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15 February 2015

Review: 'The Madness of Mr. Darcy' by Alexa Adams (2014)

The year is 1832 and regrets beleaguer Fitzwilliam Darcy. All he ever cared for has been taken from him: his pride, his sister, and his true love, Elizabeth Bennet. Now, having nearly murdered a man in a fit of rage, he might lose Pemberley, too. More than just his home, his very identity is at stake. In desperation, he seeks the help of Dr. Frederick Wilson, owner and proprietor of Ramsey House, a madhouse for fine ladies and gentlemen. Is Darcy’s confinement the inevitable end to his tortured descent, or will he rediscover what he lost in the most unlikely of places?

I'm really excited to once again have a blog post about author Alexa Adams on the blog today! Previously I've reviewed Alexa's 'First Impressions: A Tale of Less Pride and Prejudice' series, which is a fabulous retelling and continuation of Jane Austen's classic novel (and one of my personal favourites of all time) 'Pride and Prejudice' (click here to read my review of the first part of the series). When Alexa contacted me about possibly reviewing her latest release, 'The Madness of Mr. Darcy', I couldn't say 'yes' quick enough. However, this read promised to be quite different from her previous ones, a lot darker, with a focus on Mr. Darcy going mad... A crazy idea (no pun intended), but something that definitely made me curious!

'The Madness of Mr. Darcy' is set approximately twenty years after Elizabeth Bennet and her family, the Gardiners, visited Pemberley in Jane Austen's 'Pride and Prejudice'. Due to circumstances, Darcy is unable to track down Lydia and Mr. Wickham, who have run away, and it seems this crucial event changed the lives of all the characters from 'Pride and Prejudice.' Darcy not only lost Elizabeth, but also his beloved sister Georgiana, which resulted in him suffering from melancholia and battling an alcohol addiction, not knowing how to find happiness in his life after everything that has happened. His cousin Anne de Bourgh, now known as Lady Matlock, decides it's for the best to send Darcy to an asylum where he will be able to get the help he needs. At first, Darcy doesn't know what to think of Ramsey House, the other patients, and Dr. Frederick Wilson, but then something happens that once again turns his life upside down and changes everything...

This book is another retelling of the classic 'Pride and Prejudice', but quite a drastic one! What would have happened if Darcy had never managed to find Lydia and Wickham? What if everything in Darcy's life had gone so terribly wrong, it resulted in him going slightly mad and being sent to an asylum? These are the questions Alexa Adams deals with in her novel and I have to applaud her once again for coming up with a terribly fascinating and entertaining rewrite of an Austen story. I have to admit I was a tiny bit scared at first, namely because I was afraid the novel would perhaps be a bit too dark, too Gothic for me. However, this was definitely not the case; I shouldn't have doubted the author's skills to come up with another simply fabulous story that held my attention from start to finish.

I don't want to give too much of the plot away in this review, but I loved the fact that several characters from other Austen novels make an appearance in this book, such as Maria Rushworth (Mansfield Park), Lady Elliot (Persuasion), and John Knightley (Emma). I really enjoyed the Gothic aspect of this retelling; it's obvious the author did a lot of research and it was fascinating to read and learn about madhouses in Victorian times. Alexa Adams has really managed to create her own style of stories while also coming close to Austen's original witty voice at the same time. 'The Madness of Mr. Darcy' is a captivating, slightly dark and wonderfully unique look at the classic story of 'Pride and Prejudice.' Austen fans have to be sure to pick up Alexa's works, because they are missing out on something great which I personally can't get enough of!
For more information about this book: / / Goodreads

Thanks to the author for providing me with a review copy in exchange for an honest review.

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