The Perfect Bride for Mr. Darcy by Mary Lydon Simonsen is another retelling of the Pride and Prejudice storyline, but this time, all the story’s romantic coincidences are masterminded by a matchmaking Anne de Bourgh and Georgianna.
You guys. Why haven’t I ever thought of that? Anne de Bourgh grew up with Darcy, of course she wants to see her dear cousin get married! In this one, Anne’s decided not to marry for era-appropriate reasons of not dying in childbirth and not the modern reasons of eew gross, they’re first cousins. Either way, her affection for Darcy is not romantic. And we all know Georgie adores her brother and wants to see him happy. Why wouldn’t they do a little matchmaking for him?
In this novel, Simonsen has added a bunch of Darcy and Bingley relations, and they’re so good, I had to check the original to make sure they really were additions. Jane also has a new suitor, in the time Bingley is away, a dull but ambitious lawyer who is obviously a perfect match for Mary. Lady Catherine remains hilarious self-centered, and Mrs Bennet remains fully committed to marrying off her daughters. There are some lovely moments when Caroline Bingley attempts to attract Darcy away from Lizzie, and some hilarious chatter between Georgianna and Anne as they lead Darcy to his match. Louisa isn’t much of a character in the original, but here she’s revealed as a bit of a dim bulb and a social follower, made more cheerful in cheerful company. Obviously, Anne’s scheming leads to the fortuitous meeting at Pemberley, and the whole novel felt like a great visit with the Bennet, Bingley and Darcy families.
Pretty much the only flaw in this was the modern morality in the resolution of the Lydia/Wickham storyline. Instead of a forced marriage to redeem the Bennet’s reputation after Lydia is ruined by running off with Wickham, in this version Lydia has adamantly refused to bone Wickham. She’s found in a boardinghouse, where the landlady reports that two people checked in as man and wife, and spent several nights alone together, but were overheard arguing so much they couldn’t have been banging. This is a terribly Lydia-ish situation, but I don’t know if that boardinghouse hearsay could have redeemed Lydia’s reputation. Lydia is determined to marry Wickham, and again, it’s Darcy’s money that prods the reluctant groom to the altar.
The Perfect Bride for Mr. Darcy is the perfect novel for fans of Mr Darcy.