Sunday Salon: Review of The Darcys and the Bingleys
I took this book out for my Everything Austen challenge (which I probably won’t be completing, but at least I managed to squeak this book by) I did take it out for quite sometime but always managed to put it off because I had other books to read. Now that I finished the book, I think to myself why didn’t I pick this book up and read it sooner!? it was great!
The Darcys and the Bingleys continues after Pride and Prejudice and focuses on mostly Darcy and Bingley and their antics. Before the big wedding day, Bingley approaches Darcy with a very important question; what to do on the wedding night. Darcy, always willing to help out his friend provides him with a copy of The Kama Sutra. Shocking and flabbergasted, Bingley accepts the book hesitantly but, it teaches him all he needs to know anyway. That’s just one of the main events happening in this book. Basically this story chronicles the first few years of their marriages and brace yourselves, you’re in for a lot of laughs.
There is only one regret I have for this book, and it’s why did I not read this one sooner? it was hilarious! I heard myself chuckle here and there at almost every other chapter. Darcy and Bingley are central to this book as most of the humor surrounds them and their actions. Sometimes it’s their playful banter, other times it’s Darcy’s wit and his ability to take it out on Charles. Other times…well let’s just say when they drink it just gets even more funny. It was a nice side to see to these two men, I’ve always thought they can’t always be so stuffy and formal can they? they have to loosen up sometimes during life! and this book shows the side of the two that you’ve always wondered about. It’s definitely a fun read and a cheerful one.
Aside from the wit and humor, you also see inside of both their marriages and again, it’s a different face to the characters you’re used to reading in Pride and Prejudice. It’s amazing to see both Jane and Elizabeth take charge in their marriages and manage to get their own way when it comes to decisions. I liked seeing Darcy having to give in to Elizabeth’s demands although it may seem very uncharacteristic at first as whoever thought Elizabeth could just order Darcy around and have him coiled around her little finger? (I actually never pictured their marriage to be this way but it’s not that bad to read). You don’t hear much from Lydia or Wickham in this book. Also Mary and Kitty have their own appearances but small ones.
You also get to see a different side from Caroline Bingley (she’s still catty, but she’s actually got a heart) and that, I think got a little too strange and a little too different. The outcome of Caroline in the novel, is nice but I couldn’t really get used to it. Perhaps because with previous Jane Austen spinoffs, Caroline Bingley was always catty, mean, and always had a snide comment here and there as a means of insulting someone “politely”. It’s just hard to picture her being nice and loving (yes..she was loving believe it or not). It’s a different side to Caroline, yes. I suppose it’s the author’s way of showing that Caroline can be human too.
Aside from that, the other problem I had with this book was there were times where present day English would accidentally appear throughout the dialogue. It does take the realism out of the story just a little bit. The characters and their new different “face” might take a while to get some die hard Austen fans to get used to (perhaps they might cry out sacrilege) but the storyline is wonderful, the humor is great, and I’m really looking forward to more from Marsha Altman’s works.
Overall a hilarious read with plenty of fun adventures. It makes you wonder what’s going to happen next with the Darcys and the Bingleys. I recommend this book to those in love with Jane Austen spinoffs.
I give it an 8 out of 10.