Amanda Grange: Mr. Darcy, Vampyre

Brought to you by OBS staff member Katie

What Elizabeth had envisioned as their carefree wedding tour in the Lake District is altered by her new husbands dour mood and abrupt change of destination. They will now travel to the Continent and visit Darcy relations in Paris, Switzerland and Italy, making the Grand Tour.

As they travel in the style and comfort afforded the master and mistress of Pemberley, Elizabeth sees a dark change come over her husband. He is preoccupied and incommunicative; not at all the man that she grew to love during their courtship in England. In fact, the farther they travel, the more distant he becomes. She pours out her troubles and concerns by writing letters to her dear sister Jane. Foremost in any young brides mind is the consummation of their marriage which Darcy is avoiding. Moreover, Darcy’s formidable relations are more than just a bit odd and events along the way are unsettling. While in Paris Darcy’s cousin Colonel Fitzwilliam privately admonishes him for marrying her. On the road to Switzerland his aunt Lady Catherine de Bourgh surprisingly appears expressing her displeasure at his disgraceful alliance and begging him to end it. As their carriage climbs the mountain road, the local people jump away and cross themselves as they pass. When they arrive in the Alps at his uncle Count Polidori’s castle, an axe displayed above a doorway mysteriously falls missing Darcy by inches. The servants say it is a sign that Elizabeth will cause his death. Later, a fortune teller warns her to beware. “There are dangers all around you …not all who walk on two legs are men…not all who fly are beasts.” When the castle is stormed by angry villagers, Darcy and Elizabeth flee into the mountains where they are attacked by the mob. In the confusion of the fight they are separated. Against all odds the crowd is subdued. Darcy is disheveled and unharmed except for the blood on his mouth. Elizabeth is horrified, thinking he is hurt. We, suspect otherwise.

Their journey continues to Venice, and on to Rome. More seeing the sights, more friends and more subtle comments and minor events as the plot moseys along. The descriptions of the countryside and cities are similar to a vintage travelogue. Not only are the Darcy’s taking the Grand Tour, so are we. The scenes of the castle in the Alps, the fortune teller and the angry mob play gentle homage to the Gothic novels so popular in Jane Austen’s time and parodied in her own novel Northanger Abbey. The difference here is this novel is not a burlesque or a spoof. It is dead serious, and that is one of its foibles. Lack of humor. No Catherine Morland in her nightgown peering into a ponderous chest. Only poor Lizzy unhappily dragged about Europe, neglected by her husband, and totally unaware that his indifference is a front to his dark secret. When did our spirited and clever Lizzy become willing to put up with such treatment? She used to taunt and tease him into submission. Now she can’t seem to find him to put him in his place. (From Amazon)

I found Mr. Darcy, Vampyre to be very boring at first. Its not that it wasn’t well written, but there was a lot of fluff going on and  nothing else. I almost wasn’t sure I would be able to finish the book. Then the pace of the book picked up and they started hinting that Darcy was something different… not human.  I thought, for sure, they would be getting to the part where Elizabeth finds out that her husband is a vampire, but no. I only had 75 pages left of the book when we finally find out that Darcy is indeed a vampire. This adds a whole new tone to the book. I loved it; being able to see the darker side of Darcy was great. Then BAM they hit you with a twist and the story just isn’t the same.

Was the book good? Yes. It did leave me wanting more though and I wished the ending was different. All in all I would recommend this book if you’re just looking for a short book to pass the time.