Friday, August 7, 2009

Review: Mr. Darcy, Vampyre

Title: Mr. Darcy, Vampyre
Author: Amanda Grange
Genre: Paranormal Historical Romance/1802
Published: August 2009

ARC Review

From the author's website ~

The wedding day is magical but when Elizabeth and Darcy embark on their wedding tour, Elizabeth discovers that Darcy has a secret . . .


December 1802

My dearest Jane,

My hand is trembling as I write this letter. My nerves are in tatters and I am so altered that I believe you would not recognise me. The past two months have been a nightmarish whirl of strange and disturbing circumstances, and the future . . .

Jane, I am afraid. If anything happens to me, remember that I love you and that my spirit will always be with you, though we may never see each other again. The world is a cold and frightening place where nothing is as it seems. It was all so different a few short months ago. When I awoke on my wedding morning, I thought myself the happiest woman alive . . .

Many readers have very fond memories of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. And with good reason. But if you've ever wondered what happened after the wedding, well Mr. Darcy, Vampyre is certainly one interesting version. When I first heard of this twist on the brooding Darcy I was intrigued but cautious. Would the author stay true to the characters of Darcy and Lizzy or would they be faded version of the originals?

As I began reading I was quickly caught up in the story. I had no problem believing I was reading what might have happened to Darcy and Lizzy if their lives had taken a paranormal direction. :) I found myself waiting with anticipation of finding out what Darcy’s strengths and weaknesses were as a vampire. How did he become a vampire and what are his true motives towards Lizzy? Would the author make Darcy seem authentic without coming off as a spoof of the original character? Not to worry, Grange did a fantastic job of not only recreating the characters of Darcy and Lizzy but also weaving the history of the original story into the new plot.

The story opens on the wedding day of Elizabeth Bennet and her sister Jane. They are like most brides ~ nervous and excited and looking forward to starting their new lives with their husbands. But Lizzy is in for a surprise when she finds that her honeymoon trip will not be to the Lake District as she thought but to Paris instead. There are more surprises in store for Lizzy as she and Darcy travel to Paris, a castle in the Alps and then to Italy. Lizzy soon realizes all is not well in her marriage and Darcy may not be the man she thought he was.

Throughout the story we get to read Lizzy's letters to Jane. Lizzy writes of her love for Darcy and her new experiences in her travels but she also writes of her concerns regarding Darcy's lack of attention in the bedroom. She mentions her encounters with Darcy's family and friends and the strange undercurrent that she sometimes feels with Darcy. As if something isn't quite right but she's unsure as to what it is. The letters show how important Lizzy's family is to her and the closeness she shares with her sisters, especially Jane. I liked reading the letters, seeing Lizzy pour out her feelings of frustration and uncertainty to Jane. There are times when you can feel how lonely Lizzy is without her family nearby and only the brooding Darcy to comfort her.

Lizzy fears that Darcy has already come to regret their marriage. When she voices her concern to Darcy he assures her that it isn't the case and he loves her very much. I never doubted that he loved her but he was very distant at times and he definitely did some major brooding. There are moments when Darcy and Lizzy are the carefree newlyweds, enjoying each other’s company. But there is an underlying menace that follows them and eventually catches up with them, forcing Darcy to confront his past and protect Lizzy from it.

The vampire factor is not at the forefront of the story. Rather, the reader is given clues throughout the book to explain Darcy’s suspicious actions and his need for Lizzy even while he refuses to follow through on that basic need. I was surprised at how understanding Lizzy was when Darcy continued to decline to visit her bedroom. She questions him about it but doesn’t push the issue the way I would expect her to. Still, she is not an experienced woman and the honeymoon journey is proving to be a great distraction. Between the parties and salons in Paris, the harrowing trip through the Alps, traveling to Venice and being introduced to so many new people, Lizzy deals with the changes quite well.

There were moments of darkness and moments of lightness. At times I wasn't sure how safe Lizzy was in this new world and if Darcy would be able to save her if she needed him. I liked that uncertainty. We know from the title that Darcy is a vampire or vampyre but I didn't always know where Grange was going with it. The unknown made the story that much more interesting. And the other characters, I caught myself wondering ~ Is he a vampire? Is she? There were characters that I was certain were vampires and others I wasn’t sure of. I liked the way Grange used the various myths of vampires to create Darcy’s legacy. By the end all the little clues added up and make sense. Even with the problems facing them, Darcy and Lizzy remain in love and stay true to that love.

There was a gothic feel to the story, especically when they were at the castle, the home of Darcy's uncle. Lizzy could feel the darkness there and was relieved to leave that place and travel to Venice. Add in the running for your life in the dark and dangerous night and you have an enjoyable story.

While Mr. Darcy, Vampyre is different from my usual reads it proved to be a nice change for me. If you’re looking for something that’s well written and gives some interesting twists and turns to a beloved classic then Mr. Darcy, Vampyre could be the book for you.

Amanda Grange has written a number of books set in the time of Jane Austen. You can find out more about this author on her website.

Rating: A-


  1. I've been waiting for a review of this book, Leslie. Thank you.

  2. Nice review..I didn't enjoy it quite as much as you did. Thought it was a little slow... the ending was a bit better. I am posting my review on Monday:)

  3. Mandi ~ I was in the mood for something different and this was a good fit. The slow pace, hmmm... it was slow compared to say UF but I tend to expect historicals to have a slower pace. *shrugs* I seem to read historicals slower too. :)

  4. Nice review, Leslie :D I guess to read this one, you would need to read Pride and Prejudice first, right? LOL :P

  5. I don't think you need to read P&P to read this. There is plenty of character development and backstory for it to be read alone. :)