#17 A Review of To Conquer Mr. Darcy by Abigail Reynolds

Cover ImageTo Conquer Mr. Darcy is another of Abigail Reynolds’ famous Pride and Prejudice variations books.  Reynolds truly is THE master of the Austen variation novel.  In this particular novel she poses the following questions: What if Mr. Darcy did not give up after Elizabeth rejected him? What if he pursued her and she fell in love with him? What if their love and passion would not allow them to wait until their wedding night?

Colonel Fitzwilliam arrives at Darcy’s London townhouse a few short weeks following the disastrous “Rosings proposal.”  Fitzwilliam has no idea what’s been bothering Darcy, but after getting him drunk enough to admit he’s in love with Elizabeth Bennet, he convinces Darcy not to give up.  Colonel Fitzwilliam convinces him to insert himself back into her life and make her see the man he really is.  Accompanied by Georgiana, Darcy returns back to Netherfield and back into Elizabeth’s life.  Once back in Elizabeth’s presence he convinces her to come back to Netherfield to be introduced to his sister.  She readily agrees and after meeting Georgiana quickly establishes a friendship with promises for more afternoon visits together.  Seeing Elizabeth ready to leave, Darcy asks if he can drive her home.  Elizabeth’s visits to Georgiana continue thrusting her into Darcy’s company often.  She begins seeing a new side of Darcy and quickly realizes that he is not going to give up on his dreams of having her as his wife.  As they spend more time together Darcy begins taking more liberties with her.  He tells her how he feels about her in a subdued manner, holds her hand, takes private walks with her, and at one point the two make-out.  Elizabeth begins having feelings for Darcy on a passionate level but cannot forget both the things he said to her during his proposal and what he did to Jane and Bingley.  She struggles with her feelings knowing that Darcy is indeed a good man.  Will Elizabeth ever be able to reconcile her feelings and return the love that Darcy feels for her?  Where will their “passion” take them?

I had read this book for the first time last year and wasn’t the biggest fan of it.  As a huge fan of Abigail Reynolds I decided to give it a second chance; I’m really glad I did.  Upon my first reading of the book I was really disappointed in how Darcy’s character was changed.  I thought that he would NEVER sleep with Elizabeth prior to their wedding or be as forward as he was.  On the other hand I also didn’t think that Elizabeth would have slept with him prior to their wedding knowing how badly she reacted to Lydia’s situation with Wickham.  With my second reading I could see the gradual changes that each of the characters made, making the end result not wholly unexpected.  I thought it was hysterical that Lizzie and Darcy told Bingley and Jane that they slept together prior to their wedding.  To see the change that the news brought to Bingley and Jane’s relationship was really humorous. 

The most enjoyable part of the entire book was reading about the “new Darcy”. Darcy became a man who was bold and knew he had to risk everything if he wanted Elizabeth as his wife.  He held some of his feelings and thoughts back at first but realized there was no point.  If Elizabeth would have him he wanted her to know all of him.  I was also glad that Georgiana got bought out of the woodwork.  She plays a key role in bringing Elizabeth and Darcy together in the beginning of the book, as she is basically their “chaperone” on outings.  It was touching to see how much she came to care for Elizabeth once she knew she was the one Darcy loved.

This book is definitely for more mature readers.  There are many sexual scenes not meant for young eyes.  For those who wished they could read more about the sexual romps of Elizabeth and Darcy, then this is a must-read for you. 

4 out of 5 Stars

This is my eleventh completed review for the Historical Fiction Challenge

To Conquer Mr. Darcy by Abigail Reynolds
Sourcebooks (2010)
Paperback 416 pages
ISBN: 9781402237300