Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Review - Darcy and Fitzwilliam: A Tale of a Gentleman and an Officer by Karen V. Wasylowski

Darcy and Fitzwilliam: A Tale of a Gentleman and an Officer (Darcy and Fitzwilliam, #1)

Regency Era Retelling of Pride and Prejudice 
Paperback - 496pgs
Published -Feb. 2011 by Sourcebooks
Rating : 2/5

A gentleman in love cannot survive without his best friend...
Fitzwilliam Darcy and Colonel Fitzwilliam couldn't be more different, and that goes for the way each one woos and pursues the woman of his dreams. Darcy is quiet and reserved, careful and dutiful, and his qualms and hesitations are going to torpedo his courtship of Elizabeth. His affable and vivacious cousin, Colonel Fitzwilliam is a military hero whose devil-may-care personality hides the torments within, until he finds himself in a passionate, whirlwind affair with a beautiful widow who won't hear of his honorable intentions.

Cousins, best friends, and sparring partners, Darcy and Fitzwilliam have always been there for each other. So it's no surprise when the only one who can help Darcy fix his botched marriage proposals is Fitzwilliam, and the only one who can pull Fitzwilliam out of an increasingly dangerous entanglement is Darcy...

Within the story of Pride and Prejudice, there are so many characters that we only receive glimpses of. While we may want to know more about Charlotte Lucus, Anne de Bourge or the handsome Colonel Ftizwilliam, Austen gives us just a limited peak at their natures and personalities. Any opportunity to explore their stories further is fascinating to me and one of the things I love about adaptations of Jane Austen's works is the chance to delve deeper into these characters.

So when I found a story featuring Darcy and his dashing cousin, Colonel Fitzwilliam, I knew I wanted to pick it up. This book offered a deeper look at the friendship we see just moments of at Rosings during Lizzie's visit to Charlotte. It didn't turn out as expected. While there were plenty of characters explored in this story, I found they were unrecognizable from the ones I love so much from P&P. Lizzie is rarely present without throwing a tantrum or picking a fight with her husband while Darcy is a emotional mess the entire book.  Colonel Fitzwilliam had his moments, but overall he was too angry for me to really like. He is so aggressive throughout the novel and completely different than the lighthearted humorous man I have in my head.  Lady Catherine is not only easy to like, she is my favorite character from the entire novel! (Which is a nice change of pace, but in complete opposition to the last 200 years of Austen history)

Most of the time when an author takes liberties during an adaptation with a character's personality, it doesn't bother me. Like I mentioned there are a lot of side characters that we only see in a few scenes so their personalities, likes/dislikes and manners are not all set in stone. However changing their core virtues and making characters like Lizzie and Darcy unrecognizable seems like false advertising.
Things were not all bad. For instance the opportunities the author took to explore Colonel Fitzwilliam's mental state after the war, was very interesting and was a realistic struggle he would have had. I also liked the Colonel's romantic interest, Amanda. Their relationship was strange and it seemed like the author did not want them together for most of the book, but I liked her. (There were so many hoops they needed to jump through!) Speaking of difficult relationships. I would imagine after their marriage, Lizzie and Darcy's relationship could have been difficult and tenuous at times. However, there is so much shrieking and fight in this book I just wanted to get away from them. I don't want to feel this way about Darcy and Lizzie! It also bothered me that so much of Lizzie's behavior was blamed on her pregnancy and stopped after she had the baby.

Honestly this would have worked better as a P&P inspired book or just a historical fiction. There were just too many changes to the main characters and too little left to like.  I don't think its worth the nearly 500 pages.


  1. Thanks for the review. I think I will spend my money on something that wouldn't drive me nuts instead. I also would not appreciate an out-of-character Elizabeth Bennet.

    1. Yes. Lizzie is the most warped character within the book and it drove me crazy!