#24 A Review of Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy: The Last Man in the World by Abigail Reynolds

As many of you know, “what if” variations of Pride and Prejudice are quite possibly my favorite type of Jane Austen fan fiction!  The amount of material that authors come up with to further our favorite story lines of Ms. Austen’s is both amazing and fascinating.  We are treated to new and unique plots that very well could have been what Jane wanted to write but never had the chance.  As expected, Abigail Reynolds has done just this in Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy: The Last Man in the World.  This new take on Elizabeth and Darcy’s life post-proposal is new and exciting, and I couldn’t wait to crack it open and see what she had in store!

We find ourselves following Elizabeth and Darcy immediately after his initial proposal of marriage to her at Rosings Park.  We all know of her famous rejection, perhaps the most stinging line in the entire novel, “”I had not known you a month before I felt that you were the last man in the world whom I could ever be prevailed on to marry.”  It carried all the bubbling resentment that Elizabeth held against Mr. Darcy once she learned of his involvement with Bingley’s abrupt separation from Jane.  However, what if she never got to utter those famous words?  What if mistaking Elizabeth’s silence for acceptance, Darcy kissed her? What if this kiss was witnessed by Colonel Fitzwilliam?  How would their marriage work with a complacent Elizabeth and a deeply in love Darcy?  Thanks to the imaginative prose of Ms. Reynolds, we can see just that.

I kid you not when I say that I read this book like four times a year.  It is one of, if not my favorite, Jane Austen fan fiction novels.  When we see Darcy at the Rosings proposal scene in Pride and Prejudice, we’ve only begun to scratch the surface of his character.  We know that he is haughty, prideful, and arrogant, but we don’t know that he has fallen desperately in love with Elizabeth.  What’s so great about Reynolds choosing this as the starting point for her novel is that we get front row seats for his emotional transformation.  This novel gives us the unique viewpoint of a still, haughty Darcy married to a complacent Elizabeth.  Because Elizabeth hasn’t yet professed her true feelings to Darcy, he has yet to have his nature and manners rebuked.  When Elizabeth’s real feelings are finally voiced, it becomes time for Reynolds’ writing to shine.  The despondency and despair that become the prevalent characteristics of the Darcy marriage are written so expressively that as a reader you develop your own well of sadness.  This is not to say that the entire book is depressing, because it most certainly is not, but Reynolds’ writing abilities are able to take you as a reader on a complex journey of finding one’s self and becoming worthy of life’s greatest gift: love.

Reynolds’ ability to continually create unique experiences into which our favorite characters are thrust continues to amaze me.  Fast paced, and a joy to read, Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy: The Last Man in the World will take you on an emotional rollercoaster that will delight JAFF fans aplenty!

5 out of 5 Stars

This is my thirteenth completed review for the Historical Fiction Challenge

Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy: Last Man in the World by Abigail Reynolds
Sourcebooks (2010)
Paperback: 248 pages
ISBN: 9781402229473

My Favorite Ten Books of the Year! (Part I)

With the year coming to a close I figured I’d post my favorite ten books that I read for the year. The books below haven’t necessarily been published in 2010, they’re just my favorite reads for 2010. 

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 1.) Persuasion by Jane Austen – This is one of my all time favorite novels! I re-read it again this year for a group discussion that was going on in the Jane Austen group on goodreads. A quick synopsis is that Anne Elliot and Captain Frederick Wentworth fall in love once upon a time and become engaged.  Anne breaks their engagement after being persuaded by her family that it is not a suitable match, due to Frederick’s lack of wealth and lower social status.  Broken hearted Frederick throws himself into his duties as an officer in the navy, quickly gaining wealth and title.  Several years later the Elliot’s, now having financial difficulties, rent out their family estate to Wentworth’s sister and brother-in-law; the Crofts.  When Wentworth goes to visit the Crofts he’s thrust into Anne’s company again.  The two must figure out if the love they once shared still exists within each other, or if it is lost forever.  I am so glad that I re-read Persuasion again this year.  I had read it a long time ago and completely forgot how much I truly loved it.  If you have never read it, then I highly suggest you do.  It’s a love story that you will truly never forget.

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2.) A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick – WOW.  My mind is STILL blown from this book.  Just wow wow wow wow wow.  Goolrick’s way of writing is incredibly captivating.  His characters are vivid, his settings are descriptive, and his story is unique and imaginative.  Ralph Truitt, missing female companionship, puts an ad into the newspaper for a wife.  Catherine Land, a woman with a sordid past, answers the ad and begins the long trek to Wisconsin to be Ralph’s wife.  The reader soon learns that there is more to Catherine then originally thought.  I highly suggest reading this book.  You can read my full review here

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3.) Killing Yourself to Live by Chuck Klosterman – My book club selected it as the group read for September and boy am I glad.  Klosterman is definitely the foremost expert on current pop culture.  His books are filled with references to music, movies, celebrities, major events, ect.  I wanted to have an intellectual conversation with everyone as soon as I finished the book. In Killing Yourself to Live, Klosterman takes the reader on his journey cross-country to figure out why it is that a musician needs to die in order to become a legend.  He visits the sites where musicians have died, hoping it will shed light on their immortality.  While he doesn’t necessarily come up with an answer to that question, he does come up with answers to some of the questions he has about his own life.  If you’re a fan of music this is a great book to read.

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4.) Fitzwilliam Darcy: Last Man in the World – Abigail Reynolds – I’m a huge fan of Pride and Prejudice sequels, which is unsurprising considering that P&P is my favorite book ever.  I read a lot of Jane Austen fan fiction over the course of this year, with this being my favorite of all of them.  Abigail Reynolds specializes in writing Pride and Prejudice variations.  She essentially writes Pride and Prejudice while changing a major detail.  In this particular instance Reynolds makes Darcy’s first proposal to Elizabeth the one that sticks.  Darcy, thinking that Elizabeth has said yes to marrying him, kisses her, and is then caught.  Since propriety was such a major think back in the day, Elizabeth says that yes they are engaged and begins her facade into being a dutiful but unhappy bride for Darcy.  Darcy is none the wiser, he sincerely thinks that Elizabeth is happy to be married to him.  When he does find out the unhappy truth he is devastated and crushed.  They must figure out a way to make their marriage work or be unhappy for all their lives to a partner they despise.  The reason I think this was my favorite of all of the P&P sequels/variations/retellings I read was the characterizations.  Reynolds writes the characters just as rich and full of life as Austen did, which in-turn makes her books an absolute joy to read.

Cover Image5.) Walking Dead Volume I by Robert Kirkman and Tony Moore – Todd and I started watching AMC’s The Walking Dead when it premiered a few months ago and were in love with the idea of it.  We went out to Barnes and Noble soon after and decided to pick up the first volume of the graphic novels.  The story, art-work, writing, just everything about it blew me away.  It’s a spectacular view of life and how the most dire of situations not only changes us as people, but society as a whole.  There is a lot more to this series than meets the eye.  If you’re unafraid to delve into the deeper meaning of the words and actions of the characters you can find it a very fulfilling read.  You can read my full review here.

So that concludes my top 5 favorite books I’ve read for the year.  Please check in within the next day or so for numbers 6-10!

Happy Reading!