Thursday, February 11, 2010

Mr. Darcy's Great Escape by Marsha Altman

Mr. Darcy's Great Escape by Marsha Altman
Copyright 2010
Sourcebooks Landmark - Historical Fiction
489 pages
Author's website

Mr. Darcy's Great Escape is the third in Marsha Altman's "The Darcys & the Bingleys" series. I've read all three and I'll just warn you now: they need to be read in order. Altman has created a wild, action-packed world for the cast of Pride & Prejudice; she takes the characters in a direction that would undoubtedly turn Jane limp and have her whispering for smelling salts. But, that's not a bad thing. In fact, it's all good because Altman's stories are adventurous and massively entertaining.

Check my reviews of the first two, if you're interested:

The Darcys & The Bingleys - A story in which the Darcy and Bingley couples are wed, several children are conceived, the women giggle a great deal about coupling, the men require a little visual help, and then . . . swashbuckling fun ensues. I suppose this one will always be my favorite.

The Plight of the Darcy Brothers - In which Mr. Darcy discovers not one but two half brothers. Astonishing. More action and adventure, more childbirth; the fun continues.

Back to the current installment . . . At the end of The Plight of the Darcy Brothers, one of Mr. Darcy's brothers returned to his home in Europe. In Mr. Darcy's Great Escape, however, Darcy becomes concerned when no word arrives from the continent for several months. What's become of his brother? Has he been driven from his home by Napoleon? Caroline Bingley's husband is also concerned about his wayward brother, Daniel Maddox (who appeared in Book 1). Napoleon has everyone on edge.

When Darcy and Dr. Maddox (Caroline's husband) get together to air their concerns, they end up hatching a plan. They will travel together and then, eventually, split off in search of their respective relatives. But, things don't go as planned. Without a hint of the whereabouts of either man apparent, they travel a bit farther in search of the Count, Brian Maddox's father-in-law . . . and end up imprisoned in his castle.

Elizabeth and Caroline are distraught when they receive no word. Where have their husbands gone? Not the kind of women to sit by idly while men do the dirty work, a pregnant but determined Lizzy and headstrong Caroline head for Europe to rescue their husbands; that is, if they can find them.

Oh, goodness gracious. Seriously, Marsha. You have one heck of an imagination, lady!

I had a terrible time getting into Mr. Darcy's Great Escape, at first, but it was merely because I couldn't stop snuffling about my cat. Well, that and the fact that I had trouble figuring out which children belonged to whom; a family tree in the front of the book would have been extraordinarily helpful. Once I got back on an even keel and accustomed to the many characters, I finally got into the story and really, really enjoyed it. It's a tremendously fun read. If you're not afraid to go where Jane would never have dared to tread without a nice, long sword, this series is for you.

4/5 - Adventurous, complex enough to satisfy without becoming overdone, light and consistent with the tone of previous books and Jane herself, in manners and style. Marsha Altman has a fabulous sense of humor and an excellent ear for dialogue. I will follow this series for as long as it lasts.

In other news:

I've got a sick kid home, today, but he seems to be improving. It's a quiet day at Ye Olde Ranche House.

A few scattered snowflakes have fallen but we're expecting the big stuff after nightfall. Did you know we have snow coming? In Mississippi?? In February??? Our normal temps for this time of year average in the 60's. We have daffodils blooming. This could be really fun. The weather man has warned us that we may even have thunder!!! Thunder snow! Hopefully, that is not a guarantee of power outages, but we've got our water and sandwich fixin's. Should be interesting. Here's a quote from WLBT First Alert Weather in Jackson:

It will be very hard to NOT see accumulating snow...Dallas has seen upwards of 6+" today & it is headed toward us.

Cool. Except . . . I don't believe I own any waterproof boots or, in fact, a coat that fits. But, I loves me some snow.

I still haven't managed to write a summary of my January reads because I want to make sure they're all reviewed and I can link back to them, but it seemed really helpful to write up a list and then come back to scratch them off, last month, so here's another list of recent reads that are lying around, feeling unloved, in the review pile:

1. Stealing Heaven - Elizabeth Scott
2. Veracity - Laura Bynum
3. The Wives of Henry Oades - Johanna Moran
4. If a Tree Falls at Lunch Period - Gennifer Choldenko
5. Benjamin Pratt & the Keeper of the School: We the Children - Andrew Clements
6. The Things They Carried - Tim O'Brien
7. Home is Where the Wine Is - Laurie Perry (expect this review on Feb. 22)

The short view: I loved all but one, which I'll tell you about when I get to it. Also, you might recall that I sat down to read 6 children's books the afternoon they arrived, so I've technically got another 6 to add to that list. But, there's no point to that. I'll get to them when time is right.

So far, this month: I'm catching up with myself. I read 12 books in January. I've read 6 in February, not including the 6 children's books. I try not to let myself dwell on numbers, but it's just a fact of life that I love numbers; I can't help but ponder them. I'm so stoked when I'm reading a lot of books. If everything counts (and I do count children's books, as long as they contain words), I've read 24 books in 2010. Squeeee!

New thoughts brewing in an old brain: While reading Home is Where the Wine Is, in which Crazy Aunt Purl, aka Laurie Perry, talks about making resolutions to change her life, it occurred to me that maybe the problem with resolutions is that we only come up with them once a year (if at all). This year, I opted not to make any resolutions, although I have some goals. But, if I were to reevaluate how I'm doing monthly instead of waiting till a year has gone by? Doesn't that sound better? I've really fallen on my face when it comes to my fitness goal, for example, and I could stand to talk myself through that a bit. Anyway, just a thought. We'll see where it goes.

Still no kittens. But, I went to pay the vet bill in person, deliberately, with the intent of dropping a hint. The hint: I NEED KITTENS! They listened and took down my phone number and, in fact, one of the ladies even bounced on her toes. Apparently, kitten population explosions occur in the spring -- normally a few weeks from now, but I can wait if it takes longer because of some stupid rodent in Pennsylvania. The point is . . . I've got someone listening for news of available kittens in a place where lives revolve around furballs.

Well, there you go. A whole lot of wahoos, don't you think? Maybe I should get back to working on Wahoo! Wednesday posts, too. I'd better go check on sickie. Hope everyone is having a fabulous week!


  1. Great review. Anna at Diary of an Eccentric loved this series of books. I hope the kiddo feels better soon.

  2. Thanks, Serena!

    I do believe Anna has told me she's enjoying this series. :) Thanks for the well wishes. Kiddo is feeling much better, tonight. Just a 24-hour bug, I guess. Wahoo for that!

  3. Crazy Aunt Purl is so much fun.

    I wish you kittens! They'll be here soon enough.

    Evaluate your resolutions once a month? I think it's enough to formulate them annually.

  4. Carrie,

    She's a hoot.

    Thanks. I wish me kittens, too. But, it's maybe good that I don't have them, yet. I might have stuck them in a snowdrift to photograph and given the pneumonia, today.

    I find myself just giving up for the rest of the year if I screw up on my resolutions, right away. Hence the thought. I need to work on that exercise goal, for sure.

  5. This sounds like a great series! :) Good luck with the kittens.

  6. Krista,

    It is loads of fun. I'm sure you'd love the series. Thanks. Someday we'll have kitties, again! Just waiting for them to hatch, I guess. :)

  7. I just posted my review of this one today. Thanks again for letting me know that they should be read in order, and I have to agree.

    I really enjoyed this one, but not as much as the first two books. I think I really liked the humor of the first two, and this one was a bit darker.

    Diary of an Eccentric

  8. Anna,

    It is a bit darker -- and poor Mr. Darcy doesn't handle it well, does he? I can see why you wouldn't like this book as much as the first two. I still thought Altman wrote plenty of moments of levity (particularly involving the children) but I think it's the action and adventure that really wins my heart.


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