This book picks right up from where book 1 finished. Darcy had given up writing lists of what he wanted from a wife and was reaching the point where he was ready to propose again to Elizabeth Bennet, when unfortunately all his plans are derailed by tiresome Lydia eloping. Mr Darcy’s Pledge was to locate Lydia for the sake of her sister and then do some wooing. He tears up his list of suitable qualities in a wife and romantically tosses them to the wind as he rides away, and then.... he realises that strewing the rare commodity of fine paper across the countryside his lady love is in the habit of walking through is by no means a good idea. He turns back, but it’s too late, Elizabeth is already in possession of some interesting bits of paper:
“I am afraid I am guilty of being wickedly inquisitive. However, I cannot repent because I am too excessively diverted,” she said. “This person has itemized his requirements for a wife. Can you conceive of such a thing? Quite as if he meant to prepare a plum pudding or a blancmange!” She laughed. “I cannot conceive what kind of person would do such a thing!”
Any moment now, she would put two and two together and produce Fitzwilliam Darcy. If she did, all would be lost.Things then go from bad to worse, and I could happily have given Darcy a good shake to hopefully get some sense into him! He sets off for London, having insulted Elizabeth again, discarding his pledge and potentially getting into an entanglement with a young widow. Mr Darcy’s Challenge will be to overcome his despair, act the part of an honourable gentleman and fulfil his pledge.
In the first book, one of the things I particularly enjoyed was the development of the character of Georgiana, who was struggling to overcome the damage to her self-esteem that the mistakes in judgement she made at Ramsgate had inflicted. Georgiana was really blossoming into adulthood and this continues here in book 2. We are privy to some of her thoughts, which I particularly enjoyed, as she is just as amusing as Darcy was in the first book:
‘If she did not hold herself in check, she mused, she would soon be in danger of becoming very much like her aunt Catherine.
It was a sobering thought.’
There were other characters I particularly enjoyed; Mrs Bennet showed some depth of character in her search for her daughter. Mr Bennet refused to take things seriously, which I found very tiresome. I felt the dynamic between the Bingleys and the Darcys was slightly different to ‘Pride & Prejudice’. Here, the families have been close for many years and seem on a familiar footing so you see Bingley and Darcy as more equal friends than in some variations. I very much enjoyed Mr Bingley’s character, he’s often very amusing:
“Did anyone ever tell you that your jovial pig-headedness is really quite annoying?”
“Yes,” said Bingley, cheerfully. “Many times. I take it you want to go home and sulk.”
“Something like that,” said Darcy.
“Then you will not mind if I join you. A good long sulk will do me a world of good. You do not have a monopoly on sulking, you know. I have plenty to sulk about as well.”Although I didn’t enjoy this quite as much as ‘Mr Darcy’s Pledge’, it was still very satisfying to see the story come to its conclusion and find out what happened with Lydia. I enjoyed the development of Georgiana’s character too. All in all, this is a fun, light-hearted read and I’d rate it as 3½ stars. I understand that there is another book in this series currently being written which is planned for release in the middle of next year, which I'll definitely plan to read. Although the story that began in 'Mr Darcy's Pledge' concluded in 'Mr Darcy's Challenge' I'd like to see what happens next.
* I received an e-ARC from the author for my honest review.