I finished An Assembly Such As This by Pamela Aiden. This is the first in a trilogy that tells the Pride & Prejudice story from Mr. Darcy's point-of-view. I thought this would be really interesting since P&P doesn't give you much insight into how Mr. Darcy goes from completely dismissive of all country society (including Lizzy) to saving her family from ruin and falling in love with her. But as it turns out, I think she gives you all you really need. I enjoyed this book, although it was much too long. This should be one book, not a trilogy. Ms. Aiden isn't a great writer. I would describe this as above-average fanfiction, honestly. Ms. Aiden adds some elements to show Mr. Darcy's character and circumstances. Some of these work, and some are clunky. His conversations with Bingley are interesting, and some of the P&P scenes she shows are cool to see with his thoughts revealed. The clunkiest ones are when he talks to his horse and dog and this whole ridiculous thing where his valet ties his cravat in a new way and this other guy is really jealous, which just seemed stupid. And she went on and on about the dang cravat for like two chapters. The political stuff that's alluded to could have been really interesting, but I don't think it's handled all that well.
Do I recommend this book? Hmmm. Die-hard Jane Austen fans like me may enjoy it despite it's shortcomings. I am interested enough to want to read the other two books. Definitely buy it used, though, or get it from the library. This is not a full-price from B&N book :)
Other Jane Austen related series to check out: Stephanie Barron's Jane Austen mysteries, in which Jane Austen solves mysteries (these sound really fun) and Carrie Bebris's Mr. and Mrs. Darcy mysteries. Both series sound like lots of fun, and maybe the genre change to mystery negates some of the issues I had with the Aiden book.
Ha! See, Holly, I read a new book :)