Friday, May 13, 2011

Review: Mr. Darcy Vampyre by Amanda Grange

I should call this "Catch Up on Old Review Books" Month!  I've been trying really hard to get through books that I've had in my TBR pile or those I was sent back when I first started this blog--and didn't realize that you can't take everything that pops up.  I've since learned my lesson and know what I can handle, in general, and schedule as such.  One of those first review books I accepted was Mr. Darcy, Vampyre by Amanda Grange.  I had a lot of curiosity about how someone would turn my favorite male character into one of those sparkly-fanged dudes that has become so popular!  Well, now I have a better idea and finally can say I've finished it.

Synopsis:  What would happen if Mr. Darcy actually had a deep, dark secret that he had to keep from Elizabeth?  What if that secret could actually endanger her life, that women he loved most?  For Fitzwilliam Darcy, he wants to have a normal marriage and relationship with his young wife, but his secrets just might not make that possible.

Review:  Taking off from the wedding day, Elizabeth and Darcy seem congenial and happy, but something is obviously eating up Darcy.  From Elizabeth's perspective we learn of her confusion at not having a husband to share her honeymoon night with, nor someone to have a chat with first thing in the morning.  Because she had no frame of reference for what a real couple did once they married, and only supposed, she could only rely on the fact that she felt sad and distant from the man she so desperately loved.

This interesting conflict changes later on in the book as Elizabeth begins to put two and two together about her husband's strange behavior.  They travel across the continent (Europe) and into Italy, where Elizabeth later learns more about her husband's secret.  I suppose you could say that Darcy's secret is the great "test" of their love, and not that early pride and prejudice issue they had pre-marriage.

On the whole, I thought the novel was entertaining and interesting.  There were times the story ran long and I wanted to jump across the continent in their travels to the resolution, as I became more frustrated by Darcy's avoidance of his young wife than maybe even Elizabeth!  The language is reflective of that restrained speech of Austen's novels, but delivered a bit more to modern tastes.  Although they have tension around the whole "celibacy" issue, there is nothing graphic about this tale.  You do get that Elizabeth is a little flustered by her lack of "romantic" time with her husband, which is a kind of funny.  For that time period, would a woman get that flustered and wonder about seducing her new husband?  I suppose so, but it felt strange with Austen's Elizabeth.

Mr. Darcy, Vampyre is a quick read, with an interesting twist on the vampire theme.  I can't say it's my favorite variation on a classic, although I'll also admit to not being as into the paranormal takes, but I will say that I thought it was interesting and entertaining.  Amanda Grange has a subtle hand with the pen, and you can see it played out in this vampire take on a much beloved Pride and Prejudice.

*FTC Disclosure:  Review is based on an advanced copy of the novel provided by the publisher, Sourcebooks.

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