Another Arrestingly Beautiful Variation by Kara Louise!
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Source: Review Copy from Publisher
Only Mr. Darcy Will Do, originally self-published as Something Like Regret in 2008, is another superior Pride and Prejudice variation by Kara Louise. In this inventive retelling, Mrs. Benent’s gloomy predictions about Mr. Bennet’s death preceding her own have unfortunately become a reality and Mr. Bennet passes away shortly after Elizabeth’s return from Hunsford Parsonage. Thus effecting quite a few alterations to the plot’s original course: Lydia is forced to leave Brighton early, Elizabeth is denied her trip up north, and Charles Bingley never returns to Netherfield Park. In addition, due to their reduced circumstances, Jane and Elizabeth must move to London and earn their keep as governesses; Jane for the Gardiners and Elizabeth for a family by the name of Willstone.
While working as a governess, Elizabeth makes several new friends in the Willstone family, one being her little charge Emily, a precocious and perceptive six year old (whom I adored!), the other being Rosalyn Matthews, the unmarried sister of Mrs. Willstone. Rosalyn seems like a lovely friend until she confides in Elizabeth her secret schemes of marrying the illustrious and unattached Mr. Darcy!
Even though it has been a year since Elizabeth rejected Darcy’s disastrous proposal, the man has not been far from her thoughts. Now after coming into contact with him once again, Elizabeth cannot help but wonder: Does Mr. Darcy still love her? Is he falling in love with her friend? Did she miss her opportunity at marrying for love?
For me, this novel was intoxicating. I was consumed with it and could not tear myself away! As she does in Darcy’s Voyage, Kara Louise creates a riveting and originative retelling that neatly converges with Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Some of the obstacles and events are the same, some are different, and some take you by surprise. One obstacle I especially loved was that Elizabeth had a rival for Mr. Darcy’s attention and affection. A rival that, unlike with Caroline Bingley, caused Elizabeth to experience some jealousy, insecurity, and anxiety. This reminded me a little of Jane Eyre! In fact, I found several similarities between Elizabeth Bennet and Jane Eyre in this variation, for one they are both governesses. In addition, they both fall in love with someone far above their social status, contend with some female competition, and are unsure if their love is returned. Hmmm… I wonder if this was intended?
What I love and admire most about Kara Louise’s writing is her emphasis on the characters and their emotions. Ms. Louise beautifully highlights the internal struggles within each character and provides the reader with valuable insight to their thoughts and feelings. Writing like this is wonderful because it engages the reader’s sympathies and induces them to feel whatever the character feels, whether it is frustration, embarrassment, jubilation, or longing. In Only Mr. Darcy Will Do the reader is privy to Elizabeth’s emotions and cannot help but feel her humiliation at her first awkward encounter with Mr. Darcy or her suffering when she suspects that Mr. Darcy no longer loves her.
Only Mr. Darcy Will Do is an emotive, absorbing, and heartrending romance that Austen admirers should not miss! Kara Louise is one of my favorite Austenesque authors and I dearly hope to see more of her spectacular stories picked up by a publisher soon! (hint, hint, Sourcebooks!)
Note: I believe the only differences between Something Like Regret and Only Mr. Darcy Will Do besides the title, are grammatical. In addition, this is a very clean romance suitable for all ages.