Did you know that Mr. Darcy had an American cousin?!
In this highly original Pride and Prejudice sequel by British author Monica Fairview, Caroline Bingley is our heroine. Caroline is sincerely broken-hearted when Mr. Darcy marries Lizzy Bennet— that is, until she meets his charming and sympathetic American cousin…
Mr. Robert Darcy is as charming as Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy is proud, and he is stunned to find the beautiful Caroline weeping at his cousin's wedding. Such depth of love, he thinks, is rare and precious. For him, it's nearly love at first sight. But these British can be so haughty and off-putting. How can he let the young lady, who was understandably mortified to be discovered in such a vulnerable moment, know how much he feels for and sympathizes with her?
I really enjoyed this Pride and Prejudice variation. Having read tons of P&P fanfics, I consider myself somewhat of an expert on the genre, and this was a most pleasant addition! Anyone familiar with Austen's original would probably feel less than enthusiastic at the idea of reading a "what if" about Caroline Bingley of all people, but this works! Caroline is an insufferable snob with aspirations to becoming Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy. But, as we all know and can appreciate, Elizabeth Bennet won that coveted title. This book opens with Caroline boo-hooing on Elizabeth and Darcy's wedding day alone upstairs while the wedding reception is taking place below. In a Scarlett O'Hara/Rhett Butler moment, Caroline is surprised to find she is not alone after all. Mr. Darcy's American cousin happens to have been in the room with her, though unnoticed. He makes his presence known, and after the usual, "Sir, you are no gentleman!" moment, he promises to keep Caroline's guilty secret and leaves her to her renewed tears.
After that, Caroline seems to run into this American Mr. Darcy over and over again, much to her chagrin. Some very funny plot twists ensue, blundering around the English countryside, a Nottingham Goose Fair and a reunion of many of P&P's beloved and not so beloved characters (thankfully, Mr. Hurst is now deceased, leaving Louisa, Caroline's sister, a merry widow.) Due to some wagging tongues and the need to save face, Caroline and Robert Darcy must pretend they are engaged to be married. As much as Caroline finds the turn of events undesirable, the idea begins to grow on her. Little does she know that her Mr. Darcy has always fancied the idea, but is afraid she will turn him down if he proposes for real. You can guess the outcome, and it is amusing getting there. In addition, Caroline must deal with some hard truths about herself and society and finally is able to face up to her past faults and changes for the better. I rather liked her!
The author is true to the many Austen characters from P&P, particularly Mrs. Bennett and Lydia. It was fun to see many of my favorites and it was like visiting with old friends, though Lizzy and Fitzwilliam Darcy were facing some melancholy moments for most of the time which deepened the storyline. Charles and Jane were just as you'd expect and I laughed at Col. Fitzwilliam and his proposal to Caroline, for I've already read many P&P fanfics online involving Caroline and
I really enjoyed this sequel to P&P. Funny, and I was surprisingly entertained and became a sympathetic fan of Caroline. Some nods to the original with a few parallels in the plot, it even includes an obligatory wet Mr. Darcy pond scene inspired from the 1995 movie no doubt! I'm sure any fan of Pride and Prejudice will appreciate this well written and witty homage to the beloved classic, and it will make them a fan of Caroline as well, viewing her in a whole new different light! Highly recommend!