What if Elizabeth Contemplated a Marriage of Convenience?
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Source: Review Copy from Author
In this delightful and originative variation of Pride and Prejudice we travel to new time period, the 1930’s – a time of economic depression, poverty, Nazism, jazz music, and motor cars. The Bennet family resides in Chicago where Mr. Bennet earns a living as a English professor at Northwestern University. Unfortunately, due to the increased number of students drop outs, Mr. Bennet is let go from his position. The Bennet family is left with no other recourse except to retreat to their Uncle Gardner’s abandoned farmhouse and work his neglected land in Meryton, Kentucky.
William Darcy, at thirty years of age, is the owner of a prosperous farm in Meryton and the devoted uncle/father-figure to his sister’s children, yet he feels lonely and unsatisfied. After he meets Elizabeth Bennet, he finds himself constantly thinking about her, and it’s not before long that the idea of marriage pops into his head. However, Darcy’s reasons for marriage are more about practicality and improving each others circumstances than about love and affection. In his opinion, Elizabeth would fit in perfectly with the Darcy family; she is kind, intelligent, sensible, and gets along wonderfully with his sister and nieces. But can Elizabeth marry a man who only admires and appreciates her? Can she marry for any other motive than love? Would she sacrifice herself for her family, who is struggling to make it through the winter?
Now, I know the idea of Elizabeth Bennet contemplating a marriage of convenience and sacrificing herself for her family has some of you vehemently shaking your heads! How unromantic and uncharacteristic of our beloved heroine! Yes, it would be uncharacteristic of Jane Austen’s Elizabeth Bennet to contemplate such a proposal, but the Elizabeth Bennet in this story is of a different time period, country, and situation. This Elizabeth Bennet acknowledges that her family is in desperate circumstances and that she marrying for love is a luxury she might never have.
This is an enthralling and well-crafted variation! Ms. Cox’s writing style is captivating and charming. I love the time period she chose, the new predicaments she gave the Bennet family, and the intrigue she created about Georgiana. Furthermore, I loved how some characters’ roles were altered, instead of being a colonel, Darcy’s cousin is Sheriff Fitzwilliam and instead of being his sister, Caroline Bingley is Charles’s spinster aunt! Above all, I took great pleasure in Ms. Cox’s accurate and respectful depiction of Elizabeth and Darcy. While Darcy wasn’t as offending and proud as he usually is characterized, he did have his usual tendency towards selfishness and overbearingness. In addition, although Elizabeth doesn’t dislike Darcy as much as she typically does, her prejudiced opinions and stubbornness are easy to discern. I greatly enjoyed the emotional roller coaster of angst and romance between Elizabeth and Darcy. It reminded me a little of Abigail Reynold’s stories, which I adore! Moreover, similar to Ms. Reynold’s novels, 1932 contains some intimate romantic scenes, so I would recommend this novel for mature audiences.
I found much to enjoy and praise in Karen M. Cox’s debut novel! I hope she pens some more Pride and Prejudice variations. I highly recommend 1932 to Pride and Prejudice fans looking for a fresh, well-written, and engaging variation!