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Mr. Darcy Came to Dinner: a Pride & Prejudice farce Paperback – March 24, 2013
"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
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About the Author
Jack Caldwell, a native of Louisiana living in the Upper Midwest, is an economic developer by trade. Mr. Caldwell has been an amateur history buff and a fan of Jane Austen for many years. MR. DARCY CAME TO DINNER is his third published work. His other novels are PEMBERLEY RANCH, a retelling of Pride & Prejudice set in Reconstruction Texas, and THE THREE COLONELS, a sequel to Pride & Prejudice and Sense & Sensibility. He is married with three sons. Jack's blog postings--The Cajun Cheesehead Chronicles--appear regularly at Austen Authors.
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Top customer reviews
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The use of Jane Austen's prose, spoken by different characters to the original is charming and unusual. Implausible outcomes, there are plenty. However, if you enjoy a fresh take on your beloved characters, then this is definitely worth a read.
Pedantic minor quibble: there are three uses of the word 'erstwhile' in the text. The first is correct - discussion about Georgiana's 'erstwhile' suitor (Wickham). The second has Mr Bennet as the 'erstwhile master of Longbourn' - he is still alive and in residence so this is not correct. Later, Jane is said to 'smile fully at her erstwhile suitor' - reference to Mr Bingley. Bingley, at this point in the story has not yet declared his intentions towards Jane, however they are heading towards the course of true love. I mention this only because the text was otherwise well written and edited.
Enjoyable to read this genre by a male author, there were insights into Mr Darcy and, one of my favourites, Colonel Fitzwilliam, given from a masculine perspective.
Anything that could go wrong did. There were misunderstandings and mishaps galore, delightful new characters and brilliant and insightful changes with everything we know of our dear characters. We also have a Mr. Bennet that has had his peace and tranquility completely turned on its ear. Most excellent!!!!
Jack Caldwell has a unique talent of taking the puzzle piece of what we know regarding P&P, vigorously shaking them up and rearranging them into a completely different picture. His male POV gave the reader an insight into the working mind of our male characters that we generally do not have. Jane Austen did not write the male perspective and her books are silent on what was going on in their heads. That’s why readers are so anxious to read works where we spend time in the thoughts and feelings of our dear Mr. Darcy.
This story begins with Longbourn hosting a dinner for the Netherfield party that included Mr. Bingley, Miss Bingley, Mr. and Mrs. Hurst, and Mr. Darcy. He refused to ride in the carriage with Caroline and had hired a Meryton horse [undistinguished by any standards] due to his having left his stallion in London. He had ridden on ahead of them and encountered Elizabeth near the Longbourn drive with her cat Cassandra in her arms. If this were a movie…this is where it would switch to slow-motion. The startled cat jumps from Elizabeth’s arms, runs across the lane, startles the horse, throws Mr. Darcy [like Mr. Rochester] and leaves him on the ground dazed and injured. Elizabeth runs for help and as they are assisting him, the Bingley party arrived. Everyone quickly exited the carriage and it is at this point that we the reader learn a vital secret regarding Miss Bingley.
Darcy is taken into Longbourn and they send for the apothecary. Longbourn on a good day is total chaos. Longbourn with such an august personage injured and in the parlor, [thoughts of being sued dancing in the heads of the master and mistress of Longbourn], completely shattered the nerves of all present. Note: I know this is picky but…if his leg was fractured or broken…I am thinking about his boot. Well, he would have been wearing his best and they had to remove it. Imagine attempting to pull that Hessian boot off a fractured or broken leg. Or…horror of all horrors, cut it off. There was no mention of it. I cannot imagine him riding a horse without wearing his riding boots. Perhaps that was part of the problem, he wasn’t wearing boots. Just a thought.
Darcy was given brandy to help with his pain. When the apothecary arrived, he gave him laudanum. We quickly learn that our dear Mr. Darcy knows a few drinking songs and he proceeded to serenade the company at Longbourn with a few ditties that left them shocked and amused. OMG!!! I have never seen Darcy portrayed in this manner. He was hilarious. All pretenses are gone. It is as though the outer layers that he has had drilled and instilled in him have been stripped away. What we have left is a hilarious man who, it appears, loves to sing and can enjoy life.
The tone of the book changes as life within Longbourn changes. Darcy cannot be moved [for a month] for fear of his health and possibly losing his leg. The parlor is then refurbished in to a sickroom and daily life attempts to resume at Longbourn.
It is a natural consequence or human nature to want to portray a positive outward appearance to the daily world. But, who and what are we when we are behind closed doors? Darcy has the unique privilege of seeing the Bennet family in a new light. He now sits in the nucleus of the Bennet household and watches as the Bennet world spins around him. He sees the servants, Mrs. Bennet and her nerves, Mr. Bennet’s indolence, insolence, and attitude toward him, disrespect toward his wife, ignoring and not checking the silly outrageous actions of the younger daughters and their antics. He watched it all through a drug induced haze.
Mr. Collins was of course on the scene with his eye cast first on Jane and then on Elizabeth. This was a VERY different Collins. Keep your eye on him. In a drug haze Darcy roared at him for his ungentlemanly behavior. It was hilarious to watch the normally reserved and guarded Darcy rise in righteous indignation toward behavior that was unbecoming a man of the cloth. Way to go Darcy.
Our dear Colonel Fitzwilliam arrived with a distraught Georgiana after they received a blotted and scratchy express from Bingley. Their presence elicited a big influence on the Netherfield and Bennet households. It was wonderful watching Georgiana evolve in the presence of girls her own age.
When they first arrived Darcy tried to get his cousin to remove Georgiana immediately. He then informed him of the militia being in Meryton and that Wickham had taken a commission. He was not best pleased. That set in motion a serious of events that would clip the wings of a certain scoundrel.
After receiving an express from Collins, Lady Catherine soon descended during a rainstorm with Anne in tow. She was determined to remove Darcy from the polluted environment of Longbourn. She was completely indifferent to the fact Darcy was not to be moved and could endanger his leg. Her response was so Lady Catherine and so very shocking. We learn a bit regarding Anne and the physician that Lady C has managing her health. She soon exited the polluted environs of Hertfordshire with a righteous Darcy glaring at her as she left.
Every chapter is dedicated to a Bennet resident and Darcy’s attempt to make himself practice conversing or interacting with people not in his sphere. It was delightful as he, one by one, won over the sisters and soon they stood by his side in defense or defiance of any that would say anything against him. It was so cute, so creative as Darcy worked a magical transformation on one Bennet after another. I loved it. I loved how the slightest gesture made all the difference in their demeanor. Such a simple thing.
This; however, did not set well with the master of Longbourn. I’ve never seen Mr. Bennet portrayed in this manner. I had a hard time sketching his character. Elizabeth made a comment early on that sort of set the tone for me. On page 24 [kindle version] she said he was ‘jealous of his peace of mind.’ Darcy, from the start, had his number and Mr. B did not like it. Nor did he like the mirror that was thrust in his face so he could see what he had become…what he had done or hadn’t done for his family. It was a harsh reality and he had to come to terms with what he saw in the mirror.
This mirror view was experienced by several characters. Their attitude adjustments were profound. Excellent Epilogue that will please and delight the reader. Caldwell left us with a shocking final scene that I could not believe. OMG!!! Brilliant and disgusting.
Most recent customer reviews
After reading "Pemberley ranch" of the same author I was a bit disappointed by this book.Read more
( Read in July of 2012 )