Divided into two volumes, Karen Wasylowski’s debut novel, Darcy and Fitzwilliam: A Tale of a Gentleman and An Officer tells the story of our beloved characters after the marriage of Darcy to Ms. Elizabeth Bennet. Col. Fitzwilliam, just back from the Peninsular war, returns to rejoin his boyhood friend (and biological cousin) Darcy and his new bride. Although their reunion is lighthearted and filled with jokes from their past, some unfinished business lurks beneath the laughter as Darcy and Fitzwilliam grow apart over time. Enter volume two, where Col. Fitzwilliam enjoys pseudo-rock star status as a veteran of the war returning to his homeland. Enjoying his new-found celebrity, Fitzwilliam comes across Lady Amanda Sayles, with whom he falls head over heels in love. Sayles returns his affections, but worries that engaging in a relationship with Fitzwilliam would jeopardize her relationship with her son. What will become of Fitzwilliam in this matter? Will Fitzwilliam and Darcy ever reconcile their growing resentment?
I know from other reviews I read that reviewers either liked or hated this book. Many of the “hate” reviews seemed to be centered around their dislike of the liberties taken with the characters. Personally I’m not an Austen purist; I tend to get bored with reading the same thing over and over and over again. I really enjoy reading the new personality traits that authors come up with and give to each character. It’s this trait that helped in guiding my enjoyment in this novel. I was able to take it for what it was at face value: laugh when I was supposed to, be sad when I was supposed to, and just enjoy the overall story lines that Wasylowski came up with.
Just from following Wasylowski’s twitter, I knew I was in for lots of laughter when I decided to read Darcy and Fitzwilliam. Wasylowski’s take on Lady Catherine and Mrs. Bennet were absolutely hysterical; taking the most ridiculous elements in both of them and blowing them way out of proportion. The end result are two uproarious women who were utterly ridiculous (in a good way).