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A Retelling of Pride and Prejudice - an Editorial Review of "Darcy"

Book Blurb:

Take a deep dive into Darcy.

McVeigh puts the spotlight on Darcy in this imaginative re-telling of Austen’s classic tale. In a timeless story of love amid the clash of social classes, Darcy is faced with a terrible choice: to stay in London to force Wickham’s hand – or to go to Rome, to salvage his family’s reputation.

With a new Darcyesque slant, omitted scenes from the original, and an extra helping of humour – including excerpts from The Wisdom and Wit of Miss Mary Bennet – this is a fresh new Pride and Prejudice with (wedding) bells on!

McVeigh has a remarkable sense of the literary world Austen established, and is able to recreate it with masterly skill. Specifically, she reproduces Austen’s prose style with great fidelity, in all of its charming sophistication and clever wit.” – Kirkus Reviews

"One of the best expansions that I have ever come across, thanks to prose that sings with intelligent wit….The period details, dialogue, and storytelling are all spectacular: McVeigh’s Darcy was an absolute joy to read."

- Readers Favorite editorial review

“Austen enthusiasts will enjoy a style faithful to the original, while those looking for a new twist will appreciate the post-modern perspectives showcasing character motivation from a fresh standpoint.”

IndieReader recommended 4.5/5

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Editorial Review:

You think so, do you? - But what you fail to consider, my dear Caroline, is that Darcy is a most private fellow. He has no desire to be hounded – he is far likelier to be beguiled by mystery. You present him with more than he wishes for. You should wait till he petitions you, instead.”

In a literary landscape punctuated by varying degrees of tributary works, Alice McVeigh's "Darcy" emerges as a pristine tribute to Jane Austen's timeless classic, "Pride and Prejudice." It is, in its essence, a testament to the continuity of literary tradition and the ever-expanding depths of the human condition, unobtrusively aligning itself with the canonical tale while illuminating hitherto concealed facets.

This narrative weaves an intricate tapestry, one that extends the layers of Austen's world without seeking to fundamentally alter the classic storyline. Within its pages, Mr. Darcy, a figure perennially shrouded in stoicism, grapples with more than the near-elopement of his dear friend Bingley. The narrative subtly unravels the threads of Darcy's past—a summer sojourn in Italy, where he found himself inexplicably drawn to the fiery operatic charms of Miss Giuditta Menotti. It is a dalliance that, while never reaching the chambers of intimacy, still manages to enkindle the fires of scandal and gossip, casting a discomfiting shadow upon Darcy's reputation.

How freeing it is, to have no one else's convenience to consult beyond one's own! I left the chaise behind and rode the last seven miles by myself. By the time I reached Pemberley it was late afternoon, the light almost amber on the leaves, pools of sunlight just dappling the stream. I slowed down to admire it, though the mare – scenting her favourite stable – sawed at the bit. For a moment it was a if the wind – or the colours, or Pemberley itself – had lifted every concern from my shoulders.

The repercussions of this past infatuation meander into unforeseen and unwelcome consequences, unfurling in intricate patterns like tendrils of ivy scaling an ancient wall. Here, Colonel Fitzwilliam, usually confined to the periphery of the story, emerges into a more prominent role, actively participating in the nuanced management of these unanticipated complications.

Simultaneously, the narrative introduces Miss Mary Bennet, a figure less celebrated than her vivacious sisters, yet possessed of her own aspirations. With resolute determination, Mary endeavours to capture the heart of Mr. Collins upon his arrival at Longbourn. Convinced that her intellectual acumen, informed by the wisdom of Fordyce and Kant, will eclipse her sisters' conventional beauty, Mary sets forth on a unique path of courtship.

The narrative unfolds through shifting perspectives, a dynamic technique that allows the reader to traverse the consciousness of various characters. At times, it employs a limited third-person perspective, offering glimpses into the thoughts and experiences of characters. At others, the narrative grants entry into the private pages of Mr. Darcy and Mary Bennet's journals. It is within these journals, particularly, that the truest treasures of this narrative are unearthed.

The excerpts from Mr. Darcy's journal are a revelation—a testament to the metamorphosis of his attitude towards Elizabeth Bennet, the embodiment of Austen's beloved heroine. It traces a journey that commences in indifference, unfurls into fascination, and culminates in the profound depths of love. McVeigh's masterful rendering of Darcy's inner world offers readers the rare privilege of delving deep into the recesses of a character who has captivated the hearts of readers for centuries.

And then it was as if there was no one else, and nothing else, and she half-gathered into my arms, and I felt – just for a moment – that strong, sweet heart beating against my own, as truly as I had so often imagined it. And long, very long, we remained, with her nestled against me, like a storm-tossed seagull who had come to rest. And the very woods seemed – but this must only have been my imagination – to come closer, the birds to hush, the sky to grow brighter and brighter above that canopy of greenness above. 'I am dreaming this,' I murmured at last.

In contrast, the narrative's humour derives primarily from the well-intentioned but misguided Mary, whose unwavering belief in her moral and intellectual superiority over her family infuses the narrative with moments of levity. McVeigh's portrayal of Mary as a complex character, whose observations transcend the boundaries of her perceived limitations, breathes fresh life into this oft-overlooked figure.

One of the most remarkable facets of McVeigh's literary craftsmanship is her ability to seamlessly meld her prose with the words and phrases borrowed from Jane Austen's works and their cinematic adaptations. This fusion is a testament to her meticulous approach to capturing the ambiance and authenticity of Austen's Regency-era world. Every character is imbued with a distinctive personality, seamlessly interwoven with the existing canon.

"Darcy" is not merely a variation of Austen's work; it is a deep and reverential continuation of her literary legacy. It weaves additional subplots into the classic storyline, each meticulously conceived to enhance and complement the original narrative without overshadowing it. In this regard, McVeigh's approach is not one of tampering with the sanctity of Austen's creation but, rather, of adding layers that expand the canvas of her world.

For unapologetic aficionadoes of Jane Austen's works, one holding a discerning standard for adaptations and variations of her oeuvre, trusting only a select few with the delicate task of enhancing the beloved narratives, fans will find Alice McVeigh to be a luminary amongst these few. In "Darcy," McVeigh not only succeeds but excels in her mission to breathe new life into Austen's characters and stories, preserving the wit and charm that have enshrined them as timeless literary treasures.

In "Darcy," McVeigh takes the beloved characters of "Pride and Prejudice" and offers a multifaceted perspective, enriching their stories while preserving the spirit and ethos of Austen's world. The narrative closely follows the original plotline but injects it with fresh perspectives, subtle modifications, and expanded details that could easily have transpired behind the scenes.

But for me there is still deeper gratitude, a gratitude that, by humbling me, forgiving me and accepting me, she has freed me from being isolated, separate, alone. In society's cold-blooded estimation, I might perhaps be lifting her – but Elizabeth Bennet has, most assuredly, saved me.

Of particular note is the narrative's employment of an epistolary and diary format, which exudes an enchanting Austenesque writing style. It harmoniously marries Austen's tone and vernacular with original twists and perspectives that infuse the story with renewed vitality. While some adaptations often venture into territories of excessive deviation, McVeigh's "Darcy" maintains an unwavering loyalty to the original while embarking on nuanced explorations of familiar territory.

In conclusion, "Darcy" by Alice McVeigh is a literary masterpiece that exquisitely extends the narrative canvas of Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice." McVeigh's narrative craftsmanship is nothing short of virtuosic, allowing readers to traverse the intricate inner worlds of beloved characters while embarking on a journey of renewed enchantment. With prose that resonates with Austen's timelessness and characters who breathe with authenticity, "Darcy" is a literary gem, an invaluable addition to the pantheon of Jane Austen adaptations, and a narrative that will enrapture the hearts of Austen enthusiasts and literary connoisseurs alike.


“Darcy” by Alice McVeigh receives five stars and the “Highly Recommended” award of excellence from The Historical Fiction Company



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