"Not the same old Pride and Prejudice"
Reviewed by Heather Lobdell
Posted July 3, 2010
Every girl that ever read Jane Austen's Pride and
Prejudice fell in love with Mr. Darcy, for those girls
this is not that book. Ann Herendeen's novel gives readers
everything that you didn't know, or rather this story is
about the 'real truths' that occurred behind the scenes.
Truths that you were too young to be told about...then.
Pride/Prejudice is filled with erotic steamy twists that
answer questions you never thought to ask the first time.
The wonderful Mr. Darcy begins the book with a bang! Still
charming, still glorious, yet he might just be
scandalously delicious. Did you ever wonder what was
really going on behind closed doors between Mr. Darcy and
his much beloved friend, Charles? Why do Darcy and his
foster brother have the painfully bad relationship that
they do? Just how far has Darcy taken these relationships
and where will they go from here?
Then there was Elizabeth Bennet. She's young, she's
prejudiced, and not nearly as innocent as she seems.
Just how 'close' are Elizabeth and Charlotte? How
many "intimacies" do they share? And finally, can Darcy
and Elizabeth set aside their "friends" to find an endless
love together? Can Darcy and Elizabeth give up everything,
or do they secretly hang on to the pleasures that they
have found? Will they ever be free from pride, free from
I found this book to be filled with highly erotic,
explicit, and graphic scenes! The characters, deprived
from the opposite sex due to the constraints of the time,
are left to fend for themselves...together. The lines
between what society views as right and wrong are so
blurry they are invisible! Herendeen's story gives us
secrets, scandals, forbidden loves, and eroticism the
story has never had before!
As a warning to lovers of Austen's story, this book is not
for you. I fell in love with Darcy just like every other
girl. I remain true to the original story. That said, I
found that within two pages this book had taken my vision
of Darcy and spun it upside down, inside out, and
everywhere but where it belonged. I did not like the
results what so ever!
However, I believe that had the story not been based on
Darcy and Elizabeth, it may have appealed on some level.
Place it under erotic, the book without the story line,
would have been a very, very steamy read.
For readers who've loved Jane Austen's most popular
novel—the inestimable Pride and Prejudice—questions
have always remained. What is the real nature of Darcy's
intense friendship with Charles Bingley, to explain why he
would prevent Bingley's marriage to Elizabeth's beautiful
and virtuous sister Jane? How can Darcy reconcile his own
desire for Elizabeth with his determination to save his
friend from a similar entanglement? What is the disturbing
history behind Darcy's tortured relationship with his foster
brother, George Wickham? And what other intimacies, besides
their cherished friendship, are exchanged between Elizabeth
and Charlotte Lucas?
Ann Herendeen, acclaimed
author of Phyllida and the Brotherhood of Philander,
reimagines this classic love story, focusing on the untold
aspects of Jane Austen's timeless novel.
Pride/Prejudice brings to light all the buried
secrets, potential scandals, and unspoken, forbidden loves
of Austen's story, weaving a tale of intertwined passions,
pride humbled, and ultimately, freedom from prejudice.
ExcerptThat first ball in the Meryton assembly rooms lingered in
Fitzwilliam Darcy’s late-night torments for weeks. It had
all gone as he had foreseen. Every family in the
neighborhood had made a point of calling on Charles as soon
as he moved in—even before. “I scarcely had my furniture
unloaded and my trunks unpacked,” he remarked in his
cheerful, uncomplaining way, “when the local squires began
riding up to ‘get acquainted,’ as they said.”
The ball reflected the fruits of their labor, all the
gentry for miles around attending, and worse, all the
dreary, middling sort of people, the attorneys and the
merchants, anyone who had acquired sufficient capital to
retire from business or buy a tiny plot of land and could
now call himself a gentleman. That in itself was bad
enough, but naturally they all had families, and for some
reason their progeny ran to daughters—at least that’s how
it looked to Fitz.
“My goodness!” Caroline Bingley said, gliding up to take
his arm. “It’s like a scene from some disreputable opera.”
For once Fitz was in agreement, and grateful for her
protection. He could only be thankful that he had had the
good sense to stay in town until the previous evening and
had not had a chance to be introduced to anyone; he could
therefore claim to be unable to ask any of this enormous
local harem to dance.
Charles was already dangerously entangled, with a plump,
glowing girl, all smiles and lush curves, just the sort
that would be considered the beauty of this benighted
backwater. In London, of course, she’d be dismissed as a
country milkmaid, but Charles conversed so spiritedly with
her during the dance, and was on the verge of claiming her
for an ill-advised second set, that Fitz attempted to
“Quite a prize, eh?” A vacuous old tradesman who had been
elevated to the rank of knight took hold of Fitz’s arm as
he stepped forward to put a word in Charles’s ear.
“I beg your pardon?” Fitz said, lowering his eyelids with
disdain at the man’s coarse, red face.
“Miss Bennet,” Sir William Lucas said. “Our own native
rose, you know. It seems your friend hasn’t wasted any
time. We may see some interesting developments soon, eh,
Fighting the urge to plant the mushroom a facer, Fitz
turned away and almost collided with Charles. “Not dancing,
Fitz? How can you be so stupid?”
Fitz shrugged. “You are dancing with the only handsome girl
in the room, other than your sisters.”
“Oh, Miss Bennet is the most beautiful creature I ever
beheld!” Charles exclaimed, his voice unnecessarily loud
over the thin strains of music from the small
orchestra. “But there’s her sister forced to sit down, and
almost as pretty. Why not ask her?”
Despite his best efforts, Fitz couldn’t help sliding his
eyes in the direction of the seated girl, curious as to how
the sister of a country beauty would appear—buck teeth,
perhaps, or a giggler, or spotty—and by the worst of bad
luck his eyes met hers as, sensing his covert scrutiny, she
turned her head toward his side of the room. Wide, dark
brown eyes, fringed with delicate lashes; expressive,
humorous eyes, yet earnest; lively but honest. Gentle and
innocent as a doe’s but with the wit of a philosopher.
Playful and seductive as a kitten’s but with humanity and
Christian grace to temper any impropriety…
Fitz felt himself blushing like a schoolboy, frowned, and
looked away. By God! He would not be made a fool of! “I’m
afraid she is not handsome enough to tempt me,” he said,
ashamed of the words as soon as they left his mouth. “You
had much better return to your charming partner and leave
me to my uncharitable solitude.” He watched Charles follow
his advice, annoyed at being obeyed so promptly, and became
aware of Caroline standing nearby, apparently having
witnessed the entire disgraceful incident.
“Miss Bingley,” Fitz said, giving a slight bow and
attempting a smile. “Will you do me the honor?”
“Why, Mr. Darcy,” she said, “I worried, for one breathless
moment, that Cupid’s arrow had pierced your heart.”
“What the de— I mean, whatever are you talking about?” Fitz
“But then I recalled,” Caroline continued, “that you do not
possess a heart to be wounded.”
Fitz was grinding his teeth as he led her out to form the
That night was pure torture, and only the fact that mortals
rarely possess the gift of foresight, and Fitz could not,
thankfully, anticipate that worse was to follow, allowed
him to bear his trials with gentlemanly composure.
“Wasn’t it splendid!” Charles said, standing so temptingly
naked in the center of the bedroom, arms outflung in
rapture, twirling slowly and tilting his head up to stare
for some reason at the ceiling.
“Very nice,” Fitz said.
“Nice?” Charles repeated. “Nice? That is the most mewling,
pathetic, inadequate word in the English language. The ball
shall be anything you say, except nice.”
“Very well,” Fitz said. “It was not nice in the least. It
was horrid. It was hot, crowded, dreary, noisy—and noisome.”
“You mean it stank?” Charles was diverted. “Now you’re
teasing. Explain yourself.”
Fitz stretched his long limbs on the bed, artfully
displaying the beginning of tumescence over the curve of a
muscular thigh. “Come here, you provoking creature, and
I’ll explain at length.”
Charles let his arms fall to his sides, and his mouth
drooped. He was not hard—a disturbing and unwelcome
development. “You know, Fitz, I’ve been wondering if we’re
getting too old for this.”
Something pierced Fitz’s heart, and it wasn’t Cupid’s
arrow. He willed himself into control. “What do you mean,
my dear?” he asked.
“Surely I don’t have to recite your lessons back to you,”
Charles said. “This. Us. All that Achilles-and-Patroclus,
Damon-and-Piteous stuff you talk about.”
“Pythias,” Fitz corrected. “What is it, Charles? Do you
doubt my feelings for you?”
“No, never,” Charles said. “But Fitz, you always called it
a youthful love.” He paused, looking down at himself, as if
the question had arisen within his body, in his chest,
covered with silky hair, or his slim waist with its trail
of that same dark hair leading to the dense thatch at his
crotch. When he spoke again, his words tumbled out in a
nervous rush. “That beautiful girl tonight. Miss Bennet.
She made me think that maybe it’s time for me to put aside
Fitz took several breaths and counted to ten, then to
twenty and backward to one. “I see,” he said, when he had
his voice so modulated that his desire to commit brutal
murder did not leak through. “A scheming, mercenary female,
who from the look of her is on the cusp of becoming an old
maid, finds that Providence has dropped a handsome,
unattached young man with a considerable fortune into her
sphere. Even before her first dance with this savior is
finished, she has so poisoned her innocent victim’s mind
with thoughts of matrimony that he—”
“Stop it!” Charles shouted. “Just stop it! It’s not amusing
in the least.” He strode to the door, yanked it open with
such force that he almost struck himself in the face,
remembered he was naked and slammed it shut again. “Just
let me find my dressing gown and I’ll leave you to your
Fitz had already risen to the occasion. He wrapped Charles
in a strong embrace, pressing what was left of his by now
dwindling erection against his friend’s equally flaccid
member. “My dear,” he whispered. “My dearest, sweet man.
Forgive me. I think only of you, of your welfare. You know
I never wish to hurt you.”
Charles tried to free himself but was no match for Fitz’s
strength. “Let me go, Darcy,” he said. His voice was icy,
as Fitz had never heard it.
Fitz released Charles and stepped back, as one does
instinctively from attack. “Please, Charles,” he
said. “Let’s not quarrel over this.”
“It’s too late,” Charles said. “We already have. Haven’t
“Not if we don’t allow a trivial exchange to enlarge into a
disagreement,” Fitz said. “Whatever I said was meant in
kindness to you. And I humbly and deeply apologize for any
unintended affront to your beautiful Miss Bennet.” This
time his voice shook with the lie, but it worked to his
“Oh, Fitz,” Charles said, remorse flooding him at
last. “You know I can never stay angry with you.” He lay
down on the bed.
Hallelujah! Fitz thought, blasphemously and with Low Church
“She is lovely, though, isn’t she?”
“What?” Fitz’s hand was involuntarily arrested on its path
to Charles’s lovely thick cock.
“Miss Bennet. Isn’t she the most beautiful lady you’ve ever
seen? And do you want to hear what’s even better?”
“Please,” Fitz said, the last vestige of arousal draining
from him like bilge from a beached ship’s hold. “I’m all
aquiver with curiosity.”
“She has the sweetest disposition of any woman I’ve ever
known,” Charles replied, oblivious to any sarcasm.
“She would, naturally,” Fitz muttered, but softly, so
Charles heard nothing of the words.
“Let me tell you everything she said,” Charles said,
nestling into Fitz’s arms, resting his head on Fitz’s
shoulder as if they had already fucked themselves into
exhaustion instead of having stopped everything dead from
some sort of willful perversity.
“Yes, do,” Fitz said. “Tell me everything.” He might as
well get it over with, he thought, giving the night up for
lost. Dawn was almost here anyway, and they’d have only a
precious couple of hours of sleep. Pity what little time
they had was wasted on hearing that, amazing as it seemed,
this aging country maiden was possessed of every virtue and
free of every vice.
In the end, Charles allowed Fitz one quick romp before
snuffing out the candle, but it was an unsatisfying, hasty
business, and Fitz was so discomposed by the insipid
narration preceding it that it turned into a dry bob
instead of the real thing. He could tell Charles’s heart
and soul were far away, across the meadows in the
neighboring village of Longbourn, where this damnable Miss
Bennet was no doubt lying equally chastely in her sister’s
arms and enumerating dear Charles’s considerable and
genuine good qualities. . .
Which was what led to his body’s failure, Fitz realized
later. The sister’s beautiful eyes had intruded on his
mental vision just at what should have been the height of
pleasure. Fitz imagined her watching him, those innocent
but wise orbs staring unblinking while he groaned and
sweated over Charles’s firm buttocks, and he lost whatever
meager strength he had regained.
“Never mind, love,” Charles said. “It’s late. You’re tired,
“Yes,” Fitz agreed, taking the path of least
resistance. “But I am sorry.”
“Don’t be,” Charles said, stroking Fitz’s damp hair back
from his high brow. “It’s only what I said before. We’re
too old for this.”
This time the voice in Fitz’s brain rang its clarion
warning, unmistakable: Get out now. Take Charles and get
He gave thanks every day since that he hadn’t listened.
From Pride/Prejudice: A Novel of Mr. Darcy, Elizabeth
Bennet and Their Forbidden Lovers by Ann Herendeen.
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