Editorial Review: Darcy: A Pride and Prejudice Variation by Alice McVeigh
Modern authors’ versions of Jane Austen’s classic plots and characters can be really enjoyable. Sometimes dedicated fans of Pride and Prejudice or Sense and Sensibility just want to see more of these beloved favorite characters. I think that’s why there are so many modern spinoffs around secondary Austen characters like the Bennet sisters. For Austen fans, there can be something special in reading a new reimagining, and discovering how another fan-turned-author has interpreted our favorite characters or scenes.
In Darcy: A Pride and Prejudice Variation, Alice McVeigh retells the familiar story, while adding new scenes, using almost entirely familiar characters. This adds more depth to the story we all love. In this retelling, the author looks at two questions that have long plagued Pride and Prejudice readers. First, why isn’t Darcy already married? And secondly, why doesn’t Mr Collins notice and propose to Mary?
If it really is a truth universally acknowledged that Bingley must be in want of a wife, why isn’t Darcy in the same category? He’s single, handsome, and even richer than Bingley. Why hasn’t he been married off before the novel opens?
In this retelling, we get several chapters from Darcy’s perspective, describing the experiences that have led him to this point. Darcy, the ultimate book boyfriend, reveals a previous romance, and the novel shows not just how Darcy felt and behaved, but the current fallout. Without too much of a reveal, readers may see how a certain volatile, dramatic woman who places a bit too much emphasis on Darcy’s background might make him extra wary of social climber Mrs. Bennet. This look into Darcy’s past also deepens and develops his relationships with the familiar characters Bingley and Colonel Fitzwilliam, all without contradicting the original novel.
Second, as many readers and retellings have wondered, why doesn’t Mr Collins notice Mary? Collins is pompous and loves to hear himself talk while Mary likes to see herself as a deep thinker, so she could be impressed with that, and then Collins would be happy to have an admirer, which sounds like romance forever, and the entail is settled. Right? In this retelling, we get a satisfying explanation, as well as additional scenes from Mary’s perspective.
Darcy offers more scenes to develop the story further. We see more of Bingley’s sister Louisa, which adds more to the Bingley family background, and deepens those relationships. There’s also an additional character named Timothy Lucas, a younger brother of Charlotte. It’s an addition that works smoothly in this version because there are references to a large Lucas family in the original novel, so this retelling just takes one of the little Lucases and adds character depth.
In all these additional scenes, there are no wild twists or major deviations from the original. This is more about what’s happening just off-stage in the classic Pride and Prejudice, creating an extended-version vibe that’s perfect for fans of the original. Darcy offers the familiar beats of the beloved classic novel, often from a different character’s perspective.
Darcy: A Pride and Prejudice Variation is a solid return to the beloved scenes of Longbourn and Pemberley, while adding new scenes for Austen fans to enjoy.