Saturday 3 June 2023

Book Review: The Darcy Myth by Rachel Feder (Non-Fiction)

Title: The Darcy Myth
Author: Rachel Feder
Publisher: Quirk Books
Publication Date: 7 November 2023
Pages: 240
Format: eBook - PDF
Genre: Non-Fiction
Source: ARC via NetGalley

What if we've been reading Jane Austen and romantic classics all wrong? A funny, brainy, eye-opening take on how our contemporary love stories are actually pretty terrifying.

Covering cultural touchstones ranging from
Twilight to Taylor Swift and from Lord Byron to The Bachelor, The Darcy Myth is a book for anyone who loves thinking deeply about literature and culture—whether they love Jane Austen or not.

You already know Mr. Darcy—at least you think you do! The brooding, rude, standoffish romantic hero of Pride and Prejudice , Darcy initially insults and ignores the witty heroine, but eventually succumbs to her charms. It’s a classic enemies-to-lovers plot, and one that has profoundly influenced our cultural ideas about courtship. But what if this classic isn’t just a grand romance, but a horror novel about how scary love and marriage can be for women?

The Darcy Myth , literature scholar Rachel Feder unpacks Austen’s Gothic influences and how they’ve led us to a romantic ideal that’s halfway to being a monster story. Why is our culture so obsessed with cruel, indifferent romantic heroes (and sometimes heroines)? How much of that is Darcy’s fault? And, now that we know, what do we do about it?


The Darcy Myth was a thoughtful and entertaining read that considered the darker side behind the brooding hero archetype. I didn't necessarily agree in full with all Feder espoused in the book, but my thoughts did click with hers on some points and it was interesting to read her arguments. Certain parts of the book were more fun for me than others. For instance, I did skim through the section on The Bachelor, because I hate reality TV, so the people she referenced in relation to that show meant nothing to me. But I enjoyed the discussion on Lord Byron and vampires and the look back at the Gothic influences in Austen's works. In general, fans of Jane Austen should find this an interesting read, and I am giving it 4 stars.

I received this book as a free eBook ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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