I make no apologies for being a Jane Austen purist. I am not a book snob at all…unless it involves my beloved Jane. I adhere to the rule “If it ain’t broke, it don’t need fixin’.”
I really tried to give Pride and Prejudice adaptations a chance. Truly, I did. In fact, I adore Debra White Smith’s modern retellings of all Jane Austen stories, but she remained true to the spirit of the stories. In the secular market there are more and more Austen variations and retellings that trample the very essence of the stories with overt and graphic sexuality. These erotic scenes detract from the purity of Elizabeth and Darcy’s love. Don’t get me wrong-I like a good kiss in a book just as much as any other hopeless romantic. What I don’t like is erotic situations that become the whole basis for the character’s love. There is no emotional or spiritual connection-their whole relationship is based primarily (and sometimes solely) on how much they burn for each other.
What has brought on this particular rant? I recently read two books from Abigail Reynolds’ Pemberley Variations series-To Conquer Mr Darcy and The Man Who Loved Jane Austen. These books were recommended to me by one of my Twitter followers who shares my addiction to Jane Austen.
To Conquer Mr Darcy seemed very promising at the onset. Abigail Reynolds has mastered the rhetoric and social environment of Regency England. Her writing flows with description and feeling, however, that is where my accolades stop. All too soon Mr Darcy’s thoughts progress from being somewhat suggestive to outlandishly crass. As the couple’s relationship becomes more, um, involved, I had to flip pages and then whole sections to avoid reading the overshare of their intimacies. Some may think this to be the ranting of a prude, but I don’t need to know what happens behind people’s bedroom doors…and offices…and secluded valleys…I think you get the point. Considering that many pages of this book were skipped, there was very little left over for the characters to connect beyond a sexual level. It is not believable that they could develop such a strong relationship and profound love for one another simply because they have had a few romps and rolls.
The Man Who Loved Pride and Prejudice has the same failings as To Conquer Mr Darcy. This book glorifies irresponsible one-night-stands and and makes brief sexual encounters the foundation for a “profound” love story. Once again, pages were skipped and characters were deemed boring. The heroine is a marine biologist and can clog pages with scientific terminology that makes readers’ eyes glaze over with disinterest. This book has very strong political biases as whole chapters are dedicated to bashing Republicans and glorifying Democrats. As a Canadian, I can see this part of the book being exceptionally tasking for anyone who isn’t American or who doesn’t have preexisting knowledge of the American political arena (not to mention how this will alienate American readers). The tone in the beginning of the book does not make the tone at the end-this book feels very disjointed and forced.
I am going to step off my soap box for the evening. I would love to hear your thoughts!