Monday, September 18, 2023

The Late Mrs. Willoughby - Mr. Darcy & Miss Tilney #2

The Late Mrs. Willoughby is the second Regency romance/mystery featuring Mr. Darcy & Miss Tilney written by Claudia Gray. Released 16th May 2023 by Knopf Doubleday on their Vintage Anchor imprint, it's 400 pages and is available in paperback, audio, and ebook formats. Large print library bound edition due out in 4th quarter 2023. It's worth noting that the ebook format has a handy interactive table of contents as well as interactive links and references throughout. I've really become enamored of ebooks with interactive formats.

This is an homage series, featuring some of the iconic characters from Austen's classic works, (this one revisiting Sense & Sensibility). This outing sees an apparently neurodivergent Darcy solving a poisoning murder along with his partner / potential romantic lead Juliet Tilney. Much of the plot stretches the boundaries of belief and readers need to bring a healthy suspension of disbelief to the read.

The story is self contained in this volume, so it works very well as a standalone mystery. If read out of order, readers should be aware that there are references to the plot and incidents from the first book, which could give spoilers if read out of order. 

The writing is occasionally overwrought and tries too hard for Austen homage and comes across as well edited and polished fanfic. Three and a half stars. It's well written, very well edited and polished, but ultimately recommended mostly for die-hard Regency romance/mystery fans, and not so much for fans of historical Jane Austen who won't be fooled for a second.

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.

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