I am reading a book that can only be described simultaneously as the strangest, most unintentionally funny and florid book I have ever read. It's a continuation of the Pride and Prejudice story so beloved by women of the Bridget Jones generation, so therefore must have a huge market.It is called Mr Darcy Takes A Wife by Linda Berdoll and is basically porn for Austenites. And I mean that literally. It is ALL about sex, and has some of the funniest sex scenes I have ever read, but the thing is I don't think they are meant to be funny. If it is a comedy, all credit to her because she made my sides split. My I was laughing more at the language than anything else.
Here's an example;
"So this was the act of love.
"She felt as if she had just fallen off the roof of a barn and he had not extended his hand to help her to her feet."
Hmmm. The author uses the archaic language of the 18th and 19th centuries, but somehow it seems incongruous and is an obstacle rather than a gateway to the narrative. "Bingley's privates were unlikely (especially in company in the parlour) to burst from his inexpressibles as if an enraged squirrel" makes an effective demonstration.
The thing is, I am accidentally enjoying it. I went in with my literature graduate hat on, nose high in the proverbial air, and ended up curled up under a blanket devouring the stuff. I can't help it. I love Darcy and Elizabeth as much as any woman. It is all Austen's fault for creating such identifiable and enduring characters, damn her. Everyone wishes she had written a sequel, and evidently some feel that if she didn't, they will and with gusto. The off-putting thing here is the amount of time the author has put into thinking about what Mr Darcy's "appendage" must look like. It's large, apparently.
Despite all this though, I just can't help myself. It is addictive and hilarious chick lit in a corset, and I confess, I like it. So perhaps when I've finished it I will guiltily go and buy the sequel to the sequel, Darcy and Elizabeth: Nights and Days at Pemberley. Of course, I will be wearing a balaclava, but I'll have my glass of red wine and blanket all ready for when I get home.