sizzling plot will keep readers turning the page to find out what happens next. Will Lizzy and Darcy have a happy ending after all, or will a long-hidden Pemberley scandal wreck their marriage? You'll have to read the book to find out!
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on 26 June 2013
I love reading books and this adds to my collection based on the original Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
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