Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Book Review: Mr. Darcy, Vampyre

Now, I will admit when I heard that there was a Pride and Prejudice sequel coming out where my beloved Mr. Darcy was a vampire, I was skeptical. In fact, I went as far as "tweeting" about it, "Would be more open to Mr. Darcy, Vampyre if this massive vampire (cough cough Twilight) craze wasn't going around." That is when the publishers said give it a chance, so I did.

So I attempted to be in a neutral frame of mind when I opened Amanda Grange's book, but the silly concept was still in the back of my mind. Now, I'm quite the fan of vampire films and literature as well as Jane Austen film and literature but combining the two was not what I had in mind. I find vampire stories need three essential elements 1) A sexy vampire 2) Amounting sexual tension 3) A healthy dose of cheese (you can't avoid camp in vampire romances). Luckily for me Grange's book contained all three aspects.

Mr. Darcy, Vampyre begins on the day of Jane and Lizzy's wedding when the two blooming brides are bubbling over with excitement. But as soon as Lizzy is in the carriage after the reception that things begin to get weird. Instead of heading for Pemberley the carriage takes a sudden turn for a honeymoon on the continent, much to Lizzy's surprise. So begins a strange series of events for the Darcys in which Mr. Darcy's mixed signals confuse the new Mrs. Darcy. She begins to think Mr. Darcy has grown indifferent to her. But could it be something else?

I was surprised at how quickly I became engrossed in this novel. Amanda Grange has a nice flow of words which I like. She also knows her settings and (very importantly, I might add) her period clothing. She made a gripping story that sucks you in; although I found it is not the same Lizzy and Darcy we came to know in Austen's work. Still, Grange's talent lies in her ability to tell a very entertaining vampire tale and for that she should be commended.

There was only a few things that bothered me. Darcy and Lizzy would constantly reflect and tease each other about their past which would consist of directly quoting Pride and Prejudice. Whenever this would happen it seemed forced, unnatural, and didn't seem to harmoniously work with the characters. It seemed as if it was inserted to remind readers that this book was, in fact, a Pride and Prejudice sequel. There was also a Je ne sais quoi at the end of the book where it seemed that Grange lost her momentum in the story in hopes to be able to neatly wrap up the ending.

My final consensus on Mr. Darcy, Vampire is that it is a good book and deserves a chance. The book is highly entertaining and well written. I tend to avoid historical novels like the plague because of confusions over what is true and what isn't, but Grange shows her knowledge in the many subjects she covers and harmoniously blends them with her storytelling.


  1. Is it as good as Pride and Prejudice and Zombies?

  2. I loved 'Pride and Prejudice and Zombies', but I am growing wary of this general concept. It seems that a new trend is emerging, wherein contemporary writers are attaching themselves to these terrific literary vessels like so much plankton.
    Mr. Darcy is one of the most compelling and even sexy males in my historic literary experience and actually is a good argument against our current obsession with vampires, a character type that we've been conditioned to think of as sexy merely conceptually. For me, Darcy has genuine sex appeal because we discover that many of the things that might be thought revolting about him are in fact a misreading of a much gentler and nobler spirit. Isn't it simple psychology to be attracted to the notion that something unique and desirable about ourselves can touch and even inflame someone who seems removed from others, even inspiring them to be a better person? How about all the women I know who stick with a dud of a boyfriend for too long, thinking they're eventually going to coax the Mr. Darcy out from behind the Stanley Kowalski? Through Elizabeth we get to see this flattering ideal actually work out.
    Vampire has become a sloppy shorthand for: misunderstood, mysterious, physically powerful, lonesome, yearning and sensuous. Jane Austen was not able in her time and culture to attach something that general to her character to give us such a quick thumbprint for what we are to think of him, and so I value the real work it took to craft him just as she did.
    All the same, Heather, thanks for the review. I'll try to overcome some of my own pride and prejudice and give it a chance.

  3. I can imagine Heathcliffe being a vampire but not the lovely Darcy. The book sounds intriguing though and I daresay I'll be searching it out soon. :)

    (off topic, but has anyone read Elosia James's raunchy regency novels?)

  4. @Leslie: No, haven't read them but I sure am intrigued. I used to go through ten a week of the Georgette Heyer variety when I was a kid. Yes, I was 'different'.

  5. Hey, Lesley, sorry about mispelling your name. ;-}

  6. Thanks for the review, Heather. This is quite a trend. I myself think it is fun. I find myself suddenly fascinated by the current trend in vampires as heros (Twilight et al.) Here is another blurb on the literary trend.


    One of my current favorites in the vampire genre is BBC America's Being Human...it is about 3 young hip people living in London: a vampire, ghost, and werewolf. It has Aiden Turner as the vampire which is reason enough to watch.

  7. Hi Paul,
    That's okay about my name.... some members of my own family spell it the way you did! :O)

    I like Eloisa James's novels. They're primarily romances but have a fair bit of historical content, so her books could possibly appeal to men as well as women. She's a very funny writer too..... there's lots of humour. :)

    Different is good! :D

  8. 'Being Human' is set in Bristol. It's not bad though. Worth a watch by the post Buffy generation.

  9. Righto Rosel...I was reminded last evening that it is Bristol not London that is the setting for the very watchable Being Human.

  10. I really recommend Marion Chesney's Regency novels. They are funny and, while not accurate in language like Heyer, are interesting and give the points of view of servants and other people, not just the upper classes. Plus, they describe Regency manners and living very well.