By: Amanda Grange
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Published On: August 2009
Reviewed by: Cory Bickel
Reviewed Date: November 1, 2011
As Elizabeth Bennett anticipates her marriage to Mr. Darcy, she imagines a life of quiet comfort and domestic felicity as mistress of Pemberley. She has no idea what mysteries and adventures are in store for her as his wife, or of the dark secret that her betrothed carries. The mysteries begin on her wedding day and continue to plague her until Darcy’s secret is revealed to her. While readers will not be surprised about Darcy’s true nature, given that it is revealed in the title, Mr. Darcy, Vampyre will still lead them on an exciting journey with two of literature’s most beloved characters.
Grange’s novel begins on the morning of Elizabeth’s and Darcy’s wedding. After a lovely double ceremony with Jane and Bingley, they embark on their wedding tour. In the first of his many puzzling actions, Darcy abruptly changes their destination from the Lake District of England to Paris, and his strange behavior continues on their journey to Dover and across the Channel. Upon reaching Paris, they attend parties and enjoy their time together as man and wife. Yet even amid the lovely scenery and new fashions of Paris, which Grange describes in beautiful detail, Darcy often seems disturbed and Elizabeth cannot understand his unhappiness. Darcy proposes a trip to see his uncle in the French Alps, where he hopes to get advice on a problem, the nature of which he will not reveal. The Count’s dark and ancient castle, surrounded by forests full of wolves, proves a cold and dispiriting place for Elizabeth, and she begins to believe her marriage to Darcy was a mistake. An attack on the castle by a peasant mob forces the two of them to flee, and they cross the Alps on mules and escape to Italy. A respite in Venice leads to an invitation to a prince’s country estate, where a strange, mesmerizing man shows his interest in Elizabeth. A violent encounter between him and Darcy finally reveals Darcy’s secret to Elizabeth. Her surprise is overshadowed by relief, as she finally understands the reason for all of Darcy’s strange behavior. A search for a possible cure for Darcy’s condition leads them on a final adventure, promising hope that they can truly be man and wife…
Mr. Darcy, Vampyre is an exciting and energetic read. Grange’s plot is full of imaginative twists and turns, full of more action and danger than Elizabeth could ever have imagined experiencing in her quiet world of Hertfordshire. Elizabeth remains as spirited and likeable as ever, and Darcy’s macabre secret is fitting for his proud and taciturn personality. Grange describes the exotic locales vividly, conjuring lovely images of cultured Paris salons or the wild beauty of the Alps. Her adaptation of the vampire mythology is original and interesting. While few, if any, could match the greatness of Austin’s writing in Pride and Prejudice, Mr. Darcy, Vampyre is still an entertaining story, and fans of both Austin’s works and vampire stories should find it highly enjoyable.
Quill says: A sequel to a timeless classic with a dark twist, Mr. Darcy, Vampyre combines history, romance, danger, and fashion in an adventure as lively and charming as Elizabeth herself.