From Laurence Olivier and Peter Cushing to Colin Firth and Matthew Macfayden, Mr. Darcy has been a socially awkward, eloquent dreamboat we’ve all fallen in love with, and it’s no surprise that Jane Austen was a master of romance. In that same vein, Lauren Layne has gifted us with five books she would recommend if you have also caught the Darcy bug. The first book in Lauren’s Wedding Belles series, To Have and to Hold, is on sale now.
I’ll admit it. When it comes to my literary crushes, I don’t have even a lick of originality.
I. Love. Mr. Darcy.
I still remember watching the BBC version of Pride & Prejudice with my mom years ago, back before I knew who Jane Austen was, back before I understood that Mr. Darcy was a thing. And like so many girls/women before me, I fell hard for Darcy (Colin Firth’s version in this case, although I’ll confess to loving all the Darcies equally!)
In fact, I was so obsessed, that I knew exactly which of our 6-tape VHS set of Pride & Prejudice (this was before DVDs, definitely before streaming!) had the BEST Darcy scenes. My favorite being video tape #4 where Elizabeth visits Pemberly and starts to see that Darcy’s not the total prick she thought he was. Those awkward moments when Mr. Darcy’s obviously wanting so badly to make an impression but doesn’t know how… heart melts.
Eventually those old VHS tapes started to wear out, and I realized it was time to get my Darcy feels somewhere else. Right around this time, I picked up my first romance novel and learned that Mr. Darcy left quite the legacy of romance heroes. I’ve rounded up some of my favorite taciturn Darcy-esque heroes. These book boyfriends are so chilly to start, and then slowly begin to thaw in a way that makes my stomach flip every darn time.
Slightly Dangerous | Mary Balogh
An oldie-but-goodie (literally, as this one’s historical!), I’ve always wondered if Mary Balogh wrote Slightly Dangerous as a deliberate homage to Pride and Prejudice, because no other hero transforms quite so wonderfully from alpha-cold to deliciously hot as the reserved Wulfric Bedwyn. I’ve read this book at least a dozen times, and I still get butterflies as we watch the reserved duke fall for the bubbly Christine.
Epic Fail | Claire LaZebnik
Okay, yes, I’m sneaking a YA onto this list, but retelling of P&P with teenage character is particularly charming in that it’s all about the looks and nervous encounters, and not about the sex, which I think Austen would heartily approve of. The author skillfully stays true to the original story, but brings it wonderfully into the high school setting. And let’s face it, we ALL wanted this sort of love story when we were sixteen!
To Have and to Hold | Lauren Layne
Oh, WHOOPS!? One of my own made the list?! ?I had to though. The first in my Wedding Belles series, Seth Tyler has the Darcy-routine down pat, right down to the icy glare and occasional social awkwardness. The sassy Brooke is everything he thought he didn’t want, and everything he can’t stop thinking about. I’ve never had so much fun unraveling a hero.
All I Ever Wanted | Kristan Higgins
I love absolutely everything Higgins has ever written, but All I Ever Wanted is the one that’s warranted the most rereads. Why? It’s all about the hero. Ian is Mr. Darcy reborn in contemporary perfection. A little aloof, maybe a tiny bit shy, and an exquisite combination of vulnerable and alpha.
What I Did for a Duke | Julie Anne Long
Regency fans, look no further than this one for your Darcy fix. Yes, it’s part of a series, but it doesn’t have to be read in order (although you really should read the whole series, it’s exceptional!) Long’s Duke is everything you want him to be—he’s so wonderfully cold and a little bit ruthless that you’ll watch his slow fall for the sweet Genevieve with your heart in your throat.
Okay, hit me! Which Mr. Darcy-esque heroes is this list missing?!