Customer Reviews: Mr. Darcy's Decision: A Sequel to Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice
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on March 6, 2004
It started out well enough with a touch of wit and irony. Everything else went downhill from there.
The author mentioned at the end that she tried to stay faithful to Jane Austen's ending. I respect her for that, but some of the other ideas did not come together to make a good novel.
1. Lady Catherine accepts Mary Bennet as companion to Anne while still estranged with her nephew.
2. Mr. Collins loses Lady Catherine as his patroness. How the Lucases were able to support the whole Collins family and the rest of the Lucas brood I know not.
3. Mrs. Bennet proposes that Mrs. Darcy take in Lydia's child as her own and Lizzy agrees.
4. All these rushed weddings at the end - Col. Fitzwilliam married Maria Lucas. How is that possible when he couldn't make an offer to similarly fortune-less Lizzy?
5. Lydia and Lizzy go into labor almost at the same time.
6. Wickham actually shows up at Pemberley when Jane Austen mentioned that he was never welcomed there.
7. Wickham cries, Darcy forgives and Lizzy is in doubt.
The book is in need of a good editor, too. In an effort to write like Jane Austen the author ends up writing things like "the scandals that were germinating within the Bennet family." It's an easy read, but not a diverting one.
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on July 25, 2004
I have long admired Austen's exquisite creation, 'Pride and Prejudice'. As a result, I enjoy exploring the various sequels which exist for this timeless classic. However, I was highly disappointed with this poor attempt to recreate my favorite literary characters. Austen's unique style and delicate prose would be difficult to replicate, and unfortunately, this author tries to remain precisely loyal to the original work without Austen's own flair for plot, entertainment, and character development. The book would have been much better had Shapiro taken a note from other successful sequels by following her own path instead of attempting a poor copy of a great original work.

The plot was boring. The character alliances were beyond redemption. The language was simply too much. Moreover, Lizzy and Darcy were rendered one-dimensional and absolutely boring. I couldn't have been more disappointed. I DO NOT recommend this book.
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on January 21, 2005
Actually, I would give this 4 1/2 stars if I could, but I thought I would give it the benefit of 5 stars since so many others so strongly disliked it.

I found it to be a pleasent read. Was it Jane Austen? No, but it came pretty close.

It was a little lighter in the narrative than Austen. Which made it a quicker read than Austen's works.

It might have touched on subjects in a minutely more up-to-date manner than Austen. But, none felt out of place or inappropriate.

I felt Juliette Shapiro did a good job of bringing together both the original Austen work and the A&E 6 hour mini-series. She says that this was one of her goals in writing the book. When I read the book, I could really imagine Colin Firth saying those lines as Mr. Darcy.

Maybe some of it was a little contrived. Mary, Kitty, Maria Lucas and Georgiana all find husbands by the end of the book. But, as a hopeless romantic, I liked that. The story was optimistic and the ending saw a change in attitude in a key character (Austen's plot style as I recall).

It wasn't as heavy as Austen. You knew you where reading another author's work. I still liked it and felt Jane Austen might have been happy with the working of the characters.

If you really want something that reads like Jane Austen, I would suggest "Sanditon". Jane actually wrote the first few chapters and the author of the rest of the book (who remains anonymous), does such a good job with the rest of the novel, that you really can't tell where Jane Austen left off and the new writer started. I would give that one 6 stars. It's like having another Austen novel on my shelf.

Of the Pride and Prejudice sequels I have read, this is one I would like to have on my bookshelf and I wouldn't feel disloyal to Jane by putting it next to her novels.
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on March 2, 2004
This book had little to no redeeming qualities. The characters were an insult to Jane Austen's. None but the most two dimensional characters were even close to the ones portrayed in Austen's work. Indeed, the most complex characters of Pride and Prejudice were reduced to the same level as those that were mocked in the original story. Also, the very hearts of some of the main characters were changed. Indeed, one of the villains of the original story became a soft hearted, emotional doll in this one, with no reason behind the transformation. Add to that, the glaring mistakes with both spelling and grammar, this book has almost nothing to recommend it.
However, to all of that, we must add something even worst. This story has no life. There is no passion, no feeling, no motive. There is nothing to make the reader want to turn the next page. Indeed, nothing at ALL happened in the first 50 pages of the book, and nothing of any great consequence happens in its entirety. This book seems to have been written by a child, with no idea about real life. No problems ever arise in this book for the characters to over come, nothing that can make the characters grow or endear them to the reader.
In conclusion, if someone is looking for a very easy read, something in the 5th grade level, and has never read any of Jane Austen's stories, this is the book for you. However, and one who is even remotely familiar with Austen's work should run. Run far, and run fast, away from this book.
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on July 15, 2004
This is not a good book. Based on the plot and characters of Austen's original P&P, the storylines are positively unbelievable and over the top (as noted in detail by other reviewers). As for style, I don't understand why the author continually puts two or three sentences in a paragraph, then simply puts a comma between each sentence so they all run together. My edition is brand new, but some paragraphs were intermittently printed in a larger font than the rest (?)
Also it was humorous that where Austen originally left it to the reader to divine subtle points about her characters' personalities and traits, Shapiro comes right out and tells what the trait is. In case you didn't know Mr. Collins is a buffoon, she will state it in plain English for you. Kind of like telling a joke and then explaining the punch line.
Overall the book was mildly entertaining if you have nothing else to read and can't get enough of Austen sequels.
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on April 25, 2003
Yes, I was "excessively diverted" by the novel! I am a great lover of fine literature, many of the classics in particular. I have read numerous sequels written by authors other than the original authors - and I was destined to be disappointed in each and every .one of them - until I read this one! I have just finished the book, and I hated to see it end! It was sheer delight, and I thoroughly enjoyed it!
The style of expression was so like Jane Austen's that if I didn't know better, I'd have believed it was hers! I especially enjoyed the dialogue between Mr. and Mrs. Bennett - its humorous flavor was captured perfectly! Oh, and Mr. Collins was excellently portrayed. The sparring between Lady Catherine de Bourgh and Lizzy was done to perfection! I congratulate the author heartily and send her many kudos for your fine work!
I must confess the only little piece I found hard to believe was Kitty's good fortune in securing such a likeable husband - considering her father's remark that she was one of the two silliest girls in all of England (Lydia being the other one), but I am happy for her! The romantic nature of Darcy and Elizabeth's passion for each other was extremely satisfying, too! Not explicit, but certainly dreamy! I highly recommend this "find" if you are a Pride and Prejudice fan!
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on February 18, 2003
Brilliant book, I have read a number of sequels and this one is one of the best I have read. The ending was a little disappointing as I felt it could be left open to write a follow up if need be. The story suprised me and I found all the characters were just as Jane Austen wrote in Pride and Prejudice. I have recommended this book to a number of my friends and they all agree with me it is not a disappointing read, as other sequels have been.
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on July 16, 2004
The author has a weird habit of quoting the original directly as though a new thought, and a great deal more research into manners and morals would have made a great improvement. She copies that Mrs. Bennett called her husband Mr. Bennett, but has Elizabeth call her husband "Fitzwilliam" and discuss his personal habits with her sister... There are many such lapses that I found less than diverting. The storyline is next to impossible in the morals of the day, but not enough to make it some form of comedy. The grammar is poor as well as modern, and the vocabulary is limited. I'd leave it off the reading list.
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on July 14, 2003
I began reading this book thinking that an author would be a fool to even try to write a sequel to "Pride and Prejudice", the sprakling gem of the English literature. I was pleasantly surprised by Juliet Shapiro's style, attention to details, and doing of her research with respect to what Jane Austen related to her family (after publication of P&P in 1813) about what would become of some of the characters in Pride & Prejudice. I recommend "Excessively Diverted" to all Jane Austen's fans who are eternally fascinated with Pride & Prejudice.
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on March 27, 2004
This was a most disappointing book. It had an extreme amount of quotes from P&P and I tired of reading what P&P fans already knew. I expected a new story, not re-runs. I was also disappointed because we had so little time with Jane and Bingley. The author's plots were bizarre and unlikely. All of the quicky relationships and weddings were uninteresting and unrealistic. Caroline Bingley staying with the Darcys? Mary at Rosings? Kitty as Godmother? I was hoping to read about Elizabeth as mistress of Pemberly but our time was wrapped up in another "traumatic" (mundane is more like it) episode with the Wickams. Couldn't the author come up with her own ideas? Don't waste your time on this weak attempt. I recommend Pamela Aiden and hopes she writes a sequel when she completes her Gentleman trilogy.
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