Friday, January 29, 2016

Review - Darcy's Tale by Stanley Michael Hurd

Darcy's Tale (Darcy's Tale #1-3)

Series: Standalone
Genre: Historical Fiction
Source: Purchased
Published: Omnibus (2014)
Paperback - 704 pgs

Rating: 4/5

Let yourself be drawn into the world of Fitzwilliam Darcy, landed gentleman, scholar, and very eligible bachelor, whose engaging and enthusiastic friend, Mr. Bingley, has acquired a new manor. Darcy accompanies his friend into the wilds of Hertfordshire, where he meets the enchanting Miss Elizabeth Bennet. Darcy was a wealthy, well-intentioned, intelligent, and educated man; how on Earth did he become so thoroughly tangled by his acquaintance with the daughter of a country gentleman? Follow the story that will take Darcy from the heights of wealth and status, to the depths of pain and self-condemnation, and, ultimately, to the safe haven of the love and respect of his heart's mistress. This lovingly crafted companion to Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice will give her fans a feeling of home-coming, and a chance to see this beloved story from a new perspective, all the while immersed in the endearing world of Regency England Austen so masterfully created.

Adaptations of Austen’s novels are written almost exclusively by women. It is rare indeed that a man takes up the task of rewriting the story of Darcy and Miss. Bennet. After reading this series though, I wish more would try.

While many others have tried to capture Darcy’s perspective of Pride and Prejudice, this version captures his spirit and personality in a way Austen, I think, would approve. Here we receive a before, during and after view of Darcy's character and we witness the transformation Elizabeth sparks in him from his own eyes. Darcy’s public vs. private face is made clear using letters between he and his sister, who is has a much larger role in this story than the original, which I enjoyed immensely.

I will admit there were times when the sheer amount of philosophy Darcy used to analyze his life made me skim some of the pages. However, I did enjoy the analytical side of Darcy overall compared to the sickly sweet version some adaptations put forward. This version of Darcy is much closer to the one I envision when I read Pride and Prejudice. Hurd captured all the characters’ essence and I enjoyed the extra characters he created just as much. 

My only complaint is a problem with the format or printing. Some of the italicized letters were boxes like you sometimes see when an emoji doesn't come through correctly. This problem did not show up until 2/3 into the story and became worse as the book went on. It was extremely frustrating that the book was printed with this problem. In some cases I could still determine what the words were through contexts or because a minority of the letters were missing.  In other cases it made it impossible to understand sentences. This is where the book lost its fifth star. This book was over thirty dollars to purchase as a complete “deluxe” volume, but there was this major problem with the book. I don’t know if the ebook version of the volume or the individual books have this problem. I would not recommend putting out the extra money for the physical version though if I were to do it again.

Overall, the story was fantastic, but I hope you can find a way to avoid the missing letters if you read this story! This is a great read for any Austen adaptation fan and a unique way to read Darcy's story. I really enjoyed the different perspective of Darcy's life.

Happy Reading! 

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