Vampires have not always had a romantic side. In the beginning they were nothing more than demons possessing the bodies of the dead to feed on living. Most likely this belief was spurred on by superstitious fear and a lack of understanding of the natural decomposing of the human body once life had expired. Not a very pretty image to hold in one’s mind.
As fearful whispers gave way to rumors becoming stories turned myth and legend, the truly remarkable happened. The damned began to have a chance at redemption. They began to seduce and tempt, and even began to long for humanity and love in addition to the unquenchable thirst that tormented them as writers and poets breathed new life into the undead with their pens. The once purely evil and demonic became the embodiment of our human sins, and as we all are told sin can be forgiven.
Vampires are lustful, gluttons envious and covetous. Oh, they can be other sins as well, but these I think are the core that make up the ones we find most often captivating and alluring. Whether vampirism is a curse or a disease, where the vampire exhibits the stirrings of love there a hero waits to emerge.
This month our hero struggles within the pages of Pulse and Prejudice by Colette Saucier in the guise of Mr. Darcy. The man that captured so many hearts as a mortal has been transformed for the purposes of this novel, and with his transformation the darkness invades the tale of Pride and Prejudice, twisting it ever so wickedly. It begins with the Bingley party on the way to the Meryton Assembly, and from there things are skewed from Darcy’s perspective overshadowed by his affliction.
Conversations and phrases are given new context altering subtext and what was once clipped and awkward is now an intriguingly seductive tete-a-tete. We are shown how Darcy reluctantly colludes with Caroline to divide Bingley from Jane before an attachment can be formed between the two. We follow the party to London where Darcy struggles against a sudden increased need, and while his faithful valet devises a solution to manage his master’s thirst Darcy must attend to his sister’s delicate reputation, his cousin’s well meaning intentions, and attempt to elevate the melancholia that seems to have taken hold of Bingley since leaving Netherfield Park.
Saucier stays true to the spirit she processes in altering this beloved tale. Though she adds the elements necessary to darken things with the bloody lenses of vampire glasses she stays true to the restraint of pace in Austen’s original work. Yes, Darcy is now a vampire, but the story unfolds with this alteration without throwing away what I like most about Austen. Saucier gives us more romance without sacrificing the story. Darcy still has his own pride and prejudice to overcome as he must also do with his thirst.
As the tale twists and unfolds with more deviations it stands on its own as a story I found intensely interesting. I liked how Saucier got in the mind of the vampire Darcy much the way Austen did with Elizabeth and still has the story progress without holding the reader captive in some angst ridden hell. I fell in love with this Darcy because it was like getting to know him and understand him as he struggled with his demons and interacted with his family and friends. This alternate version of Mr. Darcy may be my favorite of all time, right after the original.
Let’s talk vampires. What do you think of a vampire Darcy? Which other Austen man would you like vamped? Who is your favorite Hollywood vampire?