A Darcy Christmas by Amanda Grange, Sharon Lathan and Carolyn Eberhart
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark (October 1, 2010)
Review copy provided by Sourcebooks, thank you!
The Burton Review Rating:
This is something different for Darcy fans: a novella collection! Christmas and the spirit of Jane Austen. Bring on the cinnamon and apple cider aromas! Each author's individual story is reviewed separately:
Mr. Darcy's Christmas Carol by by Carolyn Eberhart
This was the first story in the book and is also a debut for the author. Right away she remonstrates that the elder Mr. Darcy was dead as a door nail, several times, which made me wince. Thankfully, she gets past that quickly enough and goes into the lamentations of the younger Mr. Darcy (our favorite Mr. Darcy) of how Lizzy spurned his request for her hand. Georgiana, Darcy's younger sister, is featured as she adds a nice touch to the story by being a sweetheart and treated as such. Warm and fuzzy feelings! Hold on to your reticules, as ghosts are haunting Pemberley!
Starting off as more of a macabre type of story, the typical elements of ghosts and spirits take over as Darcy goes on journeys to see the past, present and future. Predictable for both Darcy and Dickens fans this is not a suspenseful read, but the ending makes up for its weak beginning as everything is tied up into a happy package for a Darcy lover.
Christmas Present by Amanda Grange
This was a short and sweet little story about Lizzy and Darcy as they expect the birth of their first child during the Christmas season. Lizzy's older sister Jane has just had her little boy and the extended family members are spending the holidays with Jane and Charles Bingley at their new house, which was just enough far out of reach so that Mrs. Bennet wouldn't drop by every day on Jane. The story was complete with the characters that we loved from Pride & Prejudice, and the "scandalized" Lady Catherine and the pushy busy-body Caroline and does a good job of bringing holiday cheer, Jane Austen style. Grange's next book, Wickham's Diary, is due in April 2011.
A Darcy Christmas by Sharon Lathan
Off to a weird start was this last novella in the collection. It featured Darcy feeling depressed that Lizzy had spurned his proposal, and yet he couldn't get her out of his mind. The theme of sexual tension was a bit overly played, as the one reason I enjoy classic novels like Austen's and Heyer's is the mere fact that they are always clean and fun. I was a bit put off by Lathan's sensual undertones, but eventually they went away, which was a good thing because I had half a mind to not even attempt to finish it once it started up about some sex books that Darcy kept locked up. I plodded on, and of course I am glad that I did, because it eventually became a pleasant Christmas story that had a little bit of everything involved. I enjoyed the clan of the Darcys that Lathan created and the personalities of the family members who managed to annoy each other in a loving way. And upon further research, I have learned that Lathan's Darcy sequels are marketed as sensual Pride & Prejudice sequels, and the 5th in the series is coming in April 2011.
All in all, the collection of Christmas themed Darcy stories was a hit, and I enjoyed the book as a whole. I can't even pick a favorite out of the bunch, but I think that Darcy and Lizzy fans would be pleased with this Christmas collection which should definitely help the reader get into the holiday spirit!