So begins the timeless romance of Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice. Jane Austen's classic novel is beloved by millions, but little is revealed in the book about the mysterious and handsome hero, Mr. Darcy. And so the question has long remained: Who is Fitzwilliam Darcy?
In An Assembly Such as This, Pamela Aidan finally answers that long-standing question. In this first book of the Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman trilogy, she reintroduces us to Darcy during his visit to Hertfordshire with his friend Charles Bingley, and reveals Darcy's hidden perspective on the events of Pride and Prejudice.
As Darcy spends more time at Netherfield supervising Bingley and fending off Miss Bingley's persistent advances, his unwilling attraction to Elizabeth grows, as does his concern about her relationship with his nemesis, George Wickham.
Setting the story vividly against the colorful, historical, and political background of the Regency, Aidan writes in a style comfortably at home with Jane Austen, but with a wit and humor very much her own. Aidan adds her own cast of fascinating characters to those in Austen's original, weaving a rich tapestry from Darcy's past and present. Austen fans, and newcomers alike, will love this new chapter of the most famous romance of all time.
©2006 Pamela Aidan; (P)2008 Audible, Inc.
First off, yes, the narrator is odd, perhaps the oddest reading I've ever experienced; ah but thankfully second, give the story a good hour of listening, suspending your judgment, and you will find that you have become quite fond of the narrator, almost as if an eccentric and favored uncle (who flunked oh-so-veddy-pro-pah British butler school, but has retained the diction) is reading to you (while alternating bites of tofu noodle soup). But the story and characterization is the true gem here, as Ms. Aidan absolutely never fouls the spirit of Austen, never presents Darcy out of character, and even casts some new flashing crystal glimmers upon Lizzie, perhaps presenting her a little more intoxicating (if possible) than in "Pride and Prejudice." Many mysteries are solved as we experience Darcy's knotted anxieties as he falls in love despite himself, even in spite of his almost supernatural self control). The language is beautiful, and the novel is fully realized (despite this being Part 1 of 3), and a few new oddly eccentric characters come ice skating into the story. Unlike so many modern novels that attempt to extend classic stories, this one by Pamela Aidan does not sneer at the original work, but throughout is respectful and imaginative in building on a beloved tale, and even more beloved characters. Art et Amour Toujours
While this book purports to be about Fitzwilliam Darcy, Elizabeth Bennet is omnipresent. She intrudes upon every line. This work represents a thorough and a thoroughly pleasurable analysis of Pride and Prejudice and Jane Austen's world. The P&P story is placed in context of period customs, domestic strife, war, international intrigue and the last gasps of feudalism.
Ms Pamela Aidon weaves Darcy's story fugue-like around P&P. The melody of her story alternately rises above then falls below after touching P&P for an instant. She is always near the original and remains true to the Austen language and sensibilities. In true Austen fashion, discussions of books, ideas, art and music permeate this work along with a lively wit and social commentary.
The highly educated and well informed Miss Austen had no need to provide a historical context for her stories or explain contemporary social norms to her readers. Her focus was the soft feminine world of the drawing room with its choreographed mating rituals. Ms. Aidon's more masculine focus makes clear to 21th century readers, the motivations of the P&P characters and the rules governing their conduct. This is a splendid book. The author treats Miss Austen's work with respect and real understanding. The conceit and arrogance often found in such works is absent here.
In this first volume, the characters of Miss Georgiana Darcy, Col Fitzwilliam and Mr. Bingley are rounded out and their relationship with Darcy explored. In addition, three memorable characters are introduced, a hound named Trafalgar but called Monster by Darcy; Fletcher, a Shakespeare quoting, matchmaking, P.G. Wodehouse, Jeeves style valet; and Darcy's close friend Lord Dyfed (Dye) Brougham who should be watched for more than one reason. Both hound and men play interesting and often amusing roles.
This is potentially quite an enthralling book - and maybe it is in the print version.
The problem is that.
It is spoiled by quite inappropriate.
Pauses which can even change the sense.
Of what was written.
By the author and so there is continuing.
I would like to listen to the other 2 volumes, but am not sure that I can handle the stress.
As I began to listen to this book, I was VERY distracted by the narrator -- I swear he breathes every 4-5 words. Either he has COPD or some other chronic respiratory issue, or a VERY affected reading style.
After about an hour, though, as another reviewer noted, I was so caught up in the story, that I stopped noticing the narrator.
But....every time I resume listening, I have to get used to it all over again.
trying to see the world with my ears
I'm a sucker for Austen spin-offs, and while I think this would have made a great backyard read, as a listen it falls short. The narrator sounds like he is new to the job and doesn't communicate a love (or even warmth) for Regency period or things Austen-y. On the positve side, the author's prose is better than some Austen pretenders and she supplies interesting suppositions for Darcy's behaviour (well, maybe too many since there are three novels) and there are lots of Regency setting details and some good humour.
Who COULD be the voice of Darcy, though? Even Colin Firth might not be able to pull it off in an audiobook if we weren't also looking at him acting Darcy. I would have been more satisfied with a woman narrator - Kate Reading or Prunella Scales might have transformed this four star summer read into a five star fun listen.
That said, will I download parts 2 and 3? I'd like to think that I have better things to do with my time, but I know that I will hit "add to cart" (and probably soon) in moments of weakness!
While I love this book series and enjoyed listening to the wonderful words of the author, I am not as wild about the reader. He does a great job with the different voices, but in my opinion, he sounds way too old for what I had imagined.
Not a writer, a writer wannabe, editor, lit maj, or pretend literary critic. Just an avid reader and now avid listener. I read at least one book a week and listen to an average of two per week. However, I am a snob and have yet to listen to my favorite novels preferring still to read some works.
The wrong narrator waters down this otherwise great story.
Having read and loved the three part series when it was first published, I was so excited to see them on audio and so inexpensive...that should have been a clue. I read so many mysteries it should have been obvious there was something wrong, namely the narration.
The stories are wonderful, truly the "he said" side of the argument. For those who loved to hate the detestable Caroline Bingly, more to hate she is a great bad guy for the Austen set.
However, as I stated before the narrator is horrible! He makes Darcy sound like an effeminate dandy, not the over proud slightly arrogant idiot he starts out as until he is enlightened. I'm not sure what happened after the enlightenment because the narrator then has him sounding like a 16 year old girl. Lord!
Loved, loved, loved the stories, could do without the narrator. However, even the performance couldn't totally ruin this great version of one of my favorite classics.
I actually can't tell if I like this book or not as the reader is so distracting with his odd phrasing and breaths, strange cadences and inappropriate pauses...and sounds much too old for the "voice" of the book. A shame...was really looking forward to this book.
I have read most sequels or alternate stories for Jane Austen's Pride & Prejudice. I have to say, Pamela Aiden is THE BEST of the lot! I enjoyed the Darcy perspective here and felt Ms. Aiden did a masterful job of telling the story. She enhances the story, while keeping to the original themes and familiar characters. No bodice ripping here -- which I really appreciate.
I read the series in the past and enjoyed it so much, that I thought they I would really enjoy listening to the books while commuting. I bought all three at the same time.
I would not have done so had I known the reader's style.
If Pamela Aiden could get another reader, I would repurchase the series. This is one that I would listen to again and again. But not with George Holmes.
The reader was terrible. I ignored the other reviews thinking that it couldn't be that bad. It was. I could barely tolerate the choppy syntax. It was like each phrase was a sentence, and the phrases that naturally go together were separated. What a shame to do this to such a great book series!
This book was entertaining for the first few hours but it is too drawn out; nothing of consequence happens and it gets tedious. The fact that it takes 3 volumes to tell this story says it all. It's almost insulting to be strung along by the author like this - does she get paid by the word?
The narrator, although a fine reader, was not a good match for a tall, dark, and handsome protagonist.
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