I recently discovered the beautiful, local library located no more than 5 minutes from my house, and I have already made half a dozen trips thereto. On one such trip, I dove into the card catalogue for anything related to Pride and Prejudice, and I came across this particular ermagerdvampires!version. I'd read parts of it before but never had a chance to finish, and while I was aware that it wasn't brilliant literature, I thought it was worth a go. I wasn't terribly disappointed, so here's my review:
Mr. Darcy, Vampyre picks up where P&P leaves off: specifically, on the very wedding day of Jane and Elizabeth Bennets to the Misters Bingley and Darcy, respectively. Elizabeth notices right away that there is something amiss about her groom as he seems alternately desperately in love with her and tortured by some hidden grief. The truth of the matter is not resolved until the final chapters of the book when she realizes that Mr. Darcy is, in fact, a (*GASP*) vampyre, thus his reticence to marry her and his subsequent angst because he cannot consummate the marriage for fear he will curse her, as well.
The novel is full of vampire cliches, everything from garlic being unsavory and crosses with their attendant discomforts to a glimpse of Mr. D in bat form. Grange plays with the idea that different "families" of vampires have different quirks, and that while he has a reflection in mirrored surfaces, he cannot be out of doors at sunset or sunrise for fear of becoming translucent, but the novel still lacks in originality in a way that cannot help but let down the reader.
Grange's writing style is decent, and while she has some peculiar turns-of-phrase that she repeats at intervals throughout, I had no great complaints on this count. I appreciated a particular conversation between Elizabeth and an Italian prince wherein the fact that Elizabeth had no designs on Darcy and didn't consider him a potential mate even with his 10,000 pounds is discussed that I thought was quite witty in the author to include.
It seemed like much was left out as concerns some of the minor characters, including the main villain (a mysterious, unnamed "Ancient One") whose claim on Elizabeth is never really fully explained (does his version of "prima nochte" include sex, vampire conversion, or both?). I wonder whether Grange was setting her readership up for a sequel, as the story is left open on a number of counts. The ending struck me as a bit of a cop-out, coming all at once and in one fell swoop at the very end of the book and being executed in deux ex machina fashion, all of the Darcys' problems being solved by one odd traipse into an ancient temple.
All in all, Mr. Darcy, Vampyre proved an interesting read, and I would probably give it 3 out of 5 opossums.