My rating: 2 of 5 stars
I really enjoyed An Assembly Such as This, the first book in Pamela Aidan’s Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman series, which probably made the second book, Duty and Desire even more disappointing. But even when not being compared to its enjoyable predecessor, this book is not good. In Duty and Desire, Aidan covers the so-called silent period of Pride and Prejudice and it just provides more evidence that Elizabeth Bennett and her crazy family are the heart and soul of the story. Duty and Desire starts out boringly as we get a minutely detailed look at Darcy’s home life with Georgiana and his other relatives, including his cousin Fitzwilliam. But boring is better than ridiculous, which is what the tale becomes after Darcy and his valet, Fletcher, go to Norwyck on a wife hunting expedition. No fan of Pride and Prejudice was going to like that! During their stay at Norwyck, to which the bulk of the novel is devoted, Darcy delves into a plot of Ancient superstitions, amateur detective work, revenge, and romantic intrigue. Like a boring gothic novel. Duty and Desire had none of the Austen-esque feel of the first book, which is probably the most important thing when writing a reimagining of one of Jane’s beloved novels. Honestly, if I didn’t feel like I needed to finish this book in order to read the last part of the trilogy, which hopefully will be on par with the first book, I would not have finished this one. And I probably didn’t even need to.