Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Darcy By Any Other Name by Laura Hile

I can think of few authors who do justice to Jane Austen's fine appreciation for the absurd, but Laura Hile is certainly one of them. Her Mercy's Embrace trilogy (read my reviews) has long been amongst my very favorite Austenesque stories, and it was with impatience that I waited for the day last summer when I finally got to greedily devour a new book by Ms. Hile. I admit to feeling some trepidation regrading the premise of Darcy By Any Other NameMr. Darcy is struck by lightening and changes bodies with Mr. Collins. The very notion left me uncomfortable. Darcy as Collins? It gave me that feeling I get when an actor on film does something so ridiculous I can barely stand to watch, usually Will Farrell. There may even have been a moment of hesitation before I cracked the cover, but I knew I could trust the writer who redeemed Elizabeth Elliot, and in I plunged.

What a ride.

If there were cringe worthy moments, they effectively conveyed Darcy's own extreme discomfort with his predicament. Who am I to be skeeved out when it's poor Mr. Darcy who has to endure it? Upon first awakening from the accident, he find himself a virtually prisoner at Longbourn, studiously guarded by the well-meaning Mrs. Hill.

Darcy's eyes studied Hill as she moved about the room. In order to escape he might have to climb out a window and slide down the drain pipe. Not that he hadn't done this before, but how would Collins' flabby body respond? He'd caught glimpses of Collins' thighs, each one plump and rounded like the body of a seal. Could he climb with such legs? Could he manage to ride?

Darcy watched Hill stir the coals and add wood to the fire. How many stones was Collins? Did the Bennets have a horse that would bear his weight?

Presently Hill went out, and at once Darcy sat up, wincing a little at the way his head hurt. Steeling himself against pain, he swung his legs over the edge of the bed. Secretly he had practiced standing to gain strength and balance. Now it was time to venture farther.

Darcy took a sliding step in the direction of the wardrobe. He found that by holding on to the bedstead and then bracing himself against the nearby wall, he could reach the wardrobe door. Hanging inside were a black frock coat and a single pressed shirt. The shelves held smallclothes, stockings, and a cravat, clean and nicely folded. Darcy gathered these and made his way back to the bed.

With a weather eye in the unlocked door, he managed to dress himself. The effort left him weary and winded. He glanced at the clock. No wonder, it was almost time for the midday meal--more bone broth. Wonderful.

One of the things he'd noticed about Collins' body was how hungry he was. Continually he was craving food, especially sweets. This, Darcy decided, was something that would have to change. He would not be a slave to a voracious appetite.

The pages flew by as I anxiously sought resolution, desperate to learn how such an extraordinary occurrence might be undone, little suspecting that more than a body stood in our hero's way. Of course Elizabeth might learn to love Mr. Collins despite his person, were he Mr. Darcy inside, but how to rectify such a predicament proved just as complex as reclaiming a body. The novel is action packed, just like Mercy's Embrace, but Darcy By Any Other Name is a longer and more linear story, allowing the reader to linger and smell the roses. I think I might like it better. Rereads will tell. Brava, Laura!

And now we have a giveaway! Win a free ebook of Darcy By Any Other Name here: http://alexaadams.blogspot.ch/2016/10/a-bit-of-excitement-upon-reading-my.html.

9 comments:

  1. Got my copy but have yet to read it, thanks for the review. off to read the Mercy's Embrace review, as I don't have those books

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    1. They're excellent, Vesper! The hero ... wait till you meet him! Awesome.

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  2. Oh poor Darcy. I keep looking at this book and I do want to read it but I really can't see how Elizabeth can fall in love with Darcy when he looks like Mr Collins. However I do think I will have to find out. I do like your excerpt Alexa as it shows the struggle Darcy has. Thank you

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    1. You're welcome! I totally understand your trepidation but it is very well done. You'll be glad you read it.

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  3. Well how strange. I did leave a comment but it hasn't registered for some reason. I enjoyed this excerpt Alexa but I feel so sorry for Darcy having to get used to Mr Collins' body instead of his own hot handsome one! I will read this book soon although I resisted due to reading about Elizabeth falling for Darcy while he looks like Collins! But the reviews I have read are all so good that I will suffer it :)

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    1. Thanks for bearing with me through the technical difficulties! Sorry about that.

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  4. I'm trying again. I have this book on my wish list although I am wary of it as I really really can't picture Darcy as Mr Collins. Or that Elizabeth can fall for him. Even more I worry about Darcy's body in the hands of Mr Collins. I know I will have to read it to see how it is sorted out. Thanks for this Alexa

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  5. Alexa, thanks so much for the review. You and I share a similar "squirm factor" sensitivity when it comes to awkward situations, especially in comic movies. How I hate feeling embarrassed for a character!

    Because of that, I tried to use a light hand for poor Darcy. I'm so glad you enjoyed the story.

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    1. My pleasure, Laura! I think you made it extraordinarily comfortable. Kudos to you for imagining and taking on such an awkward situation. Poor Darcy indeed, but I think you managed to incite some sympathy for Mr. Collin, too. A remarkable book. I loved it.

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