It is a truth universally acknowledged that any Pride and Prejudice sequel will be a complete disaster. But like every other former English major, I’m so fascinated by Mr. Darcy that I can’t stop reading the knockoffs.
Despite having highwaymen, attempted ravishment by said highwaymen, a tragic blindness that turns out to be temporary, a tragic deafness that turns out to be temporary, tragic miscarriage, secret babies, secret babies who are the product of the lord of the manor and a commoner, dubious paternity, tragic death of the unfortunate maid before said dubious paternity can be resolved, surprise paternity that creates creepy incest in the original book, sex scenes that are more cringe-y than steamy, metaphors that cry out for a thesaurus, and a whole host of bad period-romance cliches, almost two-thirds of Linda Berdoll’s Mr Darcy Takes A Wife is acceptable train reading.
The final third is when all characters become completely unbearable caricatures of themselves. Mr. Collins dies when, upset over a ridiculous hunting accident that has left Mr. Darcy (tragically and temporarily) deaf, he goes for a walk, upsets his beehives and runs from a swarm of angry bees into a cowpond. As he flails in the muddy water, Charlotte’s cape, which Mr. Collins has unaccountably worn to tend the bees, becomes waterlogged and he drowns face-down in the mud. His corpse is found by the sighting of his upraised legs in the muck.
I’m oddly impressed with the author for working that in with a straight face.