Chapter Sixteen – A Ball for the Bingleys
The Howgraves arrive at Pemberley fashionably late and go to greet their hosts. Juliette is nervous, so she can’t bring herself to really look at him. They move on and stand around while various people come up to Howgrave to try and curry favor, and Howgrave works on trying to convince them to vote for him. Juliette stands by and does a good job of looking pretty, which is something that makes her happy.
She was blissfully happy (page 60).
Juliette accidentally catches Darcy’s eye, because he’s very tall and he can see over everyone’s heads. She looks away and starts wandering around looking at the ballroom while she thinks about Darcy. She’s a little bit sad that she never got to take Darcy out as her date. Back when Darcy was fucking her, he would show up, they’d root around for awhile, and he’d leave without ever spending the night or anything. This bothers her because Darcy was so incredibly ridiculously attractive and awesome that he more or less won her heart.
Turns out Juliette went to visit Jane, was impressed, but nothing really happened. We then get about a page of backstory that was covered in the previous two books and isn’t particularly interesting, and finally Juliette looks at Elizabeth and Darcy standing next to each other and starts planning her seduction.
She must have Darcy again or she just might die of want (page 63).
Berdoll’s version of these characters has turned them into the biggest Mary Sue and Gary Stu in all literature. Although I guess it’s fair. In the past two novels, we were treated to every single male character passionately lusting after Elizabeth and willing to do anything to fuck her. And now it’s time for Darcy to get the same treatment.
Not that that’s a good or compelling storyline, or that it keeps the slightest bit of tension. Darcy isn’t going to fuck Juliette. We know this. It’s absolutely not going to happen. In fact, I’m going to make a prediction: Juliette is going to come up with a boring plan to seduce Darcy. Darcy will decline, but due to some hilarious misinterpretation Elizabeth will think Darcy either did or was thinking about it, despite Darcy having been unerringly faithful for every second of their courtship and marriage and never giving Elizabeth any reason to doubt him. Elizabeth will fret about this, and it will cause some minor tension in their relationship before they get over it.
Let’s see if I’m right.
Chapter Seventeen – Old Friends, New Chapters
Elizabeth wants to dance, but she has a bun in the oven, so Darcy isn’t letting her when Bingley asks her to dance with him. She complains about this, and Darcy says he’s fine if she dances, just not with Bingley, because Bingley’s a bit too lively and he doesn’t want Elizabeth getting hurt. Which is kind of a sweet in an overcontrolling sort of way. Except that Elizabeth’s a big girl now. Let her do what she feels like, Darcy.
Darcy gives in after a bit and tells her to dance with whoever she wants. Nothing happens for awhile, and then Charlotte shows up. We get backstory about how Mr. Collins died, and it’s revealed that Charlotte is engaged to the new vicar for the de Bourghs, who is equally unattractive and equally pompous, but he has a bit of a sense of humor, so he has that advantage.
His name is Pratt, and he prattles on for awhile about bees.
“I myself have been stung ten, nay twenty times in one day. But one must put one’s fears aside when it to the betterment of society. Mankind avails himself of the instincts of the inferior animals to his own advantage.” (page 67)
Pratt keeps going for another two pages, even reciting some bee-related poetry. Eventually he and Charlotte start verbally sparring and there are actually some pretty funny lines, which almost make up for spending two pages reading about bees. At least, it would if the funny lines were original:
Mr. Pratt snipped, “I did not attend the funeral but sent a nice letter saying I approved of it.” (page 69).
Chapter Eighteen – The Belle of the Ball
Bingley’s bitchy sisters show up.
Most of the county knew that Caroline had clung to Darcy’s coattails for a half a year hoping to secure him and was barely able to contain her joy when he asked for Elizabeth’s hand instead (page 70).
Uh…what? I think you have that backwards, Berdoll. Caroline was furious when Darcy asked for Elizabeth’s hand. You know, because she wanted to marry him?
Also – ‘for a half a year’? Who edited this thing?
Caroline, however, has attached herself to Sir Beecher, who married Lady Anne de Bourgh and is now a widower since she died in childbirth. Carole and her friend Louisa wander around the party judging everyone until they see Juliette Howgrave, and they’re delighted by how gorgeous and famous she is, so they go over to talk to Elizabeth about this. Elizabeth is less pleased to discuss Lady Howgrave, and Darcy doesn’t really want to talk to Beecher, so we’re treated to two pages of Elizabeth and Darcy being slightly uncomfortable.
Of course, the problem here is that all of this is irrelevant. This isn’t giving us any new insights into any of these characters – everyone is behaving pretty much exactly how we assume they’re going to behave – and none of this conversation is setting up any kind of actual plot development.
Lydia gets drunk and says some offensive things, so Elizabeth finds her husband, who hauls Lydia quietly out of the party.
Chapter Nineteen – Posit and Presumption
What a clever chapter title.
Bingley, meanwhile, is gazing at Juliette Howgrave, who is just so utterly gorgeous that he’s reduced to a ‘gibbering schoolboy.’ Jane, of course, finds this absolutely adorable and it doesn’t bother her at all – after all, it’s not Bingley is the type to cheat on her…oh wait.
Juliette chats up Bingley because she wants to casually bump into Darcy and she figures Bingley is her in. After a few pages, Bingley signals Darcy over. They spend a page discussing politics, and eventually Bingley makes a slightly off-color joke, and this sends the conversation spiraling downward until finally some random schmuck makes a crack about how expensive whores are these days, which offends everyone, including Darcy, who gives the man the evil eye. The man promptly excuses himself from the party and leaves, composing a letter of apology as he does so, and everyone in the group starts moving away. However….wait for it…Howgrave isn’t there! So Juliette holds up her hand indicating she wants to be led away from the vile conversation and positions herself in such a way that only Darcy could lead her away.
I’m getting chills.
Darcy leads her away. Juliette heads towards some paintings she wants to admire, and propriety demands he walk with her. They go up a staircase so they’re on a kind of balcony overlooking the dance floor. The orchestra starts playing an inappropriate waltz, so Darcy glares at the conductor until they change the music. Finally Juliette makes her move:
Nodding towards the tranquil dance floor, she said, “How far afield of heated passion we have chanced.” (page 80)
Darcy doesn’t really say anything.
For a man known to own a quick mind, his behavior was well-nigh hebetudinous (page 80).
My thoughts exactly.
She’s upset he stopped the waltz, but Darcy points out that some of the guests disapprove, and as host, he kinda has to keep it level for everyone. Juliette cracks a joke, Darcy smiles, and she’s so delighted that she managed to get him to smile that she laughs her beautiful, melodic laugh.
With the unerring misfortune that some incidents invite, Elizabeth Darcy happened to hear the echoing laugh and turned her eyes upward at that very moment (page 81).
Chapter Twenty – The Retort
And we cut forward to later that night. Darcy is very tired, and he really wants sex, but Elizabeth has already gone to bed and he remembers she’s pregnant and undoubtedly tired as well and resigns himself to not getting anything and slips in to go to sleep. Of course, that’s not the case. Elizabeth is waiting on the bed – nekkid. Well. Almost. She’s nekkid except for that one undergarment type thingy Darcy disapproves of.
She pulled it loose. Therefore the top of her drawers fell just far enough down her hips to reveal the cleft of her derriere. He could not see the dimple in the middle of her soft, round buttock, but he knew it was there (page 84).
God, that’s romantic.
He kisses her ear, which sends her entire body shivering with electricity, and takes off the undergarment, and then they start immediately fucking. You know, I just realized that Darcy is really quite terrible at foreplay.
Darcy starts reciting a sonnet in Elizabeth’s ear and we fade to black. And that is that. I hope you enjoyed the last 25 pages, because they built up to…no conflict, and Elizabeth and Darcy having sex.