Review: Impulse & Initiative

Impulse & Initiative: What if Mr. Darcy had set out to win Elizabeth's heart? (Pride & Prejudice Variation), by Abigail Reynolds

It has to be said from the outset that Impulse & Initiative is not an Austen sequel. Rather, it is an Austen variation. Allow me to explain the difference: an Austen sequel continues beyond Austen's end to a novel; a variation re-tells the novel, playing the "what if?" game.

Impulse & Initiative
is a retelling of Jane Austen's classic novel Pride and Prejudice. This time, though, what if Mr Darcy had not retreated after Elizabeth Bennet refused his first proposal of marriage and instead followed her to Longbourn to pursue her affections? I mean really pursue. And what if Elizabeth capitualated in a most 2008 manner? Yowza.

(a little Mr Darcy eye-candy for you to print out and use as a bookmark as you read this novel)

Now I'll admit that I haven't read a true romance-genre novel since I was a teenager and the forbiddeness of it led me to purchase about 50 of them from a local used bookstore and read them in the family treehouse. (Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series notwithstanding, but I classify that as historical fiction to retain my dignity.) I'll just say this: Abigail Reynolds sure knows how to steam up a page! Think Jane Austen writes a bodice-ripper.

The result? Surprisingly fun and a tad eye-popping racy. I say surprisingly because one of the endearing traits of Ms. Austen's stories is the return to a time when morals and values defined your place in society. I was prepared to dislike any storyline that messed with that basic principle. In reality, and perhaps indicative of the times we live in today, I couldn't put the book down. The style and wit of Ms. Austen are compellingly replicated and the dichotomy of the early 19th-century eloquence with 21st-century romance is spellbinding. Kudos to Ms. Reynolds!

You'll notice that I refrained from giving this novel one of my standard ratings. This is because I have several different recommendations, each based on your particular reading history:
  1. Those who have never read Pride and Prejudice and don't intend to: Highly recommended!
  2. Those who have never read Pride and Prejudice but fully intend to someday: Hold off on reading this one. I don't want you to be disappointed in the original.
  3. Those who have read Pride and Prejudice and were enthralled: Recommended if you can let go of the original characters as Ms. Austen wrote them and let yourself have fun with it.
  4. Those who have read Pride and Prejudice and weren't particularly impressed: Very much recommended....the spice in this one might be just what it takes to make the characters interesting for you.

Title: Impulse & Initiative
Author: Abigail Reynolds
ISBN-13: 978-1402213571
416 pages
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Date: September 1, 2008

Other reviews in Blogland:
Becky's Book Reviews
Turn About the Room
Thea's Regency Reviews

Would you like to read the first chapter? (I know you're looking for the hot stuff, that that comes later in the book.)


  1. Ooohhh...that looks good and I've never really been interested in Jane Austen, but I may have to get out of my comfort zone and check it out. Adding another one to my Sears Tower of TBR piles!

  2. We need a book teleporter that works between our two houses. I will go to work building one right now and disguise it as a microwave. (Which you know I never actually use to cook in...ha)

  3. don't fool me. The part that looks good is Mr Darcy....bwahahahaha.

  4. Spice is nice! :)

    It has been years (decades?) since I read P&P. *Impulse and Initiative* looks like fun, but I think I'll revisit Jane Austen first. Thanks for the review (and bookmark!)

  5. Not too sure where to leave comment (totally unsavy new blogger as to computers) not related to your review but anyway you left a comment about The Fire at my review. Do read The Eight first, you will be glad you did. I'll be interested to see which one you like the best. Thanks for stopping by

  6. I know, Dawn, isn't that just a pleasing little bookmark...ha ha ha.

    Kaye - thanks for stopping by. And I will let you know which one I like better. I love a good sequel, though.

  7. Ever since I read Abigail Reynolds' Pemberley by the Sea, I've been interested in her Pemberley Variations. They sound very interesting. And I agree about Reynolds having a gift for writing spicy scenes! Oh, and I love the Darcy eye-candy!

    Diary of an Eccentric


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