Twenty-five years after her marriage, Elizabeth is now consumed with the affairs of her children. Her eldest son, Fitzwilliam, is not the heir she and Darcy had hoped for, and both would rather dote on Henry the middle child and their youngest Jane than connect with their eldest son. The arrival of two of Elizabeth’s nieces, Bettina and Cloe Wickham, further complicates their relationship with their eldest son, particularly after Elizabeth learns that Lydia’s conniving daughter has set her sights on becoming the next mistress of Pemberley.
I’m actually rather torn over this book. On the one hand, I think this might finally be the book I recommend to Austen purists. No smut, no cheating Darcy and/or Bingley, no premarital sex. The problems facing Elizabeth and Darcy maybe repetitive when read in conjunction with the original novel, but that also makes the issues seem the most believable. The family dynamics are true to original form.
On the other hand, I was quite distraught over Darcy and Elizabeth’s feelings towards their eldest son. It seems hard to believe that the Darcys would not love their child, that their child could be so dense and dumb. I can only imagine how Fitzwilliam might feel about his parents’ preference for his younger siblings; the whole situation hits entirely too close to home for me.
I did have some struggles following the storyline after Fitzwilliam and Bettina’s folly. I understood Cloe’s decision and appreciated that not everything was rainbows and butterflies, but I was still confused as to how the influx of characters at the end fit into the storyline. The muddling of the end could have been due to the fact that my post-surgery medication was kicking in again or due to Birchall’s writing. Of which I am not sure.
- Birchall, Diana. Mrs. Darcy’s Dilemma. East Sussex, UK: Egerton House, 2004. Print. 235 pgs. ISBN: 190501600X. Source: PaperBackSwap.