Thursday, January 19, 2012

"Darcy's Passions" by Regina Jeffers Review

I have the worst tendency to get ridiculously off task, as you can obviously tell. I know you're probably wondering, "What happened to Jane Austen January?" It's still in full effect, even with the sudden interruption of Rochester: Consummation and that amazing Jane Eyre analysis that made this January seem like it was dedicated to the wrong "Jane." So, let's just disregard the fact that the first two weeks of Jane Austen January have been a distracted mess and continue on like nothing ever happened, shall we?

It's about that time to wrap up with the Darcy spin-offs, unfortunately. I only read four of them, and they all dwell on the same plot, which makes it harder to really infuse any originality in the review besides personal thoughts about random details. However, I must admit that I'm excited about reviewing Darcy's Passions because it was the first (and only) Darcy pastiche to fulfill every detail I was searching for. In fact, this book is basically the reason I only ever read four spin-offs; it was so near perfection that I felt it rather useless to go searching for anything to beat it.

The only way I could really explain it is by equating it to another spin-off I dearly love. For any of you who happen to by acquainted with Jane Eyre's Husband by Tara Bradley, Darcy's Passions essentially utilizes the same preservation and, yet, originality and devotes it to the mind of Darcy in relation to Elizabeth rather than Rochester to Jane. It's rare that a reader comes across such a great balance of faithfulness and creativity when so many other books of the same breed are on various ends of the spectrum. Jeffers covers every base of Darcy's mind, starting from his first visit to Netherfield and spanning all the way to weeks into his married life with Elizabeth. We see the progression of Darcy's secret love for Lizzy through the character's own eyes in all emotional, mental, and physical aspects.

One thing that I must also add is the artfulness with which Jeffers handles the sexuality of Darcy and Elizabeth's relationship, which is almost nonexistent in the original novel (which makes no mention of a kiss nor any real physical contact). Jeffers stays true to the chastity of the source material, but underlays it with sexual tension by intertwining Darcy's physical admiration of Elizabeth with his strange attraction to her witty opinions, intellectual conversation, and all-around intriguing personality. By the time Lizzy and Darcy do share physical intimacy, the reader has no doubt that this is merely a passionate byproduct of a love that is built on the foundations of mental and emotional similitude. At the same time, the pages before that first physical bond are by no means dry. The fact that Jeffers balances the physical, emotional, and mental chemistry between Lizzy and Darcy so well is something that might be undervalued, but in reality it is a hard task to accomplish. I've discovered firsthand that it's often hard for authors to create an equal combination between the three, and the fact that Jeffers was able to do this is an admirable feat.

Jeffers delivered the best rendition of Darcy's story because of her ability to really bring the reader into Darcy's mind without even having to resort to the common first person perspective. She takes small risks by daring to conjecture things that might not have been implied in the original novel, but you will do nothing but love her more for it. There have been too many half-hearted and shallow tales of Pride and Prejudice, with Darcy doing nothing more than saying, "I can't stop thinking about Elizabeth" and leaving it at that. Jeffers gives us the full depth of Darcy's struggle, adds refreshing new scenes that give bulk to his relationship with Elizabeth, and in the end really opens us up to the passionate man Darcy is.

The book is truly interesting and very appealing, and for anyone who enjoys reading spin-offs and has yet to come across this, I think you might definitely want to give this a try. If you have already read it and enjoyed it then I might also recommend you read its sequel, Darcy's Temptation, which picks up where this book left off. I have yet to read it, but it's earned a well-deserved spot on my list of future reads. Jeffers is no stranger to masterful pastiches. In fact, she's written a few others which are also highly recommended (and also on my "future reads" list) including: Christmas at Pemberly, The Phantom of Pemberly, and Captain Wentworth's Persuasion. I'm especially excited to read the latter as soon as I can and review it for you guys. Captain Wentworth is one of my favorite Austen heros.

Comments please. :) 


  1. I may have to get this one! It sounds great.

  2. I think you'll really like it. It's about as good as a spin-off can get. Even thought its not AS great as "Jane Eyre's Husband", it utilizes some of the same techniques and basic outlooks.

  3. Well. I must say you have convinced me! I must try this out.
    By the way, I have heard many many wonderful things about Captain Wentworth's Persuasion, and I think you'll enjoy it very much. He's one of my Austen favourites as well.

  4. Putting a bunch of these on my Amazon wish list. Thanks!