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Monday, July 6, 2009

The Darcys and the Bingleys by Marsha Altman

The Darcys & the Bingleys: A Tale of Two Gentlemen's Marriages to Two Most Devoted Sisters
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
ISBN: 1402213484
Pages: 432 pgs
Genre: Jane Austen Sequel/ Pride and Prejudice
Challenges-Read’n’Review Challenge, 100+ Reading Challenge

Publisher’s Description:

Three days before their double wedding, Charles Bingley is desperate to have a word with his dear friend Fitzwilliam Darcy, seeking advice of a most delicate nature. Bingley is shocked when Darcy gives him a copy of The Kama Sutra - but it does tell him everything he needs to know.

Eventually, of course, Jane finds this remarkable volume and in utmost secrecy shows it to her dear sister Elizabeth, who goes searching for a copy in the Pemberley library...

By turns hilarious and sweet, The Darcys & the Bingleys follows the two couples and the cast of characters surrounding them. Miss Caroline Bingley, it turns out, has such good reasons for being the way she is that the reader can't help but hold her in charity. Delightfully, she makes a most eligible match, and in spite of Darcy's abhorrence of being asked for advice, he and Bingley have a most enduring and adventure-prone friendship.

My Review:

I read The Darcys & the Bingleys in preparation for reading The Plight of the Darcy Brothers. I very rarely will read or review a sequel without previously reading the book that came before. Call it a failing or a compulsion but I literally can’t.

The Darcys & The Bingleys is one of my favorite JA sequels that I have read this year. It was hilarious. Darcy and Bingley scamper about, joke and play like two overgrown brothers. That is always something I have wanted to see in a JA sequel. The friendship between Darcy and Bingley is often neglected and I was overjoyed to see it explored in this book. This was also the best Bingley, apart from Austen’s of course, that I have seen.  He is an interesting character in his own right and I was delighted to see his character explored beyond his role as Darcy's friend and Jane's husband. Some of the situations that Altman had Darcy in, had my falling off my chair in hysterics. I never thought that Darcy would be a good comic character but I guess he is the prototypical “straight” man in the comic team of Darcy and Bingley. My favorite Darcy comic moment had to be him in an opiate haze. Darcy calling Mr. Bingley “Charlie Bungley” was a moment of genius that had me chortling for hours. Drunk Darcy came in a close second. The relationship between Elizabeth and Darcy was also a highlight.  They laughed and joked and teased each other. It was the relationship that I always imagined them having.

The other P&P characters were also treated very well by Altman. Jane was absolutely perfect. She was spunky and as witty as Elizabeth. Well maybe not as spunky as Elizabeth…you get my point.Caroline was also given new dimensions in The Darcys & The Bingleys. She gets involved with a scoundrel, falls in love with someone way below her station, and makes a truce with Elizabeth and Jane. Most of the canon characters were improved by Altman’s writing and the non-canon characters fit into the P&P world perfectly.

This is one of the best JA sequels I have ever picked up not because it is any truly romantic and heartwarming story (which it is at points) but because it gives each and every character a new facet. I can’t wait to start reading The Plight of the Darcy Brothers.

*This book was bought by me by me. I am not making any profit from my review of this book other than my enjoyment.


  1. [...] Grenny, Ron McMillan, Al Switzler 33. All of Me-Lori Wilde 34. Wounded By School-Kirsten Olson 35.The Darcys and the Bingleys-Marsha Altman Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)20 Books in 2009 Challenge [...]

  2. This sounds like a fun read! I just started Mr and Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy and am enjoying it. I love all the Austen spin offs -- it is always interesting to see what another author will do with the characters.

  3. I've reviewed Mr. and Mrs Fitzwilliam Darcy. It was really good. I bought the two sequels but haven't had a chance to read them.

    All the authors have such interesting perspectives on the characters. It's always nice to see a new pov.

  4. I'm so glad to hear that you enjoyed this book and have to agree - I found The Darcys and the Bingleys to be great fun!

  5. I love hearing about all the Austen-inspired works! Leaves me wanting to read most if not all! I'll have to put this one on TBR list as well. Thanks for your review.

  6. [...] on the reviews of her two books-The Darcys and the Bingleys and The Plight of the Darcy [...]

  7. Pride and Prejudice is one of my all time favorite novel and I have been thrilled to find so many spin offs from it :) I would love to read more about the men. There are so much more books out there about the women. It would be great to read more about the guys .

    (SU id: BlogUrl1)

  8. Thanks for the review. I'm sure I will enjoy the book.

  9. I'm ashamed to say that I can't even be certain I've ever read Pride and Prejudice though I have seen a couple movie versions of the book. After reading this review, however, I am making it my goal to read not only P&P but these sequels before I return to work in January.

  10. Stephanie: Thanks! It was a great read and is definitely one of my favorite sequels.

    Heather: I have that same exact problem with Jane Austen sequels. They are rather addictive, aren't they?

    JMom: Marsha Altman's books are quite balanced. I find that they are more Darcy focused than Lizzy focused. It was quite refreshing.

    Jenny N.: Hope you enjoy it!

    Pam R. P&P is definitely a must read. As is Persuasion even though there aren't as many sequels for it as there are for P&P. Which of the films have you seen?

  11. Sounds great. I thinks it fun that you continued with their stories, we always wonder, but great to read others thoughts. Looking forward to it.


  12. [...] Darcy’s Great Escape is a terrific continuation to an already awesome series (The Darcys & The Bingleys and The Plight of the Darcy Brothers). This is one of those rare series where it just keeps getting [...]

  13. [...] is one of my favorite P&P sequels and what makes it better is that it is a trilogy (The Darcys and the Bingleys, The Plight of the Darcy Brothers and Mr. Darcy’s Great Escape). Each book is better and funnier [...]

  14. One of the best JA sequels, huh? That's very enticing, because there sure are many of them out there! I haven't read any of Marsha's work, but I'm looking forward to trying her out. So far everything I've heard is great, including this review. These books sound like alot of fun. Thanks for sharing your opinion with us!

    Laura Hartness
    The Calico Critic

  15. I am so glad you enjoyed this one, I look forward to the series. I love FUN reads!

  16. I love Jane Austen and a lot of the spinoffs, but I tend to be really choosy about which ones I read because there are so many that it's got to be hit-and-miss. But, this review convinced me to give this trilogy a try!

  17. I read this sequel last year myself, and I have to agree with you. I absolutely loved the humor that I found throughout it. Unfortunately I have not yet had a chance to read her other sequels, but I hope to get around to it soon.

  18. Fun reads are awesome. Why would one want to read something not fun? :) Romance, YA and Jane are my fun reads for the summer.

  19. The rest of the series is where most of the humor is. Although drunk/medicated Darcy is perhaps my favorite Darcy of them all. Charlie Bungley still makes me laugh.



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