Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Source: Review Copy from Author
Volume One in the Given Good Principles series by Maria Grace asked the question: What if Darcy lost some of his pride and selfish conceit and began to undergo a reformation before he ever met Elizabeth Bennet? While Darcy’s Decision (Given Good Principles Volume One) centers upon Fitzwilliam Darcy in his pre-Pride and Prejudice days, The Future Mrs. Darcy (Given Good Principles Volume Two) follows Elizabeth Bennet and illustrates what events were occupying her life before a certain gentleman took up residence in Netherfield Park, begging the question: What if Elizabeth received a hefty dose of humility and reality before she ever set eyes on Mr. Darcy?
Ahhh. What a refreshing and splendidly unique series this is!! I am exceedingly enjoying the inventive twists, new characters, and changed circumstances Maria Grace has created through this series. While some Pride and Prejudicevariations may throw one or two wrenches into the plot, Ms. Grace has effectively thrown half a dozen, and you know what? They all seem to work. I am all eagerness to see how everything will pan out in the next and final installment of her trilogy!
My favorite aspect of Maria Grace’s writing is her characterization. While her story is told primarily from Elizabeth’s point-of-view in this novel, Ms. Grace occasionally swivels the spotlight to illuminate Mr. Bennet, Mrs. Bennet, Kitty, and Mary; giving these characters a little more distinction and dimension. I loved the new understanding I gained about these characters! Witnessing a little of their past hardships, feelings of inadequacy, and desperate need for approval increased my sympathy, secured my compassion, and even granted some allowance for their flaws and foibles in my eyes. I especially appreciated and admired how Ms. Grace provided a credible explanation for both Mrs. Bennet’s nerves and anxieties as well as Mr. Bennet’s supposed lack of foresight and responsibility in providing for his daughters. Well done!
In addition to superb characterization, another element of this novel I took great pleasure in was the strong themes of sisterhood and familial duty. At times this novel felt very Louisa May Alcott-ish, and the Bennet sisters (excluding Lydia) often reminded me of the March sisters from Little Women. Because Mr. Bennet has his own dilemmas to sort through and Mrs. Bennet is indisposed, Jane, Elizabeth, Mary, and Kitty have to pitch in with managing the household, visiting the tenants, and supervising the servants. I so enjoyed seeing these sisters mature, grow closer, and overcome their obstacles together. However, I must warn you that Lydia is a terror in this novel! So extremely selfish, so exasperatingly immature, so spitefully unkind! She is a real villainous in this story and I wanted to slap her so many, many times! I’m curious to see if she will remain as such in the next installment…
Closing with an adorable and oh-so-promising “meet-cute” between Darcy and Elizabeth, the last chapter of The Future Mrs. Darcy beautifully sets the stage for the final installment of this trilogy. (And this reader is all atwitter with anticipation to read it!) I CANNOT wait to see how all the various twists and new developments effect Darcy and Elizabeth’s relationship with each other! Furthermore, I’m eager to see what happens to other characters such as Mr. Collins, Lydia, Mr. Pierce, and Georgiana, whose story-lines are not entirely resolved. I emphatically recommend this series to all Austenesque readers! Maria Grace is a wonderfully talented writer and I greatly admire her work!
**I just really love how elegant, appealing, and affordable this series is! It should definitely be added to your TBR list, if it hasn’t already!
Given Good Principles by Maria Grace
Darcy’s Decision (VOLUME 1)
The Future Mrs. Darcy (VOLUME 2)