I’d reserved Heather Lynn Rigaud’s Fitzwilliam Darcy, Rock Star from the library a while ago, because of course someone else was reading it and someone else was second on the waitlist. Everyone loves Janeite retellings!
This rockstar retelling of the greatest book ever opens when virtuoso guitarist and bad-boy rocker Fitzwilliam Darcy, his cousin Richard Fitzwilliam and college friend Charles Bingley, are looking for an opening act on their tour, and band manager Caroline Bingley suggests an indie girl band Long Borne Suffering (I squeed.), composed of sisters Elizabeth and Jane Bennett, and their friend Charlotte Lucas.
And it just keeps giving opportunities for squeeing. Band manager Caroline Bingley interrupting Darcy’s email to Georgiana. Charlotte Lucas smoking behind the tour bus. Wickham as a sleezy music video director. So much to giggle about!
As my epic knowledge of Pride and Prejudice sequels and remakes proves, Jane’s sunny and quiet nature is difficult to portray. Some of us actually have sisters who really are just optimistic and contented and thinking the best of people all the freaking time, and we resent portrayals of Jane as a Pollyanna ditz. Rigaud’s Jane is calmly contented, her romance with Charles runs smoothly, with building honest affection on both sides. It’s a charming and optimistic love story, and just like in the actual P&P, it keeps the crossed wires with Elizabeth and Darcy from soap operatic melodrama.
There are some pretty long sex scenes, and while I’m sure that Elizabeth and Darcy totally got it on, all the time, and that it was super hot, every single time, I felt a little uncomfortable stumbling into porn. Partly because I do a lot of reading on the subway, which is not really terribly conductive to erotica, and partly because I love Elizabeth and Darcy so much that I felt a bit like my friends were oversharing. (Was that weird? It’s probably weird.)
I’ve read quite a few P&P spinoffs, including the one where Mr. Collins is chased by angry bees into a mudpuddle, where he drowns and the one where Mary Bennett finds a human sacrifice cult in the underground caves of Pemberley, so I speak from experience when I call this one my favorite.
Well, at least until that little-known Harry Potter book where Mr. Darcy is the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher finally becomes a reality…