Review of An Assembly Such as This
Here is one of the many Jane Austen spinoffs I’ve decided to read and which was one of my choices for the Everything Austen challenge. I’ve actually just started getting to like these books have also started collecting a few of the spinoff books which I wasn’t able to get from the library. Luckily the majority of the ones I was curious in, could be found in the library. This one is one of them. I’ve always wanted to see a different point of view in these Jane Austen “sequels” I know I’ve already read one in Mr Darcy’s Diary which was a good one, but this one was also in Mr Darcy’s point of view but not in an epistolary format.
An Assembly Such as This by Pamela Aidan is all told in through Mr Darcy’s eyes and you’re in his head throughout the entire novel. You feel what he feels, you see what he sees and you experience what he goes through in the entire plot. What surprised me the most about the book was I thought it was going to cover the entire Pride and Prejudice story but it doesn’t. It actually only covers about a little less than half of the novel. Which I find, rather strange, but then I was wondering why through the last half of the book why it was so short and it was progressing rather slowly. So keep that in mind when you’re reading this novel. It’s not the entire Pride and Prejudice storyline. Hence why I believe, this book is the first of three in a trilogy.
Like I’ve been saying with most Austen spinoffs, I always proceed with caution. I don’t like being disappointed and I certainly don’t like it when my beloved classic have been ripped to shreds, and especially when it’s done horribly. Fortunately! this book has passed and I don’t regret reading this book. I actually quite liked it and I found myself laughing over parts of the book which were cleverly written and provided a lot of good humor. It was certainly nice seeing Mr Darcy’s daily life in more detail besides just hearing his thoughts and his behavior. I actually liked how this book put in little bits and pieces added to the main Pride and Prejudice plot to add more color and life to Mr Darcy. We usually see him as a brooding solitary figure which immediately we think of how boring he might be. In reality, well, Mr Darcy just doesn’t like gatherings and parties period. That’s just his nature and what’s even better, he’s a bookworm! this is one of the main reasons why I liked reading this book. Mr Darcy isn’t seen as boring, silent in his corner with his stormy thoughts. Although yes, it’s romantic but seeing a different side of him, where he’s able to show a sense of humor towards Mr Bingley (even having a moment where Bingley throws a cube of sugar at
him) makes Mr Darcy seem much more real and twice as likable. (We Darcy fanatics can all sigh in relief here!).
I’d have to say though, the plot was a little too slow to come to action and if you’re one who needs to have their attention captured right away, this might be a deterrent. I would suggest, stick with it. Especially if you’re a huge Pride and Prejudice fan. Patience is well rewarded later in the book with comical scenes and even scenes which will make you want to yank Caroline Bingley’s hair for being such a vain and vicious witch. (Yes, Miss Bingley is quite the snake in this one). Another criticism I’d have to add, not much Elizabeth in this one! you can’t feel the love between them yet. It’s understandable considering the book doesn’t even cover half of the main plot and you do feel Mr Darcy’s true feelings towards Elizabeth. It’s still growing so the romance factor in this book is rather cold which may be disappointing. As with a few previous spinoff novels I’ve read, Mr Bingley still stays the same, cheerful and so friendly but always needing someone to advise or look after him. More has been added to his character as well and his relationship with Darcy is seen in more detail. I actually liked it. It seemed as if he brought out the comical side of Mr Darcy which was nice to see.
Overall, I greatly enjoyed this read. It was entertaining and although slow to start, I was glad I stayed with it until the end. I will definitely be getting the second one after this. I recommend this to all Jane Austen fans.
I give it an 8 out of 10.