Thursday, February 5, 2015

Trilogy Review: Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman (By: Pamela Aidan)

Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman Trilogy
By Pamela Aidan

"It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife." --the very first line in Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice.

One of the most beloved novels of all time has inspired many a spin-off, sequel, and fan fiction novel; and of those we have indulged in, none are so satisfying as this trilogy! Rather than a sequel or a "what-if" scenario, it is instead Pride and Prejudice retold from Mr. Darcy's perspective. It's original, touching and accurate enough to satisfy even the most serious Jane Austen fans.

The first book, An Assembly Such As This, opens right as Charles Bingley, his sisters, and Mr. Darcy are to join the Meryton Assembly. We enjoy (and cringe at) Mr. Darcy's first encounter with Elizabeth Bennett, with the country society and his new friendship with Bingley (look for a touching story about how they became friends!) This first book encompasses the entirety of their stay at Netherfield and ends just after the ball, as Darcy and Caroline convince Mr. Bingley to leave Netherfield for good.

The second book, Duty and Desire, can at first be difficult to get through, as it takes place during the "silent time" of Pride and Prejudice - therefore, nothing from that actual story takes place in the whole of this second book. It takes us into an entirely new location with new characters and new situations. (Come on already, where is Elizabeth?)
But wait! For those patient enough to read through, it serves as the foundation for the third book, which is the gem of the series. However, on it's own merits - when we quit turning the pages expecting to see the Bennett family around the corner - this book is compelling, intriguing and quite mysterious, a bit more Northhanger Abbey than Pride and Prejudice. It serves great purpose in Mr. Darcy's unfruitful - and almost disastrous - search for a wife as he tries to rid his mind (and heart) of Elizabeth.

The third book, These Three Remain, is the crown jewel of this trilogy. It encompasses the greater second half of Pride and Prejudice, beginning with Darcy and Elizabeth's time in Kent and the infamous proposal, and does not end until we have thoroughly visited every bit of their love story up through the double wedding. You cannot read this book without having read the first two, but this one alone is a solid five star book!
Ratings for the entire trilogy:


Ok, maybe it's not exactly original. After all, it IS Pride and Prejudice. But while remaining faithful to Austen's plots and timelines, author Pamela does a fantastic job filling in the blanks of what Darcy's life looked like - things Jane Austen never told us. And it works brilliantly. Darcy's own story, thoughts and struggles are fascinating and realistic. The characters we love to love, and the ones we love to hate - the Bennetts, the Bingleys, the Darcys and all the rest - are captured true to the originals. Never once did we feel we weren't reading the story exactly as Jane Austen herself must have meant for it to be.


Pride and Prejudice readers have always wondered what exactly caused Mr. Darcy to change so drastically from a distant, insulting snob to a chivalrous, selfless gentlemen. Pamela explores the answer, believing it could only have come from a deep change of heart - and a significant slice of humble pie. The depth of Darcy's pain as he recognizes his pride and arrogance resound strong with the reader. Additionally, the depth of his loyalty, his honor and his love for his family and friends make Fitzwilliam Darcy a literary hero to fall in love with all over again.


Pride and Prejudice was not overly religious, so this book will not be either. However - (SPOILER WARNING) - Darcy's drastic change of heart is as a result of Georgianna, who has found a relationship with the Lord after having her heart broken by George Wickham. Her new-found faith is the primary catalyst for her own healing, and it heavily influences Darcy as well. Christianity is very, very subtle - but it is woven throughout the story like a gentle whisper among the pages. We should note here too, that this trilogy is very clean and God-honoring, even though it is was not published specifically as Christian fiction.

Squeal Factor

Naturally, if these books are to stay true to Austen, there won't be much squeal factor, because her books just weren't written in that style. But, somehow, the intensity of Darcy's love for Elizabeth produced a little squeal factor all on its own! His inner thoughts were satisfying enough to make our hearts squeeze with tenderness for these two! It was easy to feel what he did - both his heartache at Elizabeth's rejection, and his joy at her declaration that her "feelings had undergone so material a change." Also good to note, Pamela Aidan does not over-romanticize the love story, as many modern authors do when trying to write spin offs. To do so wouldn't be true to Austen's writing. The love story might seen restrained by today's standards, but was bursting with deep passion!


These books are fantastic, and some husbands we know have enjoyed them too. Many books on our list wouldn't interest men, but these just might! Reading through this trilogy feels like a long five-course meal of a dinner with all the trimmings and satisfactions of a feast. It will be more of a marathon than some of our other favorite books, but well worth it at the end. If you are a fan of Pride and Prejudice, you are likely to enjoy these books thoroughly.

Find it on Amazon: Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman

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