An Assembly Such as This (Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman #1) by Pamela Aidan

Rating: 5 out of 5
Source: Bought
Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher:  Touchstone
Publication date: 06 June 2006
ISBN: 978-0743291347

First Line - "Fitzwilliam George Alexander Darcy rose from his seat in the Bingley carriage and reluctantly descended to earth before the assembly hall above the only inn to which the small market town of Meryton could lay claim."
She is tolerable; but not handsome enough to tempt me So begins the timeless romance of Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice. Jane Austen's classic novel is beloved by millions, but little is revealed in the book about the mysterious and handsome hero, Mr. Darcy. And so the question has long remained: Who is Fitzwilliam Darcy? In An Assembly Such as This, Pamela Aidan finally answers that long-standing question. In this first book of her Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman trilogy, she reintroduces us to Darcy during his visit to Hertfordshire with his friend Charles Bingley and reveals Darcy's hidden perspective on the events of Pride and Prejudice. As Darcy spends more time at Netherfield supervising Bingley and fending off Miss Bingley's persistent advances, his unwilling attraction to Elizabeth grows - as does his concern about her relationship with his nemesis, George Wickham. Setting the story vividly against the colorful historical and political background of the Regency, Aidan writes in a style comfortably at home with Austen but with a wit and humor very much her own. Aidan adds her own cast of fascinating characters to those in Austen's original, weaving a rich tapestry from Darcy's past and present. Austen fans and newcomers alike will love this new chapter of the most famous romance of all time.
I was really interested to read this story as it's more or less the first part of P&P as it was when Jane Austen wrote it, except told from Darcy's point of view. How exciting! 

Mr Darcy in this one started out as I remember him but things took a turn and he seemed quite...weak isn't really the word I'm looking for but I can't find the right one... Wet? Mooney? Pathetic...? He takes to carrying around a little keepsake of Elizabeth's and
continually strokes and fiddles with it and just generally comes across as a lovesick puppy.
I suppose puppies are adorable but I kind of want my Mr Darcy to be made of sterner stuff. On the outside he's still the same though, it's just all the internal monologues and angst that weaken him (for me). Although, to be fair, since nobody but him knows what's he is feeling/thinking I suppose he's still the same to all outward appearances. 

Since this is the first in a trilogy I'll have to wait until the next book to find out what happens next but so far (wimpy Mr Darcy not withstanding) I'm really liking it a lot!  Also, I really hope I get to see lots more of Fletcher, Mr Darcys valet.  He's a bit like Batman's Albert (Alfred?) and I really like the way both he and Darcy interact, it's quite comical and he's a fun character.

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