Monday, February 27, 2012
Review: Compulsively Mr. Darcy by Nina Benneton
This modern take introduces us to the wealthy philanthropist Fitzwilliam Darcy, a handsome and brooding bachelor who yearns for love but doubts any woman could handle his obsessive tendencies. Meanwhile, Dr. Elizabeth Bennet has her own intimacy issues that ensure her terrible luck with men.
When the two meet up in the emergency room after Darcy's best friend, Charles Bingley, gets into an accident, Elizabeth thinks the two men are a couple. As Darcy and Elizabeth unravel their misconceptions about each other, they have to decide just how far they're willing to go to accept each other's quirky ways..."
Review: This retelling and modernization of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice is definitely a unique and different twist on the original story. While the characters and outline of the plot are there, rife with misunderstandings and romance, this storyline is much different. For one, it starts off in Vietnam where Elizabeth is a doctor and Darcy has arrived with his friend Charles to help their friends adopt a baby at an orphanage that Jane helps run. The two sisters immediately assume that Charles and Darcy are a gay couple who have come to adopt, but who wish it to remain quiet. Elizabeth can't then come to grips with her attraction for Darcy, nor his apparent attraction to her? The two do eventually work out the truth, as in the original tale--minus this new little twist. Their time together then becomes a roller-coaster ride of romantic misunderstandings and outside interferences.
I did find this retelling interesting and new. Some of the issues in their romantic relationship seemed a bit silly at times, such as Elizabeth's "virginity" issue. I've always felt that some sexual tension or scenes played out in the pages of these retellinngs aren't necessarily out of place, as they are a more modern look at a normal adult relationship, but sometimes I have to giggle a bit at how they are included in the story. I'm not convinced that with all else that was going on in the story that it needed to be such a focal point. I definitely loved the tension that was created through these characters' misunderstandings and think that Benneton created an interesting tale to surround our favorite P&P characters.
Overall, I would say that if you're a fan of Austen retellings and modernizations, then definitely give Benneton's book a read. It is unique and full of action that will keep you flipping pages to see how they work them all out. All around, a thoroughly entertaining read.
*FTC Disclosure: This review was based on an advanced review copy provided by the publisher, Sourcebooks.