One of my goals this year is to read more books that were released prior to 2020, so I decided that Mr. Darcy’s Decision from Juliette Shapiro would be a good option.
In this sequel, Mr. Darcy is happily married to Elizabeth, but Wickham and Lydia will once more cause havoc precipitating some controversial decisions from everyone, but particularly from Mr. Darcy.
The book begins with a description of the events that took place in Pride & Prejudice and it’s slow pace along with the page time dedicated to secondary characters, made me feel a little detached from the narrative in the beginning.
As the story progresses, there is less description and more dialogue which makes the book more interesting, however, I still felt that Darcy and Elizabeth where the secondary characters in this story whose focus was spread out among Mrs. Bennet, Lydia, Lady Catherine, Mary, Caroline Bingley etc. I do enjoy books that develop secondary characters, but in Mr. Darcy’s Decision, I felt the attention was too spread out among the characters to allow a true character development. In fact, one of the aspects that I didn’t enjoyed about it was the incoherent attitudes from many of its characters, but especially from Mrs. Bennet who is at first very focused on pleasing Mr. Darcy, and later, has no problems at all in imposing her will upon him by decreeing he raises Wickham’s son as his own.
Mrs. Bennet’s demands are not the passing act of a woman taken by her nerves. In fact, it will become the entire storyline of the book, hence the title, and that was another aspect I could not enjoy in this story. The plot was neither believable, nor pleasing to me. Lydia is abandoned by Wickham and flees to Longbourn. Mrs. Bennet believes she will be disgraced because she is pregnant, even though she was married, and demands that Mr. Bennet writes to Elizabeth to tell her she and Darcy must receive Lydia at Pemberley, hide her pregnancy and then raise the child as their own. Elizabeth shares that with Mr. Darcy and he accepts to pretend the child is his own. I will not reveal how the rest of the story progresses because I don’t want to give any more spoilers, but I must say I was also extremely disappointed with the resolution of the conflict in the story. The villain’s redemption seemed sudden and arrived without anything triggering it, making me feel the entire story didn’t have any meaning apart from showing how altruistic Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth can be by taking that decision.
Because the story was solely focused on Darcy’s Decision to take Wickham’s child as his own, the appearance of the secondary characters seemed a bit forced with too many comings and goings at Pemberley. Everyone seemed to find their way into Pemberley: the Gardiners, the Bennet’s, the Bindley’s, the Collins’s, Lady Catherine, etc., and all of this was not very believable in my point of view either.
I also didn’t like all the dynamics surrounding Lady Catherine’s character, from her behaviour at Pemberley, to her tutelage of Mary Bennet, her dismissal and then forgiveness of the Collin’s and finally her friendship with Caroline Bingley seemed either unnecessary, or out of character.
I really wanted to like Mr. Darcy’s Decision, but unfortunately, it was not my cup of tea. Because it is a sequel, and we do see how our beloved characters’ lives progress and witness as the remaining Bennet sisters find their happiness, I think some readers will still enjoy it, but this one was not to my taste.
Kitty Bennet’s Level
Unfortunately I cannot recommend the audiobook version of Mr. Darcy’s Decision, it is one of the worse I’ve heard and I believe it may even have affected my enjoyment of the story. Many of the voices portrayed by Polly Lee are mechanical and monotone, and for Darcy’s character, that made him sound as a machine without any feelings whatsoever. Lady Catherine’s voice was interesting and I did like that, but it was not enough to make me enjoy the rest of the narration.
You can find Mr. Darcy’s Decision at:
and on Audible