What if Elizabeth BURNED Darcy’s Letter Without Reading It?
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Source: Review Copy form Author
Darcy knew it was a breach of propriety to write Elizabeth Bennet a letter, he knew it would damage her reputation if it was ever discovered, but he knew it was the only way to protect her from misplacing her trust in Wickham. And so he behaves improperly, perhaps even scandalously, to protect the woman he loves. But will Elizabeth appreciate his care and concern?
Not in this variation! In Mr. Darcy’s Letter Elizabeth Bennet refuses to accept Darcy’s letter from him in the grove. Even when it is redelivered to her by Charlotte, Elizabeth, once again, declines reading it and feeds it to the flames. Why does Elizabeth do this? To protect her reputation? To thwart Darcy’s supposed plan of forcing her hand? Or to avoid hearing any more insults from that infuriating man…
And thus begins Abigail Reynold’s newest installment in her stellar and greatly admired Pemberley Variation series. If you are unfamiliar with this phenomenal series, it contains seven novels and one novella anthology that explore the many paths Jane Austen didn’t take in Pride and Prejudice. The premise of Elizabeth not accepting Darcy’s letter is entirely new to this reader and I was very intrigued to see how this would affect the plot and characters. Would Elizabeth fall prey to Wickham’s lies? How will Elizabeth react when she sees Darcy at Pemberley? Would Wickham still attempt to elope with Lydia? There are so many avenues one can go with this premise!
One element I loved about this novel was seeing such wholly diverse outcomes for Lydia, Wickham, Jane, and Mr. Bingley. I liked seeing the Lydia/Wickham storyline go in an entirely different and more advantageous direction. Moreover I thought it was interesting to see Jane and Bingley struggle with some conflicts and turbulence of their own! I applaud Ms. Reynolds for creatively augmenting and fleshing out these characters yet at the same time maintaining their true natures and personalities.
While I did enjoy the originative and singular plot twists Abigail Reynolds implemented in this variation, I found myself wishing she did a little more with them. Wickham didn’t cause as nearly as much mischief as I expected him to and Elizabeth seemed to soften towards Darcy even without reading his letter. There was definitely some room for a bit more tension and drama!
Similar to other novels by this author Darcy and Elizabeth share an amorous and sensual love for each in this novel. While there aren’t many intimate scenes, there is one that takes place before their wedding night. (Note: this is the only Mature Audience scene in this novel). I know oftentimes the characters dictate to the author what they want to do, but in this instance, I do wish Ms. Reynolds better reined in Darcy’s and Elizabeth’s libidos a little. (Which I’m sure it not an easy task!) To have them go from their second kiss to anticipating their vows in five days and one afternoon together seemed to show a little too much modern sensibility in my opinion.
Novels by Abigail Reynolds reviewed on Austenesque Reviews:
- From Lambton to Longbourn
- Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy: Last Man in the World
- Mr. Darcy’s Obsession
- Mr. Darcy’s Undoing
- The Man Who Loved Pride and Prejudice
- To Conquer Mr. Darcy
- What Would Mr. Darcy Do?