Published by Southern Girl Press Goodreads
In this lurid, lusty sequel to Pulse and Prejudice, death shadows the newlywed Darcys from Pemberley to the parlors of Regency London to the courtyards of Antebellum New Orleans. As Elizabeth discovers the trials and travails of marriage to a vampire, can Darcy ever believe that she loves him as he is? Or will his jealousy tear them apart?
Please note that this book is the second book in The Confession of Mr Darcy, Vampire series and that it will contain spoilers for anyone who hasn’t read the first book in this series, Pulse and Prejudice: The Confession of Mr Darcy, Vampire.
Will Elizabeth decide to leave Darcy after she realizes the full extent of the threats and secrets that are revealed during their early marriage?
As someone who came to JAFF looking to read Pride and Prejudice sequels, it still surprises me that I am able to love so many different kinds of variations. The key for me, when I am enjoying a variation that veers very far from canon, is that I find that the characters resemble Austen’s own characters in many ways and that the story engages all of my senses. Colette Saucier’s Pulse and Prejudice: The Confession of Mr Darcy, Vampire was one of the first JAFF paranormal books that I ever had the pleasure to read and ever since then, I have been eagerly anticipating the sequel, Dearest Bloodiest Elizabeth: Book II: The Confession of Mr Darcy, Vampire. After taking the plunge into this dark and haunting world, I am bloody thrilled to say that I just loved this sequel because Colette Saucier took an interesting storyline from her first book in this series and brought it to a whole new level. From the very first pages, readers will know that this is a darker, grittier, and angstier book than the first one.
It’s clear from the beginning of this story that Darcy and Elizabeth have a very passionate and loving relationship, as they enjoy their time together at Pemberley. After all, Elizabeth has trusted a vampire to take care of her for the rest of her life and take care of her Darcy certainly does. But, even a vampire who has sworn not to do certain things can get a bit carried away and before long Darcy and Elizabeth face a dire situation; one that can only be made “right” with Colonel Fitzwilliam’s interventions. Yet, once Colonel Fitzwilliam intervenes, his trust in Darcy has been completely shattered. As he struggles to allow Elizabeth to stay married to such a creature, he tries to intervene on her behalf.
This early mishap in their marriage will have lingering effects on their relationships, as events start to spiral out of control for Darcy and Elizabeth. After he finds himself in a situation where he must decided whether or not to use his powers on someone close to him, the master of Pemberley soon finds himself being threatened by a dwarf dhampir, who has reappeared in his life. The dhampir starts making demands that Darcy flatly refuses to comply with, no matter what inducement are being offered to him. But, when the ultimate threats are far too damaging to bear, Darcy finds himself tasked to comply with the dwarf dhampir’s commands; travel to America to locate and kill his arch-enemy, Wickham.
So off we go with the Darcys to New Orleans, along with Darcy’s trustworthy and insightful valet, Rivens. This ultimately became my absolute favorite part of their story, mainly due to Colette Saucier’s efforts in bringing 19th century New Orleans to life through the sights, sounds, and scenes she incorporates into the Darcys time on New Orleans. While Darcy and Elizabeth go in searching in earnest of Wickham, it quickly becomes clear that this will be a more difficult task than they have initially anticipated because the local society wants nothing to do with them. After exhausting all of their ideas related to using their wealth and other “tricks” to get close to the locals, Elizabeth decides to resort to her final idea in their quest; she pens a request to Lady Calmut, the French lady who Colonel Fitzwilliam is courting, asking her to join them in New Orleans to assist them. Lady Calmut and Colonel Fitzwilliam eventually arrive in New Orleans, but Colonel Fitzwilliam makes it pretty clear that his distrust of Darcy has not faded, and that he’s more willing to serve as a friend to Elizabeth, than to his own cousin.
Once Wickham is located, Darcy and Elizabeth learn a lot more about what’s truly going on in New Orleans amongst the “locals.” Darcy must decide if he trusts Wickham’s intentions, even when Elizabeth flatly refuses to believe any good can come from cavorting with the likes of Wickham. Eventually, Darcy and Elizabeth find themselves at odds with one another; will Darcy’s pride lead them both to suffer from his reckless desires, or will they come to see eye to eye regarding what’s essential in their lives?
Dearest Bloodiest Elizabeth: Book II: The Confession of Mr Darcy, Vampire is everything I was hoping for from this sequel, and possibly, even more! Ms. Saucier certainly found a way to bring a lot of interesting angst and new revelations to her sequel. This is not the type of relationship that Austen purists would prefer to read between Darcy and Elizabeth, but for JAFF readers who enjoy a little bite in their JAFF, this is the kind of JAFF paranormal story that will not only engage your heart, it will also engage your mind. I relished learning about the history of New Orleans and how certain aspects of their life in New Orleans were difficult for the Darcys to adjust to due to the culture of the area.
The book also touches upon the subject of slavery amongst during this time period in New Orleans and how the Darcys’ values sharply clashed with the values of the citizens of New Orleans. It was fascinating to see how wealthy people from such different backgrounds found it hard to understand each other and how they sometimes couldn’t see that they were also more alike in some ways to the very same people that they disliked.
The loving relationship between Darcy and Elizabeth established in the first book continues here, and becomes even more intense, now that they are a married couple. There are some very intimate scenes between the couple, though they are very well-written and generally integral to the story. There’s plenty of angst between our dear couple, and it’s a nice combination of external and internal forces that they struggle with throughout the book. Darcy battles his own demons throughout the story, as he deplores his “condition,” and can’t even bear to hear even the word “vampire.” Compounding his anxieties is the tremendous guilt he harbors for bringing his beloved wife into his abnormal life. Elizabeth painfully subscribes to her own set of concerns, as she realizes she still has a lot to learn about the “man” she has married and struggles to regain confidence in her own judgments after she witnesses aspects of Darcy’s “condition” that frighten her to her very core. How can she herself not also be evil to find such a monstrous creature so irresistible?
The book is action-packed and left me turning pages rather quickly on my Kindle, while at the same time the story is filled with well-developed characters whose inner turmoils make the reader empathize with each of their own plights. Ms. Saucier’s story examines the beauties and frailties of Darcy and Elizabeth’s love and devotion to each other, while she also folds it into a world filled with gothic danger. While the ending does not leave us with a cliffhanger, the door is left open for a third book, if Ms. Saucier should ever decide to treat us to another sequel in this series.
Ms. Saucier is offering a giveaway for an ebook of “Dearest Bloodiest Elizabeth: Book II: The Confession of Mr Darcy, Vampire,” to one Just Jane 1813 reader. To enter this giveaway, please comment on this post by midnight, ET, on October 2nd. The winner will be announced on this blog on October 3, 2016. The first book in this series, “Pulse and Prejudice” is on sale for $2.99 until September 30, 2016, which makes this a great time to delve into this series!
I want to thank Colette Saucier for taking the time (two years!) to write such a thrilling tale that includes lots of great historical details too. You can also check out her post on Austen Variations to learn more about this story.