Title: Mr. Darcy’s Mail-Order Bride
Author: J. Dawn King
Publication: November 24, 2016 (Kindle/Kindle Unlimited edition)
This variation novel was alright. I didn’t want to throw it out the window. It just wasn’t something that made me want to ignore the clock and keep reading. In this particular variation, Darcy and Bingley have become landowners in Oregon, seeking wives from the east due to a lack of possible wives in the West. Darcy writes the letters for Bingley to Jane, the niece of an acquaintance of theirs, Mr. Gardner. Elizabeth responds for Jane, and the two fall in love through the letters, not realising that they weren’t speaking with the real Jane/Bingley. Thus awkwardness when the two arrive to be married (Darcy deciding at last minute to marry the sister).
This reads almost like vengeance fanfic. Like Ms. King wanted to see characters she thought less of punished in some way. Caroline is pretty much out of the picture right away, and Lydia barely spends any time before whisking away with Wickham (who keeps getting fired, and barely talks to Elizabeth). Meanwhile Elizabeth and Jane remain the optimum examples of virtue and good nature.
So in a sense, it was like all the characters were more pushed towards the good/bad guy roles then they were in the original. Poor Denny, the first-nameless soldier who makes the unfortunate decision to be friends with Wickham in the original book, now has become Wickham’s second hand man, possibly starting a fire at Bingley’s ranch. Mr. Bennet turns out to just sit in his study and do nothing while his remaining children run close to starving. I must admit this is the first time where I’ve read a book and fault for the awkward marriage between the elder Bennets is placed on Mr. Bennet instead of just assuming he was dealing with a nutsy wife.
Although I did find the implication of Lydia/Colonel Fitzwilliam (who in this novel isn’t a colonel but crime lawyer) an intriguing idea.
Its an alright novel if you can’t get enough of Jane Austen variations, but nothing I’d put on my “read again later” list.