Title: An Assembly Such As This
Author: Pamela Aidan
Rating: 4.5 stars
Possible Censorship Issues: (None)
On the whole, I am uninterested with modern authors who steal classic characters and books for their own publishing use. To me, it seems nothing more than glorified fanfiction that is merely a gimmick to earn money off someone else’s inspiration. Of course, there are exceptions such as P.D. James’s Death Comes to Pemberley and Laurie R. King’s Mary Russell Holmes series (both fantastic sequels to classic books), and I was pleasantly surprised to recently add An Assembly Such As This to this short list of notable retellings.
An Assembly Such As This is the first book in the Fizwilliam Darcy, Gentleman trilogy by Pamela Aidan and is a retelling of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice from Darcy’s point of view. I was extremely skeptical of the high ratings I encountered for this series (after all, how many Pride and Prejudice retellings can the world take?), but I was shocked upon reading to find it well written, engaging, and clever. The characterizations are solid and completely identically to Austen’s creations, and I was delighted to find that Aidan had not merely copied Austen’s work, but rather enhanced it by filling in time gaps and giving solid motivations for characters’ actions in the original novel. I think perhaps my favorite part of the book was finally getting to see Darcy and Bingley’s friendship. More than once, Aidan’s humor had me in stitches with witty comments and situations that were on par with Austen’s.
There really wasn’t much that I disliked about this book. The pacing is a little slow the first half, but once the plot gets rolling, it is much more engaging. The book isn’t action-filled by any means, but it is fairly laid back and lets the plot simply happen at its own leisure. The audience doesn’t need to have read the original book to understand or enjoy the story; however, I wouldn’t recommend it for anyone who doesn’t like the original Pride and Prejudice.
I myself was very impressed with An Assembly Such As This and have already bought the other two books in the trilogy to read. It has enhanced my enjoyment of Austen’s original book and given me a better understanding of society and culture at that time. I highly recommend it and am eager to read more of Aidan’s works.