I really wish I could rate this, but since I couldn't read more than a page without my gag reflex being activated, I suppose it wouldn't be cricket foI really wish I could rate this, but since I couldn't read more than a page without my gag reflex being activated, I suppose it wouldn't be cricket for me to give this thing a rating. However, if I did, it would be a solid one-star. (Actually, it would be a no-star, but since that's not allowed, a one-star it shall have to be. Hey, I just realized that, by leaving them blank, technically I really am giving it a no-star rating. Hot diggity!)
Right off the bat I have to state that I am not fond of P&P sequels. For one thing, very few capture the tone, voice, and/or character of Lizzie and Darcy*. For another, even fewer manage to capture the voice of Jane Austen. No one can write the way she did and those that try simply come off as poor copies. And, I'm sorry, but modern language just does not suit the story of Lizzie and Darcy. Lathan's version is most definitely modern, in every way. And in my book, it fails miserably.
First of all, she's completely neutered the romance. Everything is now "My Darling" this and "My Love" that. Lizzie and Darcy dote, simper, coo, and fawn over each other. There is absolutely no trace of the sparks that made their romance ignite. Granted, I don't expect a sequel to continue in the same vein as the original as far as their pride and prejudices, but neither do I want them to turn into saps who never fight, bicker, or even have small misunderstandings. In fact, knowing and loving the characters as I do, I fully expect that any marriage between Lizzie and Darcy will have an occasional coolness between them, where they can both imagine they're in the right, discover the error of their ways, and come together in laughter and mutual understanding. Lathan's Lizzie and Darcy are sickening in their sweetness.
Secondly, this is most definitely one of those "They have sex, right? I want to see them have sex! They have to be intimate and talk about sex and discover sex and just be sexy!" sequels. Gag me with a spoon! Sex in romance novels is fine. Not usually my cup of tea, unless it's done right, but fine. Sex in Pride & Prejudice is just utterly, utterly wrong. Like cats and dogs living together wrong. Like the sky is green, grass is orange, and the sea is yellow wrong. Lizzie and Darcy get married and make babies in any sequel, right? So sex is obviously happening, right? No problem. But their sex lives should be discreetly alluded to, kept behind closed doors, and referenced euphemistically. Austen may have been slightly wicked in some of the things she wrote, but she was never vulgar. Lathan is vulgar. (And she's got Lizzie calling Darcy 'William'! That may, technically be his name, but he will always be Darcy. 'William' just sounds wrong.)
Anything more I can't comment on as I wasn't able to read more than 20 pages... and considering how much I loathe this book, that's quite an achievement. You may wonder why I picked this up to read in the first place. One of Lathan's P&P sequels had been on offer as a Kindle daily deal a while back and I was kind of curious to see what the fuss was about. So I managed to find the first book at my library and checked it out. And, boy, am I glad I got this on loan and didn't purchase it in any form--I would still be kicking myself black and blue.
*And in my head, the only Lizzie and Darcy I see are the Lizzie and Darcy as played by Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth in the most excellent and, in my opinion, definitive 1995 film version of the novel. The 2005 version, with Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen, doesn't even exist in my universe. As much as I love Matthew, I can't stand Keira's version of Elizabeth Bennet, and the rest of the film didn't make me too happy, either....more