Violet Bedford’s novella Betrothed to Mr. Darcy picks up right where Pride and Prejudice left off, but slightly before the Happily Ever That we all know is coming. Nothing happens in this book, and I mean that in the best way possible. Mostly they just take walks and say thoughtful things to each other, unlike that really dreadful one with the human-sacrifice cult just outside Pemberley, or that other dreadful one where Mr Collins is chased by bees into a cowpond where he drowns or that wonderful one in which Mr. Darcy is a rockstar.
Mrs. Bennett attempts to speed along her daughters’ trousseaus by aggressively dropping the Darcy name at the dressmakers. (Which is quite restrained for her, I really expected a tirade about wedding plans and her poor nerves here.) Jane and Elizabeth are embarrassed by her behavior, which is so noteworthy that friends of Caroline Bingley write to her about it, apparently it supersedes even the scandal of Lydia’s elopement. Ma Bennett puts her foot it in again by inviting Lydia and Wickham to Pemberley for Christmas, but of course there is no trouble that money and good breeding can’t solve. Mr. Darcy’s even romantic when negotiating holiday plans with his in-laws. (Apparently, I’m now old enough that I want my dashing hero to sort out the logistics of holiday visits with troublesome relatives, and remain calmly and loyally romantic through any derailments in wedding plans. Yes.)
Betrothed to Mr. Darcy is mostly the Bingleys, Bennetts, and Darcys meeting in different configurations in different rooms to say things to each other, but it’s still a pretty great postscript to the Pride and Prejudice world. And the story ends with the lovely double wedding that we all totally knew Elizabeth and Jane were going to have.
This review is based on an eARC from the publisher. Thank you! Opinions are my own and free copies have never stopped me from snarking about a bad book before.