The journey toward understanding this complex character is immensely enjoyable, and the supporting cast of familiar characters … helps round out the satisfying story. Cromlin’s poetic descriptions paint a clear portrait of Darcy’s life of privilege in 18th-century England, tackling the many facets of Darcy’s personality with aplomb, often using his own thoughts to better explain his actions and defining characteristics.
Austen devotees may enjoy this glimpse into Darcy’s background, and Austen newcomers might find themselves searching the shelves for her classic novels. (more…)
̶ Kirkus Reviews
What I loved most about this prequel is that readers witness a little bit of everything in Darcy’s life. The night of his birth, the happy scenes from his childhood, the scrapes he gets into, the trials, tragedies, and relationships, his years at Cambridge, his tour of the continent – it is quite inclusive and illuminating! I appreciated how Ms. Cromlin showed great care, respect, and perception with her portrayal of Darcy. The hero we love was easily recognized in his younger years by his serious nature, honorable moral code, and duty to family. And yet, he was real – he had flaws, made mistakes, got into some trouble…
I found much to appreciate and take pleasure in with this debut novel (and hopefully a continuing series) from Carol Cromlin! An introspective and revealing tale about an “ardently loved and admired” character! I recommend! (more…)
– Austenesque Reviews
I enjoyed reading Fitzwilliam Darcy such I was. …I was fascinated with seeing how Darcy grew up and what shaped him.
… I really enjoyed seeing his relationship with his cousin Rennie (Colonel Fitzwilliam). Meeting Bingley had a bit of a different twist to it, which I enjoyed! Georgiana’s near elopement with Wickham was exciting and tense!
Seeing Darcy’s relationship with his father was very special. I always pictured it somewhat differently because of Wickham, but Cromlin’s portrayal of Darcy’s father, Wickham, and Darcy make it come alive for me. I could understand how Mr. Darcy could enjoy Wickham’s company so much and to favor him. I always thought that meant he favored him over Darcy, but that’s not so.
Fitzwilliam Darcy such I was is a wonderful back story of the man we all love!(more…)
– So little time… so much to read!
Well told prequel to Pride & Prejudice, with Mr Darcy thoroughly analysed
What made Mr Darcy the man he was? Carol Cromlin’s entertaining ‘biography’ of everyone’s favourite hero explains just what brought Darcy, unwillingly, to Meryton assembly hall and his first meeting with Elizabeth.
It’s a half-familiar tale – Cromlin weaves the scraps of ‘back story’ hinted at in Pride & Prejudice into a history in which wealth and privilege are tempered by personal tragedy. Cromlin takes as her starting point the date when Jane Austen began writing First Impressions – October 1796. From there she worked backwards to determine the dates of her story.
After a first chapter in which we are introduced to Darcy and Bingley a few days before Sir William Lucas’s ball, the narrative returns to the 1760s and the birth of Fitzwilliam Darcy. Cromlin writes with great sensitivity and a lyrical style, charting her hero’s life from infancy to adulthood.
We see Darcy at home with his beloved mother and share his distress at her early death; we also see his great affection for Georgiana, his baby sister. Schooldays, university, a splendid detour into the laws of cricket and the Grand Tour; all experiences that go towards shaping the man who catches Elizabeth’s eye.
Running through the whole story, and adding a dark thread to the tapestry of what in many ways seems to be a charmed life, is Darcy’s relationship with George Wickham. It’s a convincing story, and one that explains Wickham’s heinous behaviour, and Darcy’s pains to cover up his boyhood companion’s shortcomings for as long as he possibly can.
… it’s an enjoyable, absorbing read.
– Jane Austen’s Regency World Magazine