TheBar Sinister,
Pride and Prejudice Continues
by Linda Berdoll
BarSinisterbookcover

Paperback - 467 pages - 1999
Well, There It is Publishers;
ISBN 0-9674817-0-8

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NOTE:
The Bar Sinister
has been
re-released as
Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife
Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife:
Pride and Prejudice Continues
by Linda Berdoll

Paperback - 476 pages - May 2004
Landmark; ISBN 1402202733

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        Comment by Jenny Scott on Wednesday, December 29, 1999
I have received THE BAR SINISTER.  It is soft pornography. Should be called SEX AND THE BENNET GIRLS.  Not a page so far without explicit sex. Jane Austen would DEFINITELY turn in her grave. It will satisfy those who liked VICES AND VIRTUES but should not use JA's characters.

        Review by Linda MacLachlan, January 10, 2000
This story was very enjoyable - interesting, witty & well written. The characters all seem true to Austen, the language of about that time, though with more words not in my active vocabulary [including French & Latin] that Austen used. Intimate matters are more freely described and more central to the plot that would have occured to Austen, but not out of line with other more risque authors of her lifetime. I don't know whether it outranks all P & P sequels I've read, but if not, it's a close call.

        Review by Linda Waldemar, January 11, 2000
Although there were quite a lot of things that I had to overlook, I think that I can say that I enjoyed this book.  I cannot, however, recommend it. Sometimes excerpts are chosen to mislead the anticipated reader into thinking that a book is more risqué than it actually is. Well, this time, the excerpt is mild in comparison with the first volume of this book. One reviewer says "This is not Jane Austen!". Well, (s)he is perfectly correct. Our favorite author would never write about such intimate details of her characters' lives.

I will start with the cons:

Now, the pros: Please be warned that, if you find explicit sexual description offensive, you should not purchase this book.  If you like that kind of material or can overlook it, then you, too, may find this a pleasurable read.
       Comment by Inko (1/23/2000 3:52 p.m.)
Linda, I read your review of the Bar Sinister, and totally agree. I find Volume 1 difficult, mostly because of the atrocious editing (or non-editing), words and/or euphenisms, and general repetitiousness of Lizzie and Darcy's private moments (more than anyone really cares to know!).

Volume 2 was better (like you, I got used to the typos, etc.) and the story moved forward at a better pace.

I'm now in Volume 3  and, I hope, I'll finish it soon. I would not recommend this book -- my rating is better than Tennant (what isn't?) but not as good as the fan fiction on BOI.


       Comment by LisaS (1/24/2000 2:18 p.m.)
Linda W's review says it perfectly. The book actually had a decent story line and the characters were as I hoped they would be. Darcy was a caring and loving husband and Elizabeth was smart and witty. Most annoying were the typos and missing words throughout the entire book! Like everyone else I got used to it.
Of course, if x-rated material isn't your cup of tea, don't read this one. Be warned, I feel the author has definitely left room for a sequel!

        Review by Jenny Scott, January 30, 2000
I could not recommend this book for a number of reasons:
The book must be counted as a sequel to Jane Austen's work as her characters have been used and their lives continued after the original novel. I have read ALL the published sequels to the Austen novels several times but this is one I do not wish to read again.
       Comment by tamlyn (2/21/2000 9:56 p.m.)
I'm currently in the process of reading Bar Sinister now. You definitely have to be in the right frame of mind to read it. It is DEFINITELY NOT Jane Austen. However if you can get past the more graphic text (harlequin romance is tame in comparison) it appears so far to be an "interesting" story.

       Comment by Barbara (2/21/2000 11:20 p.m.)
I had ordered the book before I read the reviews on Linda's page. There are several passages that are considerably too graphic for my preference, and frankly just not something I think I want/need to know about Elizabeth and Darcy's life as a couple. I would much prefer to leave at least some of that to the imagination. This book leaves little or nothing to the imagination.

Also, I find that the writer uses a LOT of words I have never heard of before, presumably for the effect of making the language sound like Austen's, but it doesn't really come off that way to me.

That said, I am about a third of the way through the book and I find the story interesting so far. She seems to be weaving a lot of threads into this story. For those who haven't seen the book yet, it is huge. Thick and oversize pages with small print, so content wise I'd say it must have at least double any other Austen sequel I have seen.


            Review by Mags, May 2, 2000
This book reminded me of that great line in "Clueless" when Cher says of Amber, "She's a total Monet...it's like the paintings, see? From far away it's okay, but up close it's a big old mess!" Well, this book is a big old mess.

The main thing it needs is a good editor, both to correct the voluminous spelling and grammatical errors as well as to hone and focus the rather rambling plot. Pride and Prejudice is a rather long book and only covers a time period of a little more than a year; The Bar Sinister covers five or six years, taking us from Darcy and "Elisabeth's" (grrr) wedding night through the Hundred Days. I don't doubt that Jane Austen could have written such an epic, had she wished; one can only imagine that she had a good reason for not doing so. Which brings me to another troubling point of this novel: the authoress' complete ignorance of story details given plainly by Jane Austen in Pride and Prejudice. Her research in other areas is seemingly so complete (including an encyclopedic but rather disturbing knowledge of the details and slang surrounding the prostitution trade) that her ignorance of such obvious things as Mr. Collins' first name is truly annoying to someone who has even a passing familiarity with the novel.

Ms. Berdoll was clearly inspired by the 1995 miniseries rather than the actual novel, which is fine (I have found the sight of Colin Firth in a wet shirt somewhat inspiring myself), but it would have behooved her to have read a good annotated edition of the novel before she started writing. It would have saved her from some of her worst plot decisions, not to mention from some general bonehead mistakes such as calling the Darcy estate "Pemberly" (grrr) or giving Darcy's mother's name as Mrs. Elinor Darcy. An artist cannot be slovenly, Ms. Berdoll. Next time, read the book first, or at least get a beta reader who has done so.

The authoress' style becomes irritating after a time. One sometimes suspects that English is not her mother tongue. Presumably she is trying to imitate Jane Austen's style, but the attempt is clumsy and artificial. A piece of advice for the authoress from my fiction writing professor: never use a five-dollar word where a fifty-cent one will do. I assure you that Jane Austen never did.

As others have stated, The Bar Sinister is sexually graphic. That sort of thing doesn't bother me; in fact, I was intrigued at the thought of the Darcys being so obviously happy in their marriage that they can't keep away from each other, as other sequel writers seem to have a burning psychological need to bring down pain and unhappiness upon them. However, the constant references to the Darcys' bedroom antics have nothing to do with their relative happiness. They do it when they're happy, they do it when they're angry, they do it when they're in mourning, they do it when they're traumatized, they just do it all the time except when physically separated. Frankly, after a while it becomes rather tiresome. It struck me as a convenient excuse to avoid character or story development; if all else fails, send them back to bed. Or the floor. Or under the wardrobe.

The book definitely has its moments, some laugh-out-loud funny (and some at which I snickered, not sure if the authoress intended them to be funny). Darcy and Lizzy at least stay mostly true to the characters that Jane Austen created (although I doubt JA's Darcy would have found it necessary or even desirable to "christen" all the beds in Pemberley). The story itself is quite interesting but, as I said, could have been pared down considerably. The ambiguous ending seems to lend itself to a sequel of the sequel; I am not sure that I would read it. I must confess that the main emotion raised by this book is an overriding desire to take a red pen to it. I am sorry to pain you, but there it is.


        Comment by julieA (5/21/2000 3:20 p.m.)
I just bought "The Bar Sinister" from Barnes and Noble (you can order it) and I can't put it down! It is an excellent book. I wish I can discuss it, but I don't want to spoil it for the people who haven't read it. But I would recommend it to anybody who is interested.

        Written by Amber Leah Marie (8/22/2000 1:23 p.m.)
I just finished "The Bar Sinister" by Linda Berdoll. While the story itself was enjoyable, did anybody who read this wonder if the editor graduated from primary school grammar at all? I have a habit of marking all over my books and I truly wished I'd had a red pen! At one point there was a misspelling of a character's name. It's a fun read. A bit trashy, but I really enjoyed it.

          Review by Nadine Mendoza, 15 May 2001
The criticism of this thoughtful novel, to me, seems harsh and unfounded. I think that any Austen fan would agree that no author, however talented, could truly capture Austen's unique and brilliant style. The purpose of this and other sequels is to entertain the Austen fan with a "what if" scenario -- what happens to the principals at the end of the classic -- or what could (not necessarily did) happen. It's merely a possible scenario. I've read nearly all the P&P sequels and genuinely enjoyed this one the most. It's certainly more modern in its sexuality (and quite successful in this, too), but it was written in the late '90s for a contemporary audience. I don't think Berdoll is in any way pretending to be Austen or claiming to be her successor. Think of it more of a further look at the beloved and intriguing characters rather than any attempt to duplicate the genius that was Jane Austen. It's a fine and fun read and offers a very credible story as well.


        Review by Julie P. on June 10, 2001 at 12:09p pm
I am neither a purist nor a prude, but I thought this book was dreadful. I wouldn't have minded the graphic sex if it were written well, but it's not. Instead of finding it beautiful (which I had always imagined the Darcys' marital relations would be), it was simply bizarre. I was impressed at how many names the author made up for Darcy's "family jewels." These people were like rabbits. I seem to recall that, in one scene, they are going at it under (yes, under) the bed. Not exactly believable, in my not-so-humble opinion. The author seems to have been influenced by the 1995 BBC series rather than by the book. This is the only explanation I can think of for writing Elizabeth as "Elisabeth," or Pemberley as "Pemberly," or saddling Mr. Collins with the name Thaddeus. Anyone who's read the book knows his name is William.

The author's characterization of Lizzy and Darcy don't match Austen's very much, and I really hated what she did to Jane and Bingley. Sweet, loving, loyal Jane Bennet, frigid? Gentlemanly Charles Bingley, a philanderer? It is not to be borne!

And then there's the plot. Oh yeah, the plot. It is, in a word, a mess. It got so convoluted that I skipped over pages at a time, trying to get to a part that made sense.

My advice? Don't waste your money. This book is nothing more than poorly written soft-core pornography.


        Written by Amy P (3/9/2002 12:30 p.m.)
I just finished reading the Bar Sinister. It's a very well-written book, which, sadly, many sequels seem not to be. However, as it warns on the back, it's not  JA. If you're a purist and think that the sequels should not talk about private details of the characters' lives, you probably won't enjoy it. There are quite a few, um, interesting scenes. ;-) The characters are true to JA's vision for the most part, and the plot is interesting, and heartbreaking at times. I enjoyed it and plan to keep it, so I guess I'm not a purist!

        Written by Dorine Elizabeth (3/10/2002 12:19 a.m.)
I'm a third of the way through Bar Sinister and like it very much so far. It certainly makes Lizzy and Darcy sound like a fun couple! I must say I was surprised, though, that Jane and Bingley were not so in sync after they were married. I can only assume that will be resolved.

        Written by Becky Montgomery (3/9/2002 8:18 p.m.)
The main thing that will bother me about any sequel is if the writer doesn't stay true to the characteristics of the individuals we already know so well.

I am half way through The Bar Sinister and I have not found the characteristics of Elizabeth and Darcy to have changed from what they should be. The only thing that has changed about them is they are now free to express their love and desire fully to each other...which they constantly do!


        Written by Anna (3/9/2002 2:59 p.m.)
I think that Bar Sinister is the best of sequels. Yes, it's a bit risque but readable and very entertaining. Its only real deficiency is the abundance of grammatical errors ("Elisabeth"!). Everything else is pardonable or at least understandable.

        Written by hc (8/27/2002 8:40 p.m.)
I have to say I enjoyed the book very much. I have to agree with some comments on the spelling and editing. It does seem as if the proof reader was sleeping on the job. The language did seem to follow the tone of  Austen, many times some of the similar phrases were used...I thought "Happy thoughts" was used a little too often.

However, I do think that the character outcomes are not farfetched. Furthermore, I really enjoyed following through their relationship as a newly married couple.

Although it is somewhat explicit, I don't think it unseemly. Given that they are a married couple, of course there will be references to their intimate nature. Furthermore, there have been many great authors in the past who may have been considered risque (ie Chaucer, Shakespeare...)

If one is easily offended, I probably wouldn't recommend them to read such a book. In fact, I think the book has a note in the end that recommends "Reader's Discretion Advised". I am always amused at any reference to intimate passages is always considered pornographic without looking at the context and richness of the characters and plot developments.

One wish was for more references to their relationships with Mr & Mrs Gardiner, as Ms. Austen did mention  in the end, the strong attachment between Mr & Mrs Gardiner and the Darcys.

I was a little surprised about the violence, but at the same time, that was the reality then, there were possibilities of highwaymen and robberies.

All in all I felt that the author was fairly successful in interpreting the continuation of the characters introduced by Jane Austen. Some may say that Linda Berdoll is not Jane Austen...they are right, she's not, no one could be Jane Austen except Jane Austen. Linda Berdoll gave us her interpretation of the continued lives of Darcy and Elizabeth, and I felt even more closer to Darcy and Elizabeth after reading this sequel.


        Written by EmilyAbigail  (8/29/2002 12:11 a.m.)
Though I would not say I am easily offended or prudish, I also thought that some parts of the book were unnecessarily explicit. It almost seemed to me that Linda Berdoll was undecided whether she wanted to be writing a romance novel, or a true continuation of the story of P&P. I also disagreed with some of the plot twists and turn- she had characters behave in ways that seemed out of line with Jane Austen's descriptions of their temperaments (Bingley as a philanderer?). It was a well told story though, and I thought some parts of it were quite funny.

        Written by Jaz (9/1/2002 1:51 a.m.)
Yes it was enjoyable BUT not in the way that Jane Austen's work is I think. The delicacy of JA's work is what makes reading them such a pleasure. The Bar Sinister  was enjoyable in that it had a reasonable plot which was a little confusing at times, was very racy, indeed, I thought that was what made it so enjoyable! Especially as I believe the writer was inspired by P&P2! No need to say more on that!
The Bar Sinister is very long; the mistakes are very annoying and honestly, "Elisabeth" and "Pemberly"!!! I wonder if Linda Berdoll read the original?

        Written by MelissaPR (1/13/2003 8:03 p.m.)
The only sequel I have read was a P&P one, by Berdoll. I completely refused to believe the story was about the Darcy's. I liked the book overall, though I think if Miss Austen had read it the blush of her cheek would be unmentionable! [spoiler snipped] ... there just seemed too much evil and calamity surrounding them all the time. It was quite different from the peaceful but enjoyable life I picture them leading.

        Written by Barbara (1/13/2003 8:41 p.m.)
I didn't find the plot (such as it was) to be necessarily so far-fetched, but I found the book pretty dreadful. She went into far, far too much detail on matters that Jane Austen would certainly never have mentioned, much less hinted at--at that effectively destroyed the impression of it being Austen-related for me. I couldn't picture or imagine these people as Darcy and Elizabeth. That, plus she seemed to have dragged out every archaic word she could find, and seriously overused some of them like 'hence' (about every third sentence).

        Written by Julie P. (1/14/2003 9:33 a.m.)
Besides the "gory details" of Darcy and Elizabeth's married life, I really resented the way Jane and Bingley were treated.

        Written by Suzen S (1/14/2003 2:46 p.m.)
I actually bought the book after reading the reviews, thinking "It can't be that bad."  Boy was I wrong. Did anyone else who bought it ( I did off of Amazon) notice it smelled really funny? Must be one of those small printing houses...

        Written by Oonagh (1/14/2003 10:21 a.m.)
To put it in five words: A complete waste of money. It took me weeks (and determination) to get through the book!

It made me nearly scream to see so many mistakes in a book! Gee, she didn't even use Austen's spelling (or the right names, for that matter! Elisabeth ...   THADDEUS Collins?!?) and there was obviously no editing at all.

 The plot was rather weak and she SLANDERED poor Mr Bingley!!!

Ack!!! Poor Jane Austen ...


        Written by Jo H (1/31/2003 9:25 a.m.)
I just finsihed reading The Bar Sinister by Linda Berdoll and I absolutely hated it at first because she took some huge liberties with major P&P characters...however, it did not take me long to get into it and I could not put it down! It was fantastic!!! Whether or not it's a literary masterpiece remains to be said but it fulfilled everything that I wanted in a sequel to P&P! Including lot's of sauciness betwixt D&E...

        Written by Jo H (4/8/2003 8:21 a.m.)
I've read The Bar Sinister and at first I was shocked and considered not finishing it because this author takes supreme liberties with the characters (incl. names) but once you get past that & the sauciness of it all, it is quite a good read.

Written by Jo H (4/11/2003 8:27 a.m.)
It's definitely not for children. It's kind of a 'Mills & Boon'-type sequel, however, the characters stem from our favourite couple so they are not quite so underdeveloped.  At first I hated this book, with a passion, and seriously considered not finishing it but I decided that I had paid for it so I was going to finish it. By the end I loved it!

         Written by Lynne Robson (4/13/2003 1:05 p.m.)
I read this book and found it to be explicit, not for kids under the age of 18 years as it is very explicit in some parts, but found it to be a good read if you are not a purist.

        Written by Wende (4/22/2003 6:12 p.m.)
I bought the book last year, and i loved it at first b/c it was my first "fan fic" read, beyond the original. I still like it to an extent. I could do without ALL of the intimate scenes ( a few would be harmless, but the way she portrayed those two...hmmm)

The thing that bugged me to NO end, was the way she spelled Elizabeth. I am glad to see others are peeved as well. to quote Lady C, "not so hasty if you please!" sounds like the publisher was not 'wasting' any time for the editor to do his job on this little ditty. Personally, I would rather wait for a better printing than rather read it as it is now.


        Written by Tiffany Ann (5/2/2003 11:50 a.m.)
So far in published works, I'd have to say that I enjoyed Berdoll's Bar Sinister the best. I would NOT say that this sequel is faithful to the characters that JA created nor is the writing quality/style anywhere near hers. Elizabeth's character is hardly recognizable as the sharp witty woman that we know and love. There are several other character assassinations throughout along with some annoying misspellings of names & words, but it was still a great read. Lots of juicy love scenes that would probably shock Ms. Austen. I also enjoyed how long it was (quite a thick sequel) and I did not want it to end.

        Written by Louise Barada (6/13/2003 4:45 a.m.)
Hi everyone!
I've just finished The Bar Sinister and thought it very good. It was my first sequel of P&P of some length that I've read. I've read after "Darcy's Story" and "Letters from Pemberley" but prefer this sequel. 

         Written by Ramona (6/13/2003 12:38 p.m.)
I do agree with you about the grammar. I like it any way. I had to have a dictionary with me also.
I thought she grasp the characters well. Mrs Bennett was constantly silly, Lydia, oh my goodness, she was even more a mess. Mr Bennett continued to laugh at everyone. There was no added depth to anyone, except maybe Georgiana. She changed a lot. And she left out the Gardiners all together. 

        Written by Vania (6/13/2003 2:37 p.m.)
I don't love this sequel, but I'm keeping my copy on the shelves for now. Aside from the grammatical errors, I didn't like the Juliette character at all. Lizzy is just such a favorite of mine that I quite detested having her to know about and even meet this woman. I can't imagine Georgiana running off in such a way.. Mr. Bennet died before seeing his favorite daughter's children and Mr. Collins --- how I will miss his pompous nothings!

In truth, whenever I re-read this I just skip the pages I don't like and it works out. 


        Written by Kara Lynn (6/13/2003 3:50 p.m.)
I also just finished reading The Bar Sinister. It was not one of my favorite novels, and I really don't think that I will be reading it again anytime soon. But once I got over the shock of some of the more racy scenes, I surprisingly kind of liked it!

        Written by Ramona (6/13/2003 8:56 a.m.)
I've read it 2 or 3 times. A lot of people didn't like it. I loved it. It was my 2nd sequel. I read Letters from Pemberley which I liked but was no comparison to The Bar Sinister.

As for Bar Sinster. The love scenes were hard to get through. Even though, IMO it demonstrated the deep longing Darcy had for Eliza. He is the kind of guy that would do anything for the woman he loved.

I liked the way Berdoll stuck to the character of each character, even Mr. Collins was as stupid as he was in P&P.

I hated some of the long introduction to some of the new characters. I think CH5 describes Juliette Clossion  (I'm at work don't have the book here) that was too much. Especially being her role in the book was minor if not there at all.


        Written by Lynne Robson (6/13/2003 2:40 p.m.)
I found that this book has to be one of the best sequels on the market. I have read quite a few of the sequels on the sequel page including Shades of Pemberley which I thoroughly enjoyed. I found The Bar Sinister was a real page turner once you got past the first few chapters. It is not for anyone under 18 as it is very explicit in certain areas. I was very disappointed that she did not include the Gardiners more and that she killed off Mr Bennet, the ending has been left open in case she decides to right a follow up to this book as others have done. I am not all that bothered about the spelling mistakes or the grammar I was more bothered about the story line itself, and to me it has a wonderful story line many of these things would have happened in the Regency period such as still birth, miscarriages and     Highway men.

I must admit that Wickham turns out as I expected him to do and many other of the characters such as Lydia and Mrs Bennet are just as stupid as I expected them to be. I have recommended this book to many of my friends here in Derbyshire who think like my self it is an excellent read. 


        Written by Jill S (6/18/2003 12:03 p.m.)
I found myself actually laughing out loud during many of the passages -- the book was so outrageous. Because of that, I did find it entertaining, although I think JA would turn in her grave at many of the scenes.

The scene where Charlotte's letter describes Mr. Collins' death by bee venom/drowning is particularly outrageous.

I don't like the fact that she changed his name to Thaddeus, but at least she didn't change Darcy's name to William or Fitz.

On the whole, this is best of the book sequels I've read, but none of them come close to JA. I'll also add that I think much of the writing on the BOI is better than any of the sequel books and The Bar Sinister. 


        Written by Sid (Wednesday, 18 June 2003, at 5:24 a.m.)
I love P&P. I've already read Darcy's Story and The Bar Sinister (which I found really really good).

        Written by Sid (Wednesday, 18 June 2003, at 5:34 a.m.)
The only sequel I 've read is The Bar Sinister. I admit that at the beginning I found the author's style very different from JA's, but the book is really good that I couldn't put it down. I think you should read this one, perhaps it would reconcile you with P&P's sequels. However some scene (like their wedding night) being very descipted, not every readers can read it.

        Written by Ramona (Wednesday, 18 June 2003, at 3:14 p.m.)
Bar Sinister, Is IMO Rated R. I did like the book also, but the intimate scenes are very graphic. Depending on your age your Mom may not let you read it. LOL! 

        Written by Faith R (8/30/2003 8:15 a.m.)
I have read it several times I shamefully admit! There are many things wrong with it! Editing, some downright silliness, too much graphic sex, an irritating attempt at writing in the style of the period but widely missing the mark! But at the same time, I thought the author really caught the passion between Darcy and Elizabeth. I think she really understood the way their personalities would interplay. And there are some very funny scenes in it. The dialogue is very good, not wooden like some of the sequels.

I have read three sequels now and it is my "favorite". Really, they are just a cheap way to indulge an addiction! 


         Written by Amber D. (8/29/2003 9:25 p.m.)
I'm finishing it up right now, and I liked it  I've read the sequel reviews here at RoP, and while I can't totally disagree with any of the disparagements, I am a huge typo freak and I still enjoyed the heck out of it. It is racy, but not any more than your average romance novel. And while the characters don't always seem to act quite as one thinks they would have, I felt they were fairly true to themselves and that the story was not unbelievable, except for a few small occasional things, and I'm not gonna spoil it by saying anything! But, I'm one of those who just can't get enough of Darcy and Lizzy, so I am probably not as critical as I would be of a book that wasn't about them. The typos and errors would drive me nuts weren't I so hungry for more of their lives. 

        Written by Jessica Audrey (8/31/2003 6:37 p.m.)
I actually just returned it to the library (finally found it in interlibrary loan) and most definitely agree with everything Faith said! I think at least once a page I came across editing mistakes and often had the feeling that Berdoll kept a thesaurus next to her while writing just so she could use "big" words.

She stayed fairly true to the characters, but did end up making them more her own (several times I found myself shaking my head and thinking so-and-so would never do/say that!). A lot of times it ends up feeling like a harlequin novel and can be overly dramatic, but if you don't mind that you should enjoy it. I found the story intriguing and definitely wanted to find out what happened in the end.

I wouldn't recommend buying it unless you absolutely cannot get it through interlibrary loan though. 


        Written by Elizabeth Thecla (9/25/2003 4:54 p.m.)
I have to say...if I were a purist, I would probably have hated it. As it was, I had to simply put my mind to it that my purpose in reading it was not to pull out my red editor's pencil and proofread the thing (although I wish someone had done so) but to spend some time with Elizabeth and Darcy.

 Because I am NOT a purist, I was able to take the book on its own merits. Is it a worthy successor to anything Jane Austen wrote, particularly P&P? As Mark Darcy would say: Absolutely not! Does it stand alone? Sure. It sometimes reminded me of a particularly belabored Regency Romance - you know, the sort of book that shows a half-dressed woman and a pectorally-gifted man heaving away on the covers - but I have to say, I thought the author captured Elizabeth and Darcy's characters very well, indeed, and I LIKED seeing them in all of their passion and vulnerability. Some of it was quite funny. And Elizabeth is very well drawn as well - spirited and intelligent as ever. I was able to look past the author's odd spelling choices...but I had a problem with Darcy calling Elizabeth 'Lizzy'. I simply think he would not do it, not even in the throes of passion. But that's not a big point.

The twists and turns of the story were mostly very good. I liked the suspense of figuring out precisely who John Christie was, and Lizzy's kidnapping (with Darcy's thrilling rescue - Go GET 'EM, Darcy!) was a highpoint. Followed by the very sad low points and the questions re Elizabeth's fertility...it all seemed like a whale of a good tale to me - things galloped along from page to page, and I'll give the author credit; she knows how to tell a story...but in the end it was just a tad o-v-e-r-l-o-n-g - Darcy was wayyyyy too long in France, and I didn't buy Georgiana's story line for a moment.

But I DID buy the Bingley's sexual problems. I had already imagined they would have that sort of marriage, because neither of them are secure enough or passionate enough to really let loose - propriety owns them.

Would I recommend it? Sure. Again, it's not for purists. If you're reading it expecting any of JA's wit and wisdom, or her gift for leaving things unsaid, then you'll be disappointed. If you're into racy and explicit Regency, it might actually be too tame for you. But if you're looking to spend some time with familiar characters you love, and you can bear to think outside of P&P just a little - I know for some that is blasphemy - then this is a very enjoyable bit of escapism.

And if you are already deeply, madly, truly in love with Darcy...well...this won't heal you! :-)

        Written by Stephanie Ruth (9/25/2003 6:23 p.m.)
] And if you are already deeply, madly, truly in love with Darcy...well...this won't heal you! :-)

 It certainly didn't heal me!

I agree with everything you said, Elizabeth, particularly about the 'France thing' being too long. That was the only part of the book where I felt tempted to skip-read.

It is [not] 'great' literature - it isn't even 'good' literature. Just a thumping good read for those times when you don't want anything too challenging. You've whet my appetite now. I must go and find my copy (and my red pencil!) and give it a second reading.

        Written by Amber D. (9/25/2003 7:52 p.m.)
I completely agree with everything you've said - Georgiana would not behave like that for one second! I was shocked! - but I admit I had the same thoughts about the Bingleys, as well. Argh, and the typos and misspells! If I didn't have a strict rule about not writing in books... ;-)

 But I enjoyed it immensely all the same. It temporarily satisfied my craving. I simply cannot get enough of Elizabeth and Darcy and the whole merry lot of them!

        Written by Lynne Robson (9/26/2003 5:26 p.m.)
 The Bar Sinister is one of my favourite sequels I have been reading on the site Following Jane that there is to be a follow up from where she left off in The Bar Sinister and I cannot wait if it is as good a story as the first I will be making sure that I order it as soon as it comes out.

I felt The Bar Sinister stuck very close to life in the Regency period as their were people like Tom Reed and worse around the heroic rescue of Lizzy by Darcy was something I would have expected a man so in love to do.

As you have pointed out I could not see Darcy calling Elizabeth Lizzy and neither could I see Elizabeth calling Darcy by his last name all the time I would have thought that she would use his Christian name in private and revert to Mr Darcy in public as all married women called their spouses by their title and last name as a matter of respect and the same would go for her husband, we see this in P & P when Mr and Mrs Bennet speak to one another in the presence of others. 

        Written by Stephanie Ruth (January 11, 2004 )
The Bar Sinister - it was SOOOO entertaining with all of its mis-spellings, bad grammar and other inconsistencies!

        Written by Lynne Robson (January 12, 2004 )
Re Mr Darcy Takes a Wife I wrote on this page a few weeks ago that I emailed Linda Birdoll as I had been informed by friends in the USA that her sequel was to be published in March. She replied that she had been successful in getting her book published again under it's original title Mr Darcy Takes a Wife and had been proof read and beta'ed. The sequel is also to be released sometime this year but she was not sure when. I for one would like to see this new version of a very good sequel to P&P and I don't know about you I cant wait for the sequel.

       Written by BrandyLynn, 2/22/04
In every review that I have read of this book, it has been pointed out that there are some very personal scenes in almost every chapter.  I agree with this, but, they are NOT X-rated as some have said.  Maybe R, definitely not something that a child should read.  But, for a mature romantic adult (who has looked between the covers of books by authors such as Catherine Coulter and Jude Deveraux) these scenes are very mild, and leave much to the imagination.  They can be a bit risque, but it only adds spice to the book and gives the reader a deeper look into Lizzy and Darcy's relationship.  The book is a great read, covering almost all of the characters from the original.  It has passion, romance, danger.... A little bit of everything.  If you can't get past the editing mistakes, wait for the re-release in April that is titled Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife. I am not so patiently waiting for it's release.

        Written by Becky Montgomery (3/11/2004 12:07 a.m.)
I am in the middle of the book. I started it last year but I am not a big reader because I fall asleep so fast when I read so it takes me quite some time to get through books. Anyway, so far it is VERY DIFFERENT from Jane Austen's Pride & Prejudice even though it picks up where the wedding ended. There are many events involving the main characters that basically go against the very characteristics of these beloved people, Darcy in particular. Also it is more of a "romance" novel than anything else and includes a lot of explicitly detailed intimate scenes between Darcy and Elizabeth. But if you are yearning for this kind of story and want to read about their intimate life you may like the book. I, for one, decided to take it with a grain of salt because if you are a JA purist you will hate this book. One thing that really bothered me though was the spelling errors and inconsistencies in how to spell names and places in the book. In some cases names were even changed for some odd reason (Mr. Collins’s first name in particular comes to mind). I have to say, the editing is amongst the worst I have ever seen in a published book. Not to mention the over use of the word “whilst” just about drove me batty. After a while I got used to the horrible editing and ignored it but be forewarned. Bottom line, I can’t recommend nor can I not recommend this book. It is totally subjective to the individual’s tastes.

        Written by JessPryde (March 24, 2004 )
The Bar Sinister...a bit graphic but relatively good. It starts with the carriage ride home after the wedding and spans a good deal of time.

There have been some qualms about Linda Berdoll spelling Lizzy's name with an S instead of a Z. It was longer than most and relied a lot on the Mr. Darcy of P&P2, but what doesn't nowadays? I liked it, but it doesn't take much to please me when it comes to books.

Hope this helped.


         Written by Amy Elizabeth (March 24, 2004 ) 

Bar Sinister- every feeling revolts! I realize this book has already been reviewed, but I must contribute my opinion. This book constituted the first and only time I have ever returned a book to amazon.com. Forgive me for being a prude, but it was nothing but pornography. I thought it might eventually get better, but when I randomly opened the book to several spots, guess what I found EVERY time? That's right - sex! I believe the author had a real problem that should be treated by a well-trained professional. I felt it was a true affront to JA literature.


         Written by Patty Bennett (March 24, 2004 )

 The book is good IMO. At first the intimate ahem scenes surprised me but I seen worst in romance novels. We are not used to this in Miss Austen's work. But it is not that explicit, in fact some of the intimate scenes are funny. The story at times is just heartbreaking...but the love between the Darcy's is everything I hoped it would be; strong and passionate. And the ending???.....Wow!!


         Written by Terry (March 25, 2004 )

Disliked The Bar Sinister (spoiler). Definitely too graphic for me and I really disliked the storyline about Georgiana and Colonel Fitzwilliam. I've seen them paired up in other sequels and I just don't buy it. He is, after all, her guardian with Darcy and he is her cousin. It's just too weird for me that they would get together.


        Written by Kathleen M. (4/29/2004 12:04 p.m.)

 I couldn't get past 40 pages.  I think it borders on the pornographic. And the writing style is truly odd : archaic vocabulary within strange syntax.


        Written by Jessica Audrey (4/29/2004 3:27 p.m.)

Yes, the editing is appalling and it does border pornography, but I actually thought Linda Berdoll did an excellent job of showing how sexual passion and love can and do exist together. So much media separates the two. Ok, will stop with that as it will probably need to be on another thread. :)

But on the whole, I enjoyed it (once I got past the style and editing mistakes). Ok, once I got past some of the things certain characters did. But if you're reading for Darcy and Lizzy, their story is great, imo.


        Written by Kim in AK (4/29/2004 11:00 p.m.)

My 2 cents...(spoilers).  I thought Bingley's storyline was outrageous, although I agree with the portrayal of Jane...she surely would have forgiven even such a discretion.

Col. Fitzwilliam...no, I didn't buy his consuming love for Elizabeth. He might have been fond of her, but I can't see him jeopardizing her respect or Darcy's good opinion. He seems too honorable to declare himself to his cousin's wife, even in a moment of unguardedness.

The whole Georgiana/Col. Fitzwilliam thing at the end...I mean, PLEASE! And for Darcy to be forgiving of such an indiscretion...well, I can't see it. It seemed completely out of character for all 3 of them.

I REALLY disliked the entire "Darcy in France" thing. However, I GREATLY enjoyed the "Darcy to the rescue of Elizabeth" at the wayside inn. That incident alone was worth the price of the book, IMO. Over the top? Yes, absolutely. But I enjoyed it and I'm not ashamed to admit it.

And the rose petals on the bed (twice)...that was a very nice touch.


        Written by Kim in AK (4/29/2004 11:04 p.m.)
One more...(more spoilers)  
Even Wickham seemed too brazen to me. He strikes me as more of a coward--I can't imagine him showing up at Pemberley.

Honestly, there is SO much wrong with this book. Yet I still enjoyed it, in spite of its many glaring faults.


        Written by Jessica Audrey (4/30/2004 7:24 p.m.) 
 LOL exactly what Kim in AK said!!!  I could not bring myself to believe Georgiana, Col Fitzwilliam, or Bingley would ever behave in such a way. It was simply too brazen for the times! So I just ignore that part of the book! :)

On the other hand, I think her characterization of a lot of the characters was pretty dead on - Elizabeth, Darcy (except when dealing w/ Georgiana in the end), Jane, Mr and Mrs Bennet...

I too just loved the inn rescue, melodramatic as it may be! ;-) And the rose petals...*sigh* LOL


        Written by LynneRobson (5/3/2004 8:42 a.m.)

Mr Darcy Takes a Wife is The Bar Sinister which as been re released under it's original name it has been edited and had new bits to it. Linda Birdoll has been answering questions about this book at firthness.com if you are a member their go to the forums under Adaptions and Sequels and you will see a discussion about The Bar Sinister being re-released under a different name. Later on this month their is to be another question and answer with Linda on this subject.

Ms Birdoll did not at first want to release it under its original title as she felt people would feel cheated as they had bought the original she has added to this new book and it has been edited and all the spelling mistakes corrected. The new publishes insisted that she publish the book under this name and so if you buy it, it is essentially the same book but I think she said with a few chapters added (unsure about this) so that if anyone bought it that had the original The Bar Sinister they would not feel cheated. Also later on there is to be a sequel to this book and we have been having a laugh as to what to call it over at firthness should she call it Mr Darcy takes his wife again and again and again lol

I hope this answers any questions and I would advise you to go to firthness if you have any more questions so you could ask the author who is to be there answering questions sometime this month

        Written by Lee (5/17/2004 3:48 p.m.)

 I've been reading it. Not having read the book in its self-published form, I don't know what's new and what's not and I can attest that the editor did an excellent job in cleaning up the inconsistencies that others have reported.

It's fairly inventive in taking Austen's characters and answers a few questions that I had about P&P. Having read a few modern romances, it's pretty tame in the sensual department -- though if published in Austen's time, it would have been too risque for public viewing and would have been a private press release for gentlemen with "low taste".

However, as a modern book, it's pretty good for a first novel. She does her best to explain the attitudes and habits of the Austen times and she does a great job of weaving in minor stories that further along an understanding of the times...She reminds me a bit of Lois McMaster Bujold in that she doesn't introduce characters and incidents frivolously: each character and incident has its purpose. She does seem to be way too caught up with the bedroom antics and I hope she gets over that with her "sequel to the sequel" that's promised.

All in all, I would hesitantly recommend it to those that are casual Austen fans, but I would think that the sensibilities of "hard-core" fans would be offended by the scenes of sensuality (no matter how couched they are in terms).


        Written by Sharondio (5/18/2004 10:02 a.m.)
It's a decent read...(spoilers enclosed)  

If you accept that JA is gone and realize that any sequel will be an interpretation with which you may or may not agree, then it's a rousing good time. Berdoll's Lizzie has a bit more spark than a lot of sequels give her, and I sort of liked a glimpse into the passionate side of the relationship.

I also enjoyed exploring the much discussed possibility that Wickham is actually Darcy's illegitimate brother.

I found the whole infertility and miscarriages discussion particularly touching as I've experienced both as well.

All in all, I liked "An Assembly Such as This" better, but this book was a good read and I was a little sad when it ended.


        Written by Natalie-Marie (5/28/2004 3:50 p.m.) 

I have read The Bar Sinister and hardly know what to make of it! the plot is good but it definatly gave us too much detail! what do you all think?


        Written by LeeAnn (8/7/2004 9:48 p.m.)
I just finished Mr. Darcy Takes A Wife by Linda Berdoll. Even though I've yet to read an Austen novel (see my post in ramblings), I've seen P&P3 (the one with CF (sigh :)) and JE) and was intrigued by a continuation of the story. Since then I have found that there are plenty of sequels out there and am anxiously awaiting to read each one. Anyway, I enjoyed the book quite a lot, even though it seemed like the first few chapters of the book were loaded with references to the private relations between Darcy and Elizabeth. After a while I began to fret that instead of reading a sequel to a wonderful story I had actually stumbled onto a completely different type of story! Thankfully, this trend did stop and I enjoyed the story quite a bit. I thought that Berdoll captured the chemistry between Darcy and Elizabeth, and was able to capture some of the independence of Elizabeth's that we have all come to know and love. The end of the book (I won't give anything away for those of you who haven't read it yet) at times dragged, but overall, I definitely enjoyed the book.

        Written by Heather Elizabeth (8/8/2004 1:18 a.m.)
I really enjoyed this book also. I read P&P and was so excited when I found a sequel (being so stupid as to not know that there are many). I loved the way Linda captured the love between Darcy and Lizzy. Oh, I fell in love with Mr. Darcy all over again after reading this. (For awhile I was starting to prefer Col. Brandon; how silly of me.) I liked very much the characters introduced into the story as well as all the events that take place. And the end was just brilliant. I'll admit that the last few chapters had dull moments, but the end was spectacular! I highly recommend.

        Written by Barbara (October 10, 2004 )
Some people enjoyed it. Personally, I found that it went into unnecessarily explicit detail about aspects of Darcy and Elizabeth's marital relationship that I would just as soon not read and to an extent that I found cringe-worthy.

I also found the language very contorted and often wished I could have $1 for every time the author used the word "hence" or threw in words like "mayhap" in an attempt to sound more authentically 'Regency'.

The plot was fairly interesting, but it was very hard to get past the other things, IMO. However, if you read the reviews here, you will find that there are others who quite liked it.


        Written by Mary K. (October 10, 2004 )
I checked it out from the library recently and slogged through about 1/4 of it before I hit the bit about the riding boots and gave up. Good grief. It seemed really juvenile to me, completely preoccupied with size and frequency at the expense of everything else. I did encounter one engrossing passage, which tells me that the author might have written something worth reading if she’d focused on something other than the act. I will say this, the book was aptly renamed. No, I do not recommend it. Surely there is better porn out there, and certainly better P&P follow-ons. Sorry to grieve you :-) 

        Written by Lucia Rosa (October 11, 2004 )
It reads like a Harlequin Romance novel, not a sequel of Pride and Prejudice. It is hard to imagine Mr. and Mrs. Darcy of Pemberley as sex-starved maniacs. There were some interesting passages and story-lines, but it is more about sex than anything else. There are much better sequels out there. 

        Written by LynneRobson (October 11, 2004 )
I loved this story now that the spelling errors and grammar errors have been corrected. The words used in this book many do come from the Regency/Victorian era. I loved the tasteful way the sex scenes were dealt with not like today's trash you can buy I have gone to book stores and picked up worse which has been pure porn and in some of the ones meant for teenagers too. Mr Darcy Takes a Wife is an excellent book and I along with many others are looking forward to the second book to this sequel.

        Written by Barbara (October 11, 2004 )
I have to say that I found many parts of this book distasteful in the extreme. I have never picked up anything in a bookstore this explicit, either on purpose or even by accident. If there is worse 'trash' out there, I'm glad I've never seen it! I've read a number of other Austen sequels that have dealt with this far more delicately and tastefully, IMO.

As for the language--yes, the author did try to find words that were from that era, but she heaped them on to such a degree that, to me, the effect was someone trying much too hard (and not really succeeding) rather than authenticity. For example, does an expression like "tardy of the brouhaha" sound more like real Regency-speak or thesaurus abuse?? ;-)


        Written by Clarissa (October 11, 2004 )
I just read the book and must admit I liked it ! Surely the Austen purists would be understandably horrified and Jane Austen herself wouldn't write such explicit moments between Darcy and Lizzy but I can buy the characters acting with such passion towards each other . Both Darcy and Lizzy are passionate and I guess Berdoll couldn't help herself exploring this aspect especially in the confines of their bedroom (or any other places in the book the Darcys chose to express passion ).
My favorite part of the book was the dashing rescue of Lizzy by her husband . Gruesome how he avenged her abduction but I bought the desperation in his actions to find his beloved wife .

There were a lot of flaws for sure especially the part about Bingley cheating on Jane among other things .

        Written by Reeba (October 11, 2004 )
The bawdy language that Darcy and the Colonel use is not worthy of them. If you like JA you cannot swallow the stuff in there. It may be alright according to some but they are not the kind of words one would like to hear/read the P&P characters saying.

Please note: I'm not saying there should have been no intimate scenes, but Intimate scenes could have been dealt with without the vulgarity and yes, without the bawdy language!!!!
That's the main thing that put me off!!!! WORDS - downright inelegant and vulgar.

        Written by LeeAnn (October 12, 2004 )
I quite liked it! This was the first "sequel" to Jane Austen that I have read, and even though I was a little troubled by the sheer quantity of sex scenes in the beginning chapters, I did grow to love the book. Like someone else has said, I can definitely picture Elizabeth and Darcy being so passionate about each other (they definitely struck me as being passionate people). I thoroughly enjoyed the book, and was definitely sucked in!

        Written by colleen (October 13, 2004 )
OK, after reading this post yesterday, I borrowed a copy from my neighbor.
I am LAUGHINGG!!!! It is almost like a parody! It is so much like a Harlequin Romance that it might as well have a pink cover. NOT that there's anything wrong with that, right?
I have to say, her writing is just horrible and yet so laughable and fun! In spite of myself, I am completely enjoying this. I know I will get tired of it (I am not even to page 100) sooner than later, but this is HILARIOUS!!!
I find myself reading with my mouth open, or looking around in embarrassment, sure that everyone around me knows I am reading, basically, soft-core porn.
I also hear myself saying out loud, "Dude! Darcy! You dog!"
I have no problem with raunch in books and movies, but crediting my familiar Lizzy and Darcy with these Lady Chatterly-esque trysts is almost too much to deal with. My head is going to spin off.
The one good (re: legit) thing: I have always been hungry for more detail of Darcy's upbringing and past. This supplies a version...a racy version, but...)

        Written by Mary K. (October 13, 2004 )
I thought about this book a little more. I worry that by griping about the sex scenes we make it sound like only prudes would reject the book. But seriously, would the Darcys really abstain from clever conversation for weeks on end? Would a gentleman, however passionate, really subject his new wife to the embarrassment of being discovered in the woods? Of making so much racket indoors that the servants would surely talk? Of joking about his past needs/conquests/whatever with another Lady, in the presence of others? Would Elizabeth, so recently elevated to Pemberley, risk her reputation in such a manner? I think it's completely out of character. Either that, or poor Elizabeth, thinking she married the best man she has ever know, really married a sex addict, and when the new wears off, lives to regret it. Spoilers, please?

        Written by colleen (October 14, 2004 )
I am already bored, but still, I press on!
Honestly, the sex IS over-the-top. The conversations are (the salty ones) just....funny, I guess. But some of the side stories are REALLY the culprit in boring me. I just never found Georgiana that interesting, and the servants....OK, enough.

I think, after sitting up last night and laughingly telling my husband about this book, and reading passages to him (He is an Austen fan as well), we are both appalled at the writing. But it is sort of guilty fun to read about Jane and Bingley's sorry, ridiculous sex life (such as it is). I swear I will never watch P&P2 with quite the same attitude. Well, that might be giving this book too much credit.

And yes, these versions of Darcy and Lizzy DO go weeks without having a witty, worthy conversation. Thesaurus abuse abounds. I can picture the author looking up the word "tumescent" for synonyms...sort of like the guidance counselor in "10 Things I Hate About You."

Funny, funny, bad, lame, vulgar and odd, guilty fun...but I am bored. I am on page 200 and I am ....bored.

        Written by Brandi (October 15, 2004 )
There are sensational parts (actually several) but if you are able to get away from comparing it to P&P, it takes on a new life. Some parts are ridiculous, but it was nice to imagine Darcy and Elizabeth happily married.

        Written by Sharondio (October 17, 2004 )
I don't see it as the Darcy's abstaining from witty conversations as much as the writer choosing not to document all of the. I can believe that coming up with little interludes that make the Darcy's so interesting would prove a harsh challenge for any writer. Even JA limits her witty repartee's to a few delightful instances.

I don't think it's a terrible stretch to have them be so passionate. It's the logical following to the very sexual beings created in P&P2. As for the servants, living as they did, they were much used to servants being almost completely a part of their lives. Their valet and lady's maid would know all the intimate details of their life, regardless. Along with the upstairs maids who changed the linens and the footmen waiting in the halls.

That said, I think the writer went a little too far in her bawdy exploration of marital bliss. But once I stopped thinking about it as a sequel, and just decided to accept it on its own merits, it improved considerably.


        Written by emmy (October 19, 2004 )
I agree with all the comments about thesaurus abuse and betwixt and 'tis and syntax and whatnot. It was really quite vexing. I skipped through the whole Georgiana goes to France bit but I must say one thing I did love about it is when they first got to Pemberley and Elizabeth was looking through his room, she saw the miniature that looked like her. ('tis you) loved that as it dawned on her... also about the dogs' names and she said something along the lines of she had no idea he could be so sad and he replies that she has no idea of what her refusal did to her. Just a sentimental sort, I guess. (me) 

        Written by Theodora (November 19, 2004 )
The Bar Sinister is by Linda Berdoll, and is P & P post- wedding of Elizabeth and Darcy. It is what some may term as a "bodice-ripper", and not for the feint of heart when it comes to loves scenes, if you follow my meaning...

        Written by Melissa Ann (2/13/2005 11:27 a.m.) 
I, as well, loved Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife, but was upset with the reviews I had read of it, I  had thought that even though It may not be Jane it was very well written and true to the characters. I had looked into An Assembly Such as This, and Letters from Pemberley, when you read it let me know how it was! I thought that Jane was portrayed very well as well as Colonel Fitzwilliam, Georgiana, And Lady Catherine. I also thought that many of the other characters were true to Pride and Prejudice a majority of the time.

       Written by Kathleen Glancy (2/13/2005 7:49 a.m.)
Because I cannot agree that the people in this badly written, appallingly edited and generally bad book bear any resemblance to those in P&P. Even Wickham, good heavens, is given a worse portrayal than he deserves. (And so retrospectively is his mother - extravagance is the worst imputed to her in the book, which is a far cry from adultery). Wickham is basically a con-man, and they are seldom violent or given to (attempted) rape and murder.

        Written by Jessica Michelle (2/15/2005 2:48 p.m.)
I must also concur with those who gave good opinions of 'Mr. Darcy takes a Wife'. It is definitely not something that Miss Jane Austen would have written, mainly because she was never married and wouldn't know anything about married life and what happens in the bedroom. However, I loved the story and how the author expanded the characters and clearly displayed the Darcy's love for each other. I wasn't thrilled with the fact that the author tried too hard to write in the style of JA, (sometimes using words where they don't belong) but other than that I can truly say I liked this book. But it is definitely NOT for everyone. :)

        Written by Sarah Catherine (2/18/2005 10:58 p.m.)
About Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife, I have only this to say: I am not at all offended by explicit sex and, as someone else said here, the idea of Elizabeth and Darcy discovering a happy sexual abandon is a pleasing one. But both of them, while no prudes, are mature, healthy people with a strong sense of self-respect and appropriate dignity - and to portray them getting it on digitally in a carriage is to betray a complete lack of understanding of who they are. I find THAT much more offensive than the mere portrayal of sex.

        Written by Kathleen Glancy (2/19/2005 7:43 a.m.)
The thing I like least about Bar Sinister/Mr Darcy Takes A Wife is that it reduces the complex and mature relationship between Darcy and Elizabeth to mere physical attraction. The thing which attracted him most was her intelligence - and she was won over by his character once she learned the truth about it. Of course they are also physically attracted and they would have a sex life and they would enjoy it, but not to the point of obsession - the carriage-groping and their attempt to have sex in every room in Pemberley are too ludicrous for words. Especially the latter - are we to suppose they would invade the butler's pantry, the housekeeper's room, the private apartments of Georgiana and Mrs Annesley when these ladies are occupied elsewhere and the servants' bedrooms?

        Written by Theodora (2/19/2005 12:47 p.m.)

...a sequel not written by the original author may (and can if the author so chooses) take certain liberties (ahem) with the characters and storyline.

I feel that Linda Berdoll takes the P&P2 *film* characters of Darcy and Lizzy (and with the respective actors in mind) to especially give aficionados of the film a continuation of the story portrayed. Therefore, this book cannot ever be held to compare to the standard of JA, IMHO (for that reason and about a zillion others). For what it is; however, I very much enjoyed Bar Sinister, as I have previously posted.

BTW, I *do* believe that the complex and mature relationship between Darcy and Elizabeth remains intact in this particular sequel, for the most part. (Ludicrous but enticing bedroom scenes and all)


        Written by Lisa Nicole (2/19/2005 11:30 p.m.)

I quite agree. While it is clear in the text that Darcy is enchanted by Lizzy's cleverness, one would be kidding themselves if they thought that they were not physically attracted to one another. The Bennet sisters' beauty is discussed from miles away; on top of constant references to Elizabeth's fine eyes.

In the second version of the Bar Sinister novel, it is stated that the author was inspired by P&P2 where sexual tension was abound! And I too could truly believe in several situations and actions of the characters.


        Written by Kathleen Glancy (2/20/2005 12:10 p.m.)
This is a bad book - badly written, bad grammar, absurd language (which I can't entirely put down to Berdoll being American, though the thing is laced with Americanisms, since I have never seen a phrase like "Had something bechanced to me" in any American literature I have ever read), full of historical inaccuracies (for example Darcy would have been hanged half way through for the murder he commits - under English law at the time a man could certainly get away with shooting someone who was attempting to rape his wife but not with shooting the man's accomplice who is sitting in another room having a drink) truly abysmal editing - indeed no evidence of any editing -and I can well believe the author had never actually read P&P, since presumably if she had she would have known how to spell Elizabeth correctly.

        Written by Donna Irene (2/20/2005 6:53 a.m.)
Overall I enjoyed the novel although I thought some of the ...ehem scenes were excessive. My main complaint was that of Jane's charecter. Berdoll made her boring, no more than a nursemaid. In general, most existing characters were boring and undeveloped. Only the new character had some interest and usually to no real end.

       Written by Theodora  (3/9/2005 7:40 p.m.) 

Some will vehemently trash this book but I will not, because I think it is quite funny, entertaining, and very readable. Beware, though, that it does contain some (many!) sexually detailed scenes. It is by no means a literary work, nor should any sequel be compared to JA (*that* would be insupportable!)

If you check some recent posts on this board, you will find lots of opinions on this and other sequels..

I think it is meant to be tongue-in-cheek funny, so definitely not in a bad way. For me, many parts of this story made me lol. It was a hoot, even though I wouldn't call it a comedy, per se.

       Written by Skylar B  (3/11/2005 12:05 p.m.) 

Was it meant to be? The euphemisms were so over the top (I only read about 30 pages) that I did wonder for a moment if it was meant to be funny, a sort of parody on the genre. But nothing else gave me the impression the author did not mean for her work to be taken seriously, so I wasn't sure.


       Written by Theodora  (3/11/2005 11:50 p.m.) 

I am not quite sure either I only know that I was laughing a lot---I think that the lol parts were meant to be somewhat droll, but the rest, probably not. I seem to be amongst the few here that actually enjoyed the book! Oh, well.


        Written by Linda  (3/9/2005 10:24 p.m.) 

You will find all the opinions you need there [here, the Austen Sequel Page]. All the conversations

My own opinion: when I was able to ignore all the soft pornography, I found it to be an entertaining story. However, IMHO, the characters bore almost no resemblance to Jane Austen's beloved originals.

I have only read The Bar Sinister as it was originally released. That one so full of editorial errors that it was painful. I understand that they have been cleaned up in the re-release as Mr. Darcy Takes A Wife. Although, I have heard no one say that the tortured language, also painful, was improved. I found it hard to pull the good from so much that was objectionable and even offensive, but I managed ;-)

I always think that each person should decide for themselves the merit of a novel.


      Written by BarbB  (3/10/2005 10:20 a.m.)

My opinion.  After reading about 80 pages of this book, it's NOT a good sequel of P&P, it's not even good writing. Ms. Berdoll attempts to disguise soft-porn as regency literature by swallowing a dictionary and then regurgitating every single word from it. She never uses a simple, concise word when a multi-syllabic one is available. In fact, I don’t think she ever uses a simple, concise word! As a result, the writing is cumbersome and difficult to read.

Although (or should I say “howbeit”) I am Austen fan, I would hardly say that I am an Austen-purist. Yet, it seems that after watching the BBC production (1995) of P&P, Ms. Berdoll decided to hitch her wagon to Jane Austen’s star. Here was an opportunity to write a novel without having to bother with character development (since Lizzy, Darcy et al are so well known). Perhaps she should have spent more time researching Austen’s writing style or regency life and times and less on researching euphemisms.

It is interesting to note that Ms. Berdoll's other books are about euphemisms. This is especially relevant because in the pages that I did read there were about 90 different euphemisms - most of them just plain ridiculous - for male organs (torch of love), female organs (womanly portal) and conjugal relations. Don’t waste your time or money!


        Written by Theodora
Actually, the euphemisms added to the hilarity...  


        Written by Skye (2/15/2006 12:06 p.m.)
I just finished reading Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife by Linda Berdoll and was greatly disappointing. I was heartbroken over poor Jane and Bingley. Surely Jane Austen never intended sweet Bingley to ever do such a thing!I was also completely frustrated by the graphic sex and violence. It wasn't needed and did not remain to true to the spirit of Austen. The grammatical and spelling errors were depressing (Elisabeth? Pemberly?) and she changed the names of several characters (Thaddeus Collins?). Though the story never bored me, the language sounded forced and unnatual. It is almost as if Berdoll went to a thesaurus for every other word in order to sound more like Jane Austen. Needless to say, she failed spectacularly. I was bored with her new characters, insulted by what she did to the old ones, and felt that it was, overall a waste of money and time. I am really forced to wonder if Berdoll actually read P&P. Surely I'm not alone in feeling this way?


        Written by Skye W. (2/16/2006 7:40 a.m.)
If those mistakes are in the Bar Sinister and not Mr. Darcy Takes A Wife, it still doesn't improve all the rest of the book. I still hated it and the grammar and spelling was the least of my complaints.


        Written by Helen Sh (2/26/2006 5:51 p.m.)
I have just finished reading Linda Bertoll's sequel to 'Pride and Prejudice', and feel as if I need to take a long, cold shower! It really is as if I have wandered into a Restoration play, or 'Fitzwilliam Darcy meets Tom Jones'. But despite the unnecessarily gratuitous sex, which is really quite boring after the first fifty pages, and the pretentious spelling (compleat - over and over again), there were parts I quite enjoyed, e.g., Charlotte's letter about Mr Collin's death (although I think Charlotte is unfairly caricatured). I think the author has an understanding of the period which is reasonably accurate. The French section did call to mind 'Vanity Fair', although I find it hard to believe in the emancipation of Georgiana. But suggestion is more powerful than explicit. Did I enjoy this book enough so that it will go on to my 'To be read again' shelf? No.


        Written by Skye W. (2/28/2006 7:42 a.m.)
I completely agree. I recently read it and I thought it was, on the whole, stupid. Darcy in France and that whole section was a bit like Vanity Fair and I didn't particularly like that book, so... Anyway, I think Jane Austen would have a heart attack to read what Linda Berdoll did to her book. I know I almost did.


        Written by Michelle-Julia (3/3/2006 9:05 p.m.)
Curiosity got the better of me, and I checked it out of the library last night. I just finished a long, tedious work assignment, so I was in the mood for some brain candy. I'm glad I didn't pay money for it!

After about 3 pages, I could see I wouldn't have the patience for a complete (compleat?) read-through, so I've just been skimming and jumping around. The sex scenes are boring enough, but it seems like the plot is even worse--just a lot of "high drama" events like miscarriages, adultery, elopements, etc. It seems very juvenile--rather like the potboiler stories Anne and her story club friends wrote in Anne of Green Gables. And the author's "look ma, I'm writing like old fashioned people" style is a bit tedious. It's amusement value is getting depleted pretty fast.


        Written by Kara M
Just a warning - Berdoll is very steamy.

        Written by Felicity S (3/26/2007 5:14 p.m.)
I agree that Berdoll is not for Janeite purists - I can never think of Lizzie and Darcy in the same way probably.


        Written by lizzie-mary (3/31/2007 12:08 p.m.)
I currently reading the P&P continuation by Linda Berdoll. I'm finding it so hard going and very very disapointing. It's jut not P&P. I feel that I may give up on it very soon. Do you feel the same?

        Written by Sophie (4/3/2007 12:21 p.m.)
I read Linda Berdoll's Mr. Darcy takes a wife. Even though I got quite bored with the book somewhere in the middle, I forced myself to finish it because I do not like not to finish books; but I think that it was largely a loss of time. I do not think that you will lose a lot if you just stop reading now.

        Written by Wendy (4/5/2007 3:31 p.m.)
There are several good reviews of this book on the Sequels page. To me this read more like a light hearted, trashy romance novel. Somehow I got through it and the one that followed it.


        Written by Mishel (4/8/2007 11:42 a.m.)
I read Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife, I forget where I got it... it was slightly *trashy* in parts, but one of those good reads a woman needs every month with a big cheesecake or some chocolate bonbons... lol.

I enjoyed it, it's quite over the top in my opinion but if it's entertainment you're looking for... go for it!