by Lucy Marin
Genres: Romance, Regency, Pride & Prejudice Variation
Release Date: April 18, 2022
Purchase from: Amazon
My Rating: ★★★☆☆
“You can sell Pemberley and settle as many debts as possible. Or you could marry a wealthy woman and use her fortune to restore it.”
Fitzwilliam Darcy, heir to a mountain of debt, a tarnished family name, and a crumbling estate finds himself confronted by an unthinkable choice. Knowing it is a last chance to save his birthright, he agrees to an arranged marriage with Miss Elizabeth Bennet, ward of her wealthy but vulgar uncle, Mr Gardiner. Despite entering into the marriage understanding what he is giving up, he soon finds himself resenting the actions of his forebears and the choices he feels he was forced to make.
Elizabeth Bennet knows that marrying a gentleman of high birth would allow her to reclaim the social status she lost when her father died. Having been approached by men falsely proclaiming their affection for her, she embraces the opportunity to set the terms of her marriage openly and honestly. After meeting Mr Darcy and his sister, Elizabeth is determined to give them the home and care they deserve. Believing she and Mr Darcy have a common understanding of what their union will be like, she has high hopes for a happy future.
A friendship between them soon promises to bloom into something more romantic but Darcy has unresolved issues in his past that will not remain hidden. Dismayed, Darcy at last confronts his errors…but is it too late for he and Elizabeth to find happiness together?
The Marriage Bargain is a forced or contracted marriage variation of Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice and will be enjoyed by fans of Georgette Heyer’s A Civil Contract and other regency romances.
The premise of The Marriage Bargain was fantastic, and I really enjoyed how the changes that go with the premise were woven into the story. However, for roughly 80% of the book, Darcy is a rather unlikeable character. He is whiny, proud, vain, uncaring of others, and hypocritical. His inner monologue constantly revisits how unfair it is that he can’t marry who he wants and that everyone is judging him based on marrying for money. He complains to himself about Elizabeth keeping things from him, when he keeps plenty of things from her. Darcy does his best to keep Georgiana from “Elizabeth’s influence” without making any effort to protect Elizabeth from the vileness of his relatives and the Ton.
On top of this, he continually tells himself that he’s doing everything he should as a husband while purposefully ignoring Elizabeth when they go out, despite Elizabeth’s requests that he stay with her — because HE can’t handle what people are saying — and giving extra attention to Caroline Bingley every time he sees her — because SHE needs someone to support her. He ignores everything everyone tries to tell him about mistakes he’s making, because, in his mind, they’re just being judgemental.
Around the 80% mark, he finally pulls his head out of his a** and is forcefully slapped in the face with everything he’s been doing wrong. However, given how he’s been purposefully ignoring everything until then, his realization seems unrealistic.
I will say, however, that I enjoyed the final 20% of the book. It was more like what I look for in a Pride and Prejudice variation. Elizabeth and Darcy have difficulties to overcome, but without one or the other of them wilfully misunderstanding situations. The epilogue was lovely as well.
As this is on Kindle Unlimited, I don’t think you’d be too terribly disappointed reading it if you are subscribed to the service. However, I wouldn’t suggest buying it.
About the Author
Lucy Marin developed a love for reading at a young age and whiled away many hours imagining how stories might continue or what would happen if there was a change in the circumstances faced by the protagonists. After reading her first Austen novel, a life-long ardent admiration was borne. Lucy was introduced to the world of Austen variations after stumbling across one at a used bookstore while on holiday in London. This led to the discovery of the online world of Jane Austen Fan Fiction and, soon after, she picked up her pen and began to transfer the stories in her head to paper.
Lucy lives in Toronto, Canada surrounded by hundreds of books and a loving family. She teaches environmental studies, loves animals and trees and exploring the world around her.
NOTE: This review is based on an eBook I borrowed from Amazon on May 13, 2022 as part of the Kindle Unlimited program.