For Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy, the honeymoon period may be over — literally.
Following the exchanging of their marriage vows in England, Elizabeth and her beloved Darcy set out on their wedding tour, planning to take in the splendors of France and Italy. At first delighted at the prospect of traveling the continent, Elizabeth’s joy at becoming a new bride begins to diminish as Darcy begins acting strangely, turning a cold shoulder to her and refusing to visit her in the evenings. After a harrowing experience while visiting Darcy’s uncle in an old, crumbling castle, Elizabeth finds herself even more confused and fearful at the change in her husband’s demeanor. And things seem to go from bad to worse.
Amanda Grange’s Mr. Darcy, Vampyre is definitely a different take on much of the Austen fiction that picks up where Pride & Prejudice leaves us. The novel literally opens on Elizabeth and Darcy’s wedding day, giving us a peek at the happiness they both felt was initially promised. But the secrets between them threaten to destroy their relationship . . . mostly from the inside out.
Like Elizabeth, I often found myself with more questions than answers here. I spent the majority of the novel waiting for the shoe to drop, so to speak — waiting for something to happen. As a reader, we know something the new Mrs. Darcy does not . . . and all I wanted was for her to just discover that already. Despite its title, little mention is actually made of anyone’s vampyric tendencies, and I guess I’ve spent way too much time in the Twilight world . . . I just wasn’t that impressed. The story’s “villain” seemed to appear from nowhere, and I couldn’t really live in any sort of fear of him — he disappeared as quickly as he’d emerged. There was really little threat motivating the story and, quite honestly, I didn’t feel much of anything while reading.
That being said, there is an innately interesting plot going on here (I mean, c’mon. Darcy? A vampire?). I didn’t have any trouble reading the book, finishing it in just a few nights. It’s just that my mad dash to get done was motivated by the fact that I desperately wanted to see some vampire action going on, and I couldn’t help but feel a little let down. Still, Grange’s prose is interesting enough to propel the plot, and I enjoyed the descriptions of England, France and Italy in the early nineteenth century. Venice, in particular, was magical.
I’m a huge fan of Austen’s work and generally love fiction based upon her beloved novels. If you’re a Darcy fan or just find yourself roped in by the cover — I know I did! — I would still recommend checking out this latest edition to the Austen world. Finishing the book definitely made me want to re-read Pride & Prejudice, and Mr. Darcy, Vampyre seems true to the original plotline. Just don’t expect to, ahem, sink your teeth into it too quickly.
3.5 out of 5!