Really Angelic by Enid wilson

In the prequel, 10-year-old Lizzy knocks over Darcy’s carriage (why is he alone with his servants when he’s just a kid himself?) and lifts it off his leg to save him. Even then, his first concern is his men’s safety, but he, and she, and we, are surprised at her strength. I assumed she was propelled by adrenaline, but years later, Elizabeth desires that Darcy spill a glass of wine on himself at the Meryton assembly, and he does. It turns out, of course, that Elizabeth Bennet has supernatural powers.

If you’re still with me, hold on to your seats because, within the span of just a few pages, Elizabeth encounters a mysterious “quill filled with golden ink that vanishes,” learns she is actually an angel and not the Bennets’ natural daughter, and assumes the responsibility she had not known was hers of being Darcy’s guardian angel (9). (We learn later that he merits one because he’s such a good guy.) As such, she is duty-bound to “praise, reveal, guide, provide, protect, deliver, and encourage,”  “fulfill [her] duties and win elevation,” and “risk reparation” if she neglects her obligations (16).

My first concern was that, if Elizabeth fulfills all of these tasks, Darcy will not be drawn to her the way he is in Pride and Prejudice.  As it turns out, Wilson has other plans for these two, many of which would merit an X rating if they were filmed. Lizzy and Darcy can hear each other’s thoughts for each other, and once Darcy understands that it is this lady’s job to fulfill his desires, she does so—repeatedly, in all variety of places.

My next concern was that someone needed to edit this volume, for basic typos, for flaws in logic, and for hyperbole. Early on, we’re told that “thus far, Elizabeth had deliberately reframed from writing” (bold, my emphasis 10). Later, the narrator asks, “Had he develop[] pneumonia . . . ?” (58) and “How could that [] happened?” (66) Elizabeth at one point attempts to persuade “Mr. Darcy to wait and see, but he was most insistence” (130). In addition to faults in language, logic takes a few hits here as well. The quill is called “magic,” but a few lines later, Elizabeth asks herself if it is magic (10). When the pen only writes her name and Darcy’s, she deems the quill “defective.” Why? That’s not what an intelligent person would assume. When the Collins wedding happens (with a different bride, which was kind of fun), Lydia goes to visit the new bride, which makes little sense if we look to the original, which makes Kitty Maria Lucas’ long-time friend. Later, Mary becomes friends with Georgiana, whereas the original suggests Kitty is the sister spending quality time at Pemberley. Miss Bingley is truly evil, but it feels overdramatic that she states her nefarious plans aloud when she thinks no one is around (Lizzy and Darcy are under the bed). And the description of Elizabeth’s “twin peaks” happened a few too many times to be titillating. The descriptions of sexual congress are not wholly gratuitous, but Wilson takes a few too far, with descriptions like: “When she slid her fingers along the clenched cheeks of his buttocks, she seemed to have touched a sensitive spot in his soul” (159).  His soul? Really?

If you read this version of P & P for what it is—an overly sexed love story with paranormal twists and turns—you may well find pleasure in it. We all want Lizzy and Darcy to have love like this, but part of our joy in Austen is the restraint; the tension is always building, and the relationships develop. Here, the only restraint is to wait until Elizabeth can land them safely, Jane is almost entirely ignored, and evil appears in multiple forms with potentially serious consequences. It’s not Austen, but it’s a fun, light read.

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Published in: on June 13, 2010 at 8:28 am  Leave a Comment  

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