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An Assembly Such as This: A Novel of Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman [Paperback]

Pamela Aidan
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
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Book Description

June 6 2006 Fitzwilliam Darcy Gentleman (Book 1)
"She is tolerable; but not handsome enough to tempt me."

So begins the timeless romance of Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice. Jane Austen's classic novel is beloved by millions, but little is revealed in the book about the mysterious and handsome hero, Mr. Darcy. And so the question has long remained: Who is Fitzwilliam Darcy?

In An Assembly Such as This, Pamela Aidan finally answers that long-standing question. In this first book of her Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman trilogy, she reintroduces us to Darcy during his visit to Hertfordshire with his friend Charles Bingley and reveals Darcy's hidden perspective on the events of Pride and Prejudice. As Darcy spends more time at Netherfield supervising Bingley and fending off Miss Bingley's persistent advances, his unwilling attraction to Elizabeth grows -- as does his concern about her relationship with his nemesis, George Wickham.

Setting the story vividly against the colorful historical and political background of the Regency, Aidan writes in a style comfortably at home with Austen but with a wit and humor very much her own. Aidan adds her own cast of fascinating characters to those in Austen's original, weaving a rich tapestry from Darcy's past and present. Austen fans and newcomers alike will love this new chapter of the most famous romance of all time.

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An Assembly Such as This: A Novel of Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman + These Three Remain: A Novel of Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman + Duty and Desire: A Novel of Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman
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From Booklist

Aidan retells the now iconic story of Pride and Prejudice through the eyes of Fitzwilliam Darcy as he visits Netherfield with his good friend Charles Bingley and his sisters. The austere Darcy takes life very seriously, and is at a loss as to how he became friends with the amicable Bingley. Darcy has escaped many marriage-minded mothers and their daughters, which is why he initially disdains the Bennet family. Once he gets to know Elizabeth, however, he realizes his mistake, but his attempts to apologize to her only make him act even more awkwardly in her presence. The first in Aidan's planned trilogy of improvisations on Jane Austen concludes with the infamous Netherfield ball. Austen fans will relish the tale's retelling from Darcy's perspective as well as new characters, including Fletcher, the insightful and amusing valet who apparently approves of the charming Miss Elizabeth Bennet. Patty Engelmann
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

About the Author

Pamela Aidan has been a librarian for thirty years and a fan of Jane Austen even longer. She is the author of two previous books in the Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman trilogy: An Assembly Such as This and Duty and Desire. She lives with her husband in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
Fitzwilliam George Alexander Darcy rose from his seat in the Bingley carriage and reluctantly descended to earth before the assembly hall above the only inn to which the small market town of Meryton could lay claim. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
I do not wish to discourage anyone from buying this book, which I feel is one of the better Austen adaptations or sequels available today, and certainly among the best that I have read.
However, it is important to point out (as another reviewer has done) that Aidan covers only the first third of Jane Austen's novel, roughly upto the point that Mr Darcy leaves Netherfield and just before his visit to his aunt Lady Catherine in Kent.
Pamela Aidan's version of Mr Darcy is fairly true to Austen's Mr Darcy, although his self-absorption might displease some Austen purists. The most interesting part of Aidan's version is her filling in the details about Darcy's life outside of the original novel. This includes not only the goings-on in Ramsgate (with his sister Georgiana and Wickham) but also his relationships with other members of his family such as Col. Fitzwilliam and some close friends. Darcy's valet Fletcher is a memorable secondary character.
Aidan's explanations help us understand what Austen left out. Jane Austen assumed that her readers would know the social conventions (for example, when to visit, when not to visit) as well as practicalities (for example, the burden imposed by relatives in trade or vulgarity among near relatives; the problems of a small dowry in the face of lack of gentility or family connections). Readers who are fully conversant with Regency-era society might understand all these points, but for many other readers, Aidan's version of Pride and Prejudice might be a gentler and entertaining introduction to Austen's work.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant for P&P fans and nebies alike! Jan. 20 2006
Wow! I must say, Pride and Prejudice has been my favourite since I was 10 and read a little comic version of the story. Since then I'm sure I've read the original at least 100 times. This new book by Pamela Aidan was fantastic. I might even go so far as to say it rivals Austen's masterpiece itself. I think I enjoyed the deeper characterization of the literary man I've grown to love all these years, and I am amazed that I was able to love him so completely before this book. Really-- and excellent read! A MUST have! ;)
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By Scout
Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman is a trilogy that focuses on Darcy's point of view. Unlike other Pride & Prejudice spinoffs, which attempt to continue the story into the future, this one cleverly covers the same ground from the other protagonist's perspective. It is imaginative and realistic.
Aidan enhances her tome by fleshing out some of the details of Regency England. Austen herself assumed that the reader understood the mindset of the landed gentry of early nineteenth century England, and thus glosses over incidental description. Aidan introduces more of the culture, for example the Morning In tradition, and includes greater interaction with servants as well. These serve to enrich the modern reader with a greater appreciation of the background setting.
This work is not without flaws but they tend toward disagreement in interpretation than serious error. For example, she has Bingley reveal annoyance privately to Darcy about sister Caroline's criticisms toward others, which seems a bit out of character with his overwhelming affability in every situation as Austen portrayed him. In a couple of places, Aidan's passages about Darcy's evaluation of his early encounters with Miss Elizabeth Bennet seem far more typical of a woman's much keener perceptions of the subtleties and nuances of relationships than the typical man, then or now. (Although a bit unrealistic, since most readers of this will be women they will probably enjoy and appreciate Darcy's analysis.) It seems a glaring mistake to have Darcy figure out that Elizabeth overheard his untoward comment about her at the first Hertfordshire assembly, when seen in light of the naivete' of his first marriage proposal in Austen.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good first installment March 3 2004
By A Customer
I liked this the first time I read it on a fan fiction site. I would recommend it to anyone, but if you'd seen it before consider that it's the same thing. If you're a die-hard P&P reader then by all means, get yourself a copy!!!
Pamela Aidan's strength and weakness comes from one source - her writing style. Her descriptive style is very good especially since Jane Austen was spare in that area. I can appreciate the wordy and flowery in some parts, but in others I felt it was a little overworked:
"As well as you know, Charles has often born the brunt of my logic and suffers me, in his good-natured way, to tear his ill-considered opinions to pieces with no untoward effects on his friendship. But, in this instance, he had an unexpected champion, the aforementioned Miss Elizabeth Bennet, who entered the lists armed with the shield Sensibility against which the lance Logic is ever seen as a scurrilous, unworthy weapon. Nevertheless, burnishing Logic with confidence, I sallied forth, only to have it shatter into the veriest splinter against that unanswerable defence."
Covering the same time period, what JA wrote in one book will take 3 for this author.
It's not Jane Austen, it never is. That one ("overworked")nitpick aside, I think this work is a credit to the author. She obviously has a great love for P&P and Jane Austen, and it shows. She explores Darcy's thoughts, feelings and the possible motives for his actions. Miss Aidan's Darcy is passionate and at this point in the story, in utter confusion about his own situation. What will happen next?! =)
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A great insight on Mr Darcy!
Like I've been saying with most Austen spinoffs, I always proceed with caution. I don't like being disappointed and I certainly don't like it when my beloved classic have been... Read more
Published on Nov. 10 2009 by Karoline
3.0 out of 5 stars Retelling Pride & Prejudice through Darcy's eyes? What a novel idea!...
This novel is yet another of the Jane Austen prequel/sequel/alternate view genre. Most of the novels in this genre are only mildly tedious. Read more
Published on Aug. 4 2009 by Valancy Stirling
5.0 out of 5 stars Thorouhgly engaging: if you love P & P, you will love this book!
This is the first of a must read P & P based trilogy! I would love to give this 6 stars!

Of course it is not Jane Austen writing, but the language used is very beautiful... Read more
Published on Jan. 6 2009 by C. Mcnulty
4.0 out of 5 stars entertaining
a good view of the story we know, but from the Darcy angle. Starts as Bingley moves to Netherfield & ends as Miss Bingley & the Hursts follow Bingley & Darcy back to London to help... Read more
Published on March 2 2007 by K. Cheetham
3.0 out of 5 stars Great story but not so great writing
I wanted to LOVE this book because I am a passionate fan of Pride and Prejudice. Unfortunately, there is only one Jane Austen and she hasn't been reincarnated as Pamela... Read more
Published on March 12 2006
5.0 out of 5 stars Pamela Aiden continuations
Pamela Aiden, in my opinion, not only captures the spirit of Pride and Prejudice, but exceeds all expectations in a continuance. Read more
Published on Sept. 28 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally! More Pride and Prejudice true to Jane Austin's Styl
I absolutely love Jane Austin novels. I've read a few books based on Pride and Prejudice that continue the story where Austin left off but this one is by far the best! Read more
Published on July 15 2004 by pamelars24
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable
I just finished reading this book and enjoyed it. It's cleverly done. I'd like to read it again in conjunction with Pride and Prejudice so that I'm getting both perspectives at... Read more
Published on July 1 2004 by Rachael
4.0 out of 5 stars Good book with a different point of view
I enjoyed this book, and while it doesn't come close to reproducing Austen's quality of writing, it does satisfy the reader. Read more
Published on June 28 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable Austen sequel
With the proliferation of Austen sequels out there, readers must be discerning in their selections. "An Assembly Such as This" is a rare find, in that it is true to... Read more
Published on June 24 2004
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