Nearly two full years later I finally got around to reading The Darcys and the Bingleys, and thankfully it was not at ALL what I expected. I mean it does help that Elizabeth and Darcy have a son named Geoffrey in this novel, so OF COURSE it’s going to get my vote! The blurb made me think this book might be more of a raunchy sequel to Pride and Prejudice, thankfully it was nowhere near as bad as I thought it might be. As this book has been on my bookshelf since December 2011, it counts as a bonus book for my 2013 Mount TBR reading challenge.
If I went with just what the back cover says (it’s actually factually wrong, which I find fascinating – I guess the book was edited after the writing of the blurb and it was not kept updated) I would’ve honestly believed this to be a raunchy sequel. It talks about Darcy and Bingley discovering the Kama Sutra and about Elizabeth and Jane eventually discovering it. Although this is true and all four of them are aware of the book and there are references to it here and there throughout the story, it is not the primary plot device. It only serves to get us through the wedding nights and then as a humorous interloper occasionally. I felt this novel could’ve been better without this crutch.
Overall, there isn’t much to say about this book. It isn’t the best Austen fan-fic novel I’ve read, but it is definitely far better than the worst one I’ve read. I will say I constantly found myself laughing out loud on numerous occasions. Altman created a great sense of brotherly affection between Darcy and Bingley and even though it bordered on irreverent, I couldn’t help but believe that the Bennett sisters could only have had this type of influence on their husbands. For example, Darcy and Bingley ended up having bets on who would have their first child and when the next child came around and Jane has twins, Darcy puts money that Elizabeth will have triplets. Altman captured what can only be a great fondness and familiarity between brother in-laws in a great story!
What Altman excels at is the expansion of the storyline. She introduced a few new characters and story-lines around Caroline Bingley and on Bingley’s moving to Derbyshire and renovating a nearby property.
Recommendation: Don’t take my response in the wrong way. I definitely enjoyed the book, but unless you are a die-hard Austenite this book probably isn’t for you. It was a fun read and as I said made me laugh on numerous occasions, but there are better ones out there for the non-die-hard Austenites. And physically it was a bit of a weird book, it’s not a normal trade-paperback size and was a bit difficult to hold.
Opening Line: “Charles Bingley, a man in possession of fortune and of good standing, had been for several years now in want of a wife.”
Closing Line: “Geoffrey Darcy looked on, completely unaware that he, by making them parents, had been the final means of truly uniting them.” (Whited out.)