Mr. Darcy Presents His Bride
A Sequel to Jane Austen's
Pride and Prejudice

Helen Halstead

Paperback - 320 pages; (28 May 2007)
Ulysses Press; ISBN: 1569755884

A Private Performance
A sequel to Jane Austen's
Pride and Prejudice

A Private Performance
Paperback - 309 pages; (1 September 2005)
Random House,Australia; ISBN: 1741660505

        Review by Lynnaire Hawker, 16 November 2004
"Jane, I wish I could think so well of people as you do."
And we do think well of people. We see our friends of Pemberley in a beautiful new light with this new book, “A Private Performance” by Helen Halstead.

"The Mistress of Pemberley is not likely to be anyone we know."
But, we know her.

"Slighted my Lizzie, did he?"
We see the new Elizabeth Bennet Darcy. Assured and even more confident.

"You can treat the mention of his misfortunes with contempt and ridicule" Elizabeth now is not so rushed to judgment. She is not so quick to condemn.

"I fear I am ill-qualified to recommend myself to strangers."
Darcy is still chasing the words he would wish to use... the humour he wants to have

"I believe we must have some conversation Mr. Darcy."
Elizabeth and Darcy now can have this wished for conversation without any impediments unless they put them there

A book to relive the experience.

        Review by Naz Cankurt, 17 November 2004
"A Private Performance" by Helen Halstead (Thalwood Books, 2004) carries forward and develops the story of Lizzie and Darcy, their families and friends – and a whole bunch of new Regency characters and types - in a wonderfully witty style with lots of irony and humour.

Halstead writes with such homage and authenticity that you find yourself easily slipping away into the timeless splendour of Jane Austen’s world. The language and prose are genuinely authentic and her style natural and sincere.

Lizzie and Darcy’s relationship and marriage are developed and rounded out as they grow to understand one another and themselves as partners in life. The beauty of their love is developed and enhanced as they grow to truly understand what it means to be married to each other.

The intriguing – sometimes hilarious - story lines and fulsome development of all the old favourites; Jane, Bingley, Miss Bingley, Georgiana, Lady Catherine, Colonel Fitzwilliam, Kitty et al and the introduction of the London artistic and aristocratic set are just wonderful and true to the essence of Jane Austen’s P&P.

I thoroughly enjoyed it and recommend it highly. It was immensely satisfying to have a view to how it might have been if only...

        Review by Cate Thurlow, 5 December 2004
Usually I would be the first person to admit that I don’t like sequels to Jane Austen novels. Sure, I would love to know more of the story but since JA herself couldn’t write it I usually don’t bother with them.

However, “A Private Performance” by Helen Halstead is an exception. Rather than repeating stories from Jane Austen’s own life, or that of her relatives, Halstead continues the story of Lizzie and Darcy in an imaginative way and in a style still consistent with that of JA herself. The characters stay true to their Pride and Prejudice heritage and they don’t take on that overly modern feel that some Austen sequels seem to have.

I found myself reading faster and faster, trying to find out what was going to happen next. "A Private Performance" is enjoyable, not only as a continuation of P&P, but as a great book in its own right.

I highly recommend this book to all Jane fans, and people not familiar with Austen. It is a great read.
        Review by Rosalia Bland, 5 December 2004
Helen Halstead continues Jane Austen's tradition of comedy and romance. One of the many outstanding achievements of the novel is Helen's magical depiction of the feast on Twelfth Night. It is simply divine. As you read, you feel that you were there, with the rest of them.

Of course, there's beautiful Elizabeth Bennet. She blossoms in her role as Mrs. Darcy and disarms everyone with her wit and charm… yes, everyone. Her feisty spirit sometimes frustrates Darcy but never fails to make him love her more. The book makes one believe in love again. It makes one fall in love again.

        Review by Linda Waldemar, 14 December 2004
The action starts soon after the engagements of the eldest Bennet sisters. Mrs. Bennet, though ecstatic over the fine matches made by her daughters, is still plagued by her nerves. Elizabeth is often discomforted by the vulgarity of her mother and the silliness of her younger sisters. She tries to shield Mr. Darcy from them as much as she can; just as Jane Austen says she does.

The Gardiners, Miss Caroline Bingley, the Hursts, Miss Georgiana Darcy and Colonel Fitzwilliam (here named Henry) travel to Hertfordshire for the wedding. The Wickhams do not. Along with the Bennets and the de Bourghs, these characters are present through a good deal of the book.  Kitty Bennet spends time in Derbyshire and her behavior improves. However, she does not make an immediate and radical change which I find very plausible. Georgiana remains shy and only comfortable with her immediate family. Mary Bennet remains a pious know-it-all. Mr. Bennet makes unexpected visits to Pemberley. I am happy to report that I found no strangers among those names that are so familiar from Pride and Prejudice.

After the wedding, the Bingleys return to Netherfield and the Darcys travel to Pemberley. However, they meet again in a few months when they all go to London for the Season. Lady Catherine tries to insure that Elizabeth is not received in society; she fails. Although a few acquaintances snub her, most are enchanted by her wit and vivacity. When Elizabeth becomes a favourite of Lady Englebury, she becomes the toast of the Season.

Because I do not have high expectations for sequels, I am fairly easy to please. I must say,  this book far exceeds my expectations! Jane Austen's characters are very little changed. I sometimes laughed and I even cried! I was kept in suspense about the fate of some characters for most of the story. There is happiness, sadness, misunderstanding; all events that make a compelling story. If I were forced to voice a criticism, I might say that Elizabeth is too witty and too teasing, but not so much that it is objectionable.

This is one of the best sequels that I have encountered and I highly recommend it.

       Written by LynneRobson (3/5/2005 1:07 p.m.)

I am afraid I did not like this book very much I felt she made Mr Darcy out to be sulky spoilt and not at all understanding to his wife.

When they go to London Lady Catherine has tried to give Lizzy a bad name amongst the ton but she is introduced to the most infulencing woman of the ton and taken under her wing.

At first Darcy seems all for this then he notices that many men start to take note of Elizabeth and he becomes sulky, jealous I would have put it but she used the word sulky.

Once the season finishes they go to Netherfield for a short time and Lizzy who by this time is expecting looses her babe. What upset me was that her Darcy does not seem to have an understanding bone in his body. Not at all like the Jane Austen Darcy. As the time goes on they go back to Pemberley where Kitty stays with them.

I am afraid that I disliked some of the new characters she introduces but some were lovely. To me her Elizabeth and Darcy did not match JA characters as I just could not see them doing some of the things she has them do in this story.

It is an interesting read but not one I would have gone out of my way to buy if I wasn't such a big fan of sequels. I have read better fanfiction than this book.

        Written by Linda (3/6/2005 6:47 p.m.)
I liked it! IMHO, this is one of the best sequels that I have read.

I like that Mr Darcy does not become perfect; that he is uncomfortable with some of Elizabeth's social conquests. In many sequels that I have read, Mr Darcy becomes a one-dimensional saint. I am happy that this author chose to leave him some shortcomings.

Also, Kitty's behavior improves but she does not, overnight, become mature and sensible, but remains a bit flighty and self-centered.

I guess that readers will have to decide for themselves after reading our widely disparate opinions ;-)

        Written by Kathleen Glancy  (3/7/2005 6:36 p.m.)
I agree with your view. Definitely one of the best recent sequels, and had the great merit of an original plot.

        Written by Isabel S (3/9/2005 12:02 p.m.)

I too think this is one of the best sequels.
        Written by Kit  (3/10/2005 5:58 p.m.) I loved it 
I thought A Private Performance was great.

I still love Darcy, and think he is very much still Jane's main man!

Of course the characters develop, it would be boring if they didn't, but they are still the genuine real deal

        Written by Kara M (3/26/2007 1:02 p.m.) A private performance by Halstead was really good - I think it is getting republished as Mr Darcy presents his Bride in the US.
        Written by Rike (May 3, 2007 )
I really enjoyed Mr. Darcy Presents His Bride by Helen Halstead. ... well-written and the characters fit to how Jane Austen described them.
        Written by Elle2 (May 9, 2007 )
Just read Mr. Darcy Presents His Bride by Helen Halstead - It's very good and I recommend it! [This book] has been reviewed on the Sequels Page (I believe under a different title), and I agree with most of the assessments. The characters and their actions are very plausible, and it has an interesting plot (I've found many of the other sequels to be quite dull and/or everyone acts out of character). I would rank this and the Aidan trilogy as my favorites (to date) of the novels that try to remain relatively true to JA.
        Written by Kathleen Glancy (May 10, 2007 )
My favourite among the newest crop and has been since the original publication under the title A Private Performance. It is well-written in good English English, and that is not a typo.
        Written by Moni (12/19/2007 9:58 a.m.)
Having not read a sequel before, and reluctant to, I must say I am enjoying APP, published in the USA as "Mr Darcy Presents His Bride". (It is the same novel under different cover.)

I am not finished yet, but I just wanted to share that it is magnificent.

The life of Darcy and Elizabeth becomes vivid and real, and the humour is absolutely done with respect to P&P. Mr Bennet is wonderful in this. The descriptions of scenery, the social life in London, etc., are all wonderful and witty.

I find myself very comfortable with this novel, and am eagerly burning the midnight oil to finish it;-)!

        Written by Moni (12/24/2007 9:15 a.m.)
Finished it! Absolutely great. and the ending wraps it all up so well! Loved this, many fantastic parts, not predictable. Loved the descriptions of the Pemberley gardens especially, and the scattered symbolism throughout! Wonderful wit, and also a good deal of intrigue and style. Bravo!
        Written by Kathleen Glancy (12/20/2007 11:49 a.m.)
I count it as one of the best of the modern crop of sequels. And certainly one of the truest to the characters and most historically accurate.