by Marsha Altman
Genre: Regency Romance / Historical Fiction
Ages: 15 and up
Sequel to The Darcys and the Bingleys, The Plight of the Darcy Brothers, and Mr. Darcy's Great Escape.
Marsha Altman and Ulysses Press sent me an ARC of this book for an honest review.
SPOILER ALERT! Do not read unless you have read the three above-mentioned novels that take place before this one. The Ballad of Grégoire Darcy can technically stand on its own, but it will make more sense and be far more fun if you have read the others. :)
Whirlwind of Pemberley
The comings and goings on their grand estate present endless challenges for Elizabeth and Darcy. Can they avoid scandal given the recent arrival of Mr. Darcy's illegitimate brother Grégoire, Mr. Bennet's advancing years, the younger George Wickham's coming of age, and Dr. Maddox's departure from his position with the Prince Regent even as his many secrets threaten to be discovered?
Courtship of Mary Bennet
After her disastrous trip to the continent resulted in a passionate romance and an unintended child, Mary Bennet finds herself back in England, living with the shameful title of unwed mother. Having given up on ever finding love, Mary is shocked to find herself pursued by a proper gentleman. But are his intentions true, or is Mary being led astray by her heart once again?
Torment of Grégoire Darcy
Leaving his sheltered, peaceful life at a Benedictine cloister, Grégoire enters a world he never imagined. Thrust into Regency England's secular society, Grégoire is overwhelmed. How can an inexperienced, single man stay true to himself while finding his place in a culture obsessed with matrimony?
This book was wonderful. Some parts of Grégoire's story were almost painful to read, they were so tragic. He was such an innocent at the beginning, and somehow, through all of his trials and tribulations, he retained that innocence. Despite being wounded and betrayed by those he loved most, his faith stayed strong. (Though he did engage in a couple of spectacular instances of sin.)
I loved the secondary characters in this book, particularly the children. Geoffrey Darcy, George Wickham, and Georgiana Bingley are now young teenagers, about to make their mark on the world. Georgiana has wonderful potential. I loved reading about mild-mannered Jane and Charles being bossed around by their stubborn daughter. I hope that she gets a novel of her own one day.
I enjoyed the Irish accents in the latter half of the book. I had fun trying to decipher the precise meanings, and I still have not figured them all out. What exactly does "fierce quare" mean? Eventually, I googled it to make sure my guess was right. (I was pretty close, it means "extremely strange.")
Elizabeth was witty, Darcy was perfect, Jane was sweet, Bingley was naive, Monkey was....wait, did I just say "Monkey"? Yes, a monkey has descended upon the hallowed halls of Pemberley, and Charles Bingley may never be forgiven. And, to top off a lovely novel, what would a Marsha Altman book be without Darcy rushing to the rescue of at least one of his many relatives?
This is a magnificent addition to my favorite Pride and Prejudice sequel series, and I would recommend it to all lovers of Jane Austen and regency romance.
Watch out for my upcoming giveaway of a copy of The Ballad of Grégoire Darcy, courtesy of Ulysses Press.
There may be some mild spoilers in the reasons for my ratings.
1 (mild) through 10 (extreme).
There were several uses of the f-word in this book, though it was always deliberately misspelled, so I give it a 8.10.
There were multiple fade-aways between an unmarried couple as well as some references and innuendos, so I rate it a 5.10.
There were a couple of brief but disturbing instances of violence in this novel, including the murder of a child, so I give it a 6.10.