Bridget Jones Is Back -- With an Awful Twist

Author Helen Fielding has resurrected her beloved character, but she doesn't exactly get her happily ever after

A lot can change in 14 years, even for a fictional character like Bridget Jones. After a long hiatus, author Helen Fielding has written the third book in her popular series, which began with 1996's Bridget Jones's Diary. Even if you never picked up the book, you've probably seen the Renee Zellweger movie at least seven times. So you'll understand the shockwaves that occurred when Fielding revealed a major event in Bridget's life, one that happened in between 1999's Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason and 2013's Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy. Stop reading now if you're avoiding spoilers. Keep reading if you want your heart to break a little.

Bridget married Mark Darcy. And now he's dead.

The British Sunday Times published an advance book excerpt this weekend, which revealed that Bridget is now a widow and the single mother of two children. So now, instead of counting calories and trying on party costumes, Bridget is chasing a younger man as she tries to get over her deceased husband. How... fun? 

If you're feeling a bit like this right now, we understand.

Mark Darcy, played by Colin Firth in the films, was the man who loved everything about Bridget, even as she was frantically trying to change herself. Like so:

He's the handsome, well-off man who fell head-over-heels for an ordinary, insecure girl. As happy endings go, it was a very satisfying one.

So you can see why fans feel betrayed. Why did Fielding choose to knock off Darcy instead of giving him, oh, any other fate? Maybe she wanted to have it both ways: Bridget and Mark did indeed live happily ever after, until he died, and now Bridget is free to return to her dating hijinks. But that's not the ending that readers wanted, and she must have known it.

Here's an even more puzzling question: Why promote her book by casually revealing that Darcy is dead? Does she expect to sell more books this way, since fans will want to know exactly what happened? That might work. It might also backfire terribly.

In fairness to Fielding, none of us have read her excerpt in context. Maybe it all makes more sense when the whole book is in front of you. Readers who are still willing to give it a shot can buy the book when it hits shelves on Oct. 15.

Donna Kaufman is a freelance writer and iVillage contributor. Find her on Twitter and Google+

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