Is this going to be a DNF?

Just a couple of days ago I started reading “Mr. Darcy takes a wife” by Linda Berdoll. Since I am not a native English speaker I hardly ever comment on the language or the writing of any given book, but with this one, I have to make an exception.

If asked how to describe the writing style “purple prose” wouldn’t even begin to describe it. I don’t know whether I can finish this book. I’m only on page 51, but the prospect of having to read more than 460 pages of this accumulation of complicated words that I have never heard before and of convoluted sentences is pretty boring. The frequent use of the word “betwixt”, which unfortunately evokes the image of a chocolate bar in my mind, and the numerous brackets don’t make the reading any easier. I don’t think that I’ve ever read the word “betwixt” in any Austen book –or any book for that matter. 

To give you a small example, I’ll quote a short paragraph of the Darcys’ wedding night:

Gentle, guiding strokes influenced her to allow him betwixt her thighs (an objective she found quite tolerable), this demarché culminating in the discovery of her womanly portal. Due to his exceedingly admirable ministrations, therewith, her womanly portal was quite anxious to be traversed.

Just a few paragraphs above this delightful description Darcy’s “credentials” are mentioned:

Yet, she could not help but stare (by reason of its tumescence, his torch of love just so happened to be trained directly upon her and it was difficult to disregard).

Torch of love! Give me a break! Tumescence? If, like me,  you have never heard that word before, here is the definition from a medical dictionary:

Main Entry: tu·mes·cence
Pronunciation: t(y)ü-'mes-&n(t)s
Function: noun
: the quality or state of being tumescent;especially : readiness for sexual activity marked especially by vascular congestion of the sex organs <tumescence … is the really essential part of the process—Havelock Ellis>

Can it get any worse than that? I like Darcyiana, but this is just too much, even for me.

7 Comments Write a comment

  1. Put the book down and walk away. I hate it when authors try to use the most obscure words they can think of! It does not make an enjoyable read. And torch of love? Womanly portal? Is this supposed to be a comedy or a romance?
    .-= Lahni´s last blog ..Book Review: Left to Tell =-.


  2. Lol, Lahni, I know. It is supposed to be a romance, I think, but it fails miserably. Only for hardcore Austen sequel fans. I think I WILL walk away.


  3. Nicola, really? I have never come across the word “tumescence” in romance novels before. If you want a good laugh you should read this book!


  4. I believe the author was trying to recreate an writing style that died off long ago, and she should have let it rest in peace. Run from any novel that still uses “betwixt” as a word. Run very far away!


  5. Jay, thanks for your comment. I didn’t even know that “betwixt” WAS a word until I started reading this novel. Now, unfortunately, I can’t get it out of my mind and am still looking for an opportunity to use it in conversation, if only to confuse people :-).
    I don’t think that Berdoll’s writing style has ever been in use. Austen’s novels certainly sound much more modern than this sad excuse for a sequel.


  6. Pingback: The Bookkeeper » Desiree vs. Mr. Darcy

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