Friday, August 22, 2008

Impulse and Initiative


Reynolds, Abigail. 2008. Impulse and Initiative: A Pride and Prejudice Variation.

This book sets out to answer these questions, "What if...instead of disappearing from Elizabeth Bennet's life after she refused his offer of marriage, Mr. Darcy had stayed and tried to change her mind? What if...Lizzy as she gets to know Darcy, finds him undeniably attractive and her impulses win out over her sense of propriety? What if...madly in love and mutually on fire, their passion anticipates their wedding?"

I have mixed feelings on this one. I do. Pride and Prejudice is one of those books that is practically perfect in every way. One of those happy-making books that you enjoy reading with a big smile on your face. Mr. Darcy is just so perfect, just the way he is. So I've never thought about him needing improvement. Never imagined him courting Elizabeth any other way. Never thought their relationship lacked sizzle.

And this book sets out to re-imagine those beloved characters. It is a variation in tone, in character, and in plot. Mr. Darcy is madly in love with Elizabeth. But she's hesitant about his wooing. For Darcy, as Reynolds envisions him, this means that he needs to turn up the heat. If she won't respond to his true-heart-revelations, perhaps she'll respond to his touch, his kiss, his embrace. If he can make her melt, drive her wild with passion, then surely she'll consent to become Mrs. Darcy. Right?

The problem with this is that to win her that way, he has to resort to becoming everything he despises. Darcy is fundamentally a gentleman at heart. A Mr. Darcy without morals, without propriety, without thought or concern for a lady's reputation--his lady's reputation--is almost unimaginable until now. Darcy borrowing from Wickham? Really?! An Elizabeth whose reputation is in tatters, who has become the disappointment of her father, who has adopted Lydia's it-feels-so-good-it-can't-be-wrong philosophy?!

The writing. Reynolds' writing is not fundamentally bad. It's not that she doesn't know how to write, how to turn a phrase, how to write scenes that work. Stylistically, on the surface, everything about this one works. The characters. The scenes. All good--maybe not brilliantly, great (award-winning great) but not bad. Certainly entertaining. Certainly on the level of other romance novelists. But it's the fact that it's Mr. Darcy. It's Elizabeth. Their love isn't supposed to be smutty. Respect. Purity. Both qualities that they'd expect to find in the other, and hold themselves to as well.

There were enjoyable aspects of this novel. I must say that I smiled when it was Elizabeth who came home and announced that she'd married first. You know those smug scenes between Lydia and her mother and sisters. The ones where she's bragging that she got married first. That she got her man. That married life was so wonderful. Now it's Elizabeth's turn to boast.
And there are a few other enjoyable scenes as well. I like, in a way, the conversations between Darcy and Elizabeth trying to prove to themselves (reassure themselves) why it was right for them to have sex, but wrong for Wickham and Lydia. I suppose they rationalize it all by intentions. Wickham is a jerk, a lusty jerk that is selfish and only looking out for himself. And Darcy, well his intentions are honorable even if his actions aren't. And while one might think Elizabeth's own tainted (impure) experience might give her sympathy or understanding for her sister and her sister's giving into temptation...you'd be wrong. Elizabeth still feels a bit superior to her sister. Still judges her for the foolish idiot she is.

If you're looking for Pride and Prejudice with smut inserted, then this one is for you.

© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

5 comments:

Dewey 2:40 PM  

This post made me smile and even giggle a little. I don't think I want to read the book, really, but it's fun to think about some of the things you mentioned, especially Elizabeth getting to boast.

Bobbi 4:41 PM  

I'm a purist, so I don't know if I can read this one. Remember The Wind Done Gone? I rest my case!

Debbi 8:25 PM  

why do they add so much smut to these type books? Why mess with something so good? I posted something about you on my book blog, sorry I haven't commented in so long.

Sherry 9:19 PM  

Blech! But thanks for the review, anyway.

Anonymous,  5:04 PM  

Thanks for the review!

Post a Comment

I'm always happy to hear from you! To help fight spam, comment moderation has been set up for posts older than two days. Feel free to ask me questions or ask for recommendations!

Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
  • dystopias
  • apocalyptic fiction
  • science fiction (especially if it involves time travel and alternate realities)
  • fantasy
  • multicultural books and international books

I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
  • horse books
  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

If you're interested in sending me a review copy of your book, I'm happy to hear from you. Email me at laney_po AT yahoo DOT com.

You should know several things before you contact me:

1) I do not guarantee a review of your book. I am just agreeing to consider it for review.
2) I give all books at least fifty pages.
3) I am not promising anyone (author or publisher) a positive review in exchange for a review copy. That's not how I work.
4) In all of my reviews I strive for honesty. My reviews are my opinions--so yes, they are subjective--you should know my blog will feature both negative and positive reviews.
5) I do not guarantee that I will get to your book immediately. I've got so many books I'm trying to read and review, I can't promise to get to any one book in a given time frame.
6) Emailing me every other week to see if I've read your book won't help me get to it any faster. Though if you want to email me to check and see if it arrived safely, then that's fine!

Authors, publishers. I am interested in interviewing authors and participating in blog tours. (All I ask is that I receive a review copy of the author's latest book beforehand so the interview will be productive. If the book is part of a series, I'd like to review the whole series.) Contact me if you're interested.

Unique Visitors and Google PR Rank

Free PageRank Checker

2018 Kitty Lit Challenge

2018 Kitty Lit Challenge
Link to sign-up page

Join the Victorian Reading Challenge

Join the Victorian Reading Challenge
Linked to sign up page

Family Tree Reading Challenge

Family Tree Reading Challenge
Link to sign-up page

2018 Share-a-Tea Challenge

2018 Share-a-Tea Challenge
Linked To Sign Up Page

2018 Charity Challenge (Sign Up)

2018 Good Rule Reading Challenge

2018 Good Rule Reading Challenge
Link to sign up page

2018 Picture Book Challenge

2018 Picture Book Challenge
Link to sign-up page

Join the 2018 Middle Grade Reading Challenge

Join the 2018 Middle Grade Reading Challenge
click image to go to sign up post

Good Rules Cheat List

Board books and picture books = new is anything published after 2013
Early readers and chapter books = new is anything published after 2013
Contemporary (general/realistic) = new is anything published after 2007
Speculative fiction (sci-fi/fantasy = new is anything published after 2007
Classics = anything published before 1968
Historical fiction = new is anything published after 2007
Mysteries = new is anything published after 1988
Nonfiction = new is anything published after 2007
Christian books = new is anything published after 2000
Bibles = new is anything published after 1989

My Blog List

(Old) Challenge Participants

Becky's Hosting These Challenges

100 Books Project: Fill in the Gaps

Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

  © Blogger template Newspaper III by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP