“The Darcy Monologues” is a new anthology (publishing May 21) with fifteen Regency and ‘other era’ stories from fifteen authors, edited by Christina Boyd, editor e.g. “Haunting Mr Darcy,” “Undeceived,” “The Elizabeth Papers,” “Suddenly Mrs Darcy,” “Longbourn’s Songbird,” “Consequences,” “Pride, Prejudice & Secrets,” “The Many Lives of Fitzwilliam Darcy”, “Bluebells in the Mourning”…to name just a few. I have to give her credit, as she definitely knew her job when she assembled these authors to write these stories. The dedication is “For the creator of Mr Fitzwilliam Darcy” and I have to agree.
The book splits into two parts. The first half contains short stories from the Regency era, the second half are from “other eras.” Some of the authors chose to write in first person singular, the others third person singular. I always have had reservations about writing first person singular (if it’s not in a diary), but I have to say, I started to like them even more than when the narrator speaks. For example, KaraLynne Mackrory’s story “Clandestiny“, where first person singular matched with great writing skills and has a purpose: it makes the looks, feelings, touches more intimate.
It might not be liberal to pick a favourite but I could not resist. My favourite Regency story is the opening story, called “Death of a Bachelor” by Caitlin Williams. Caitlin is the author of “Ardently” and “The Coming Age of Elizabeth Bennet.” Every single word in the story is in its place, and you cannot help but drink it in. I don’t know how she does it, but Ms Williams works her magic and before you know it, you are committed to every single sentence. You will know what I mean when you read Elizabeth’s words to Darcy. They are simply beautiful, and the description of the wedding night is poetic.
As far as other characters are concerned, Joana Starnes’ Lady Catherine in “If Only a Dream” has an Oscar-winning worth performance. She is as overbearing as always, and though I’m surprised to admit it, for some unexplainable reason, I liked her. What more can a writer hope to accomplish!
Another Regency story I must mention, “In Terms of Perfect Composure” by Susan Adriani starts with the word “Seldom.” As you might have realized, sometimes, I like musing on words, sentences…and I love, when the opening sentence is unusual or not boring. Just to warn you know, you will need a tissue while you read this story, especially towards the end, where there is a “Notting Hill moment” (if you’ve seen the film-you’ll spot it). The scene when Darcy and Mr Gardiner talk about Elizabeth, is a lovely example of a beautiful, entertaining, moving conversation.
I’ve read only “An Arranged Marriage” from Jan Hahn, and it was in my top 10 Regency variations in April 2016. The last Regency story in the anthology is called “Without Affection” written by Ms Hahn, and when I started to read it, I wasn’t sure I would like it. To think such a thing is a mistake. Big mistake. Big. Huge. It quickly became one of my favourites as it is absolutely heart-breaking!!! You’ll need lots of tissues. Be prepared! All I’m sayin’.
The “other era” section is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! To my own surprise, I have enjoyed these a tiny bit more than the Regency stories. Sara Angelini’s story, “Hot for Teacher“, opens this half and it sets the tone. Ms Angelini’s Mr Collins is amazeballs, jaw dropping, and full of surprises. Absolutely loved him! My favourite character in the whole book. Just like Caitlin Williams, Sara Angelini is truly awesome with words and sentences. Mr Darcy here seems even more arrogant to me than usual, but I think the story and the year it takes place requires it.
The fifteen authors, who contributed to the anthology, definitely deserve their place. I have enjoyed each and every one of them, but only mentioned six–which doesn’t mean I loved these six stories only. I could go on and on about all of them, but it’s not an essay, so I had to choose. I believe everyone will find more than one, two or fifteen favourites, so don’t hesitate to pre-order.