An Alternate Path with Numerous Twists and Surprises!
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Source: Review Copy from Author
(Note: Potential readers should be made aware that this is the third volume in the Given Good Principles series, and that it is recommended that volume one and two are read prior to reading this one.)
In volume one of Maria Grace’s Given Good Principles series, Darcy’s Decision, readers are introduced to a grief-stricken Darcy as he copes with the lost of his father and takes on the responsibilities he left behind. In volume two, The Future Mrs. Darcy, readers encounter Elizabeth Bennet as she tries to manage her sisters and keep their fragile reputation in tact. Both books follow Darcy and Elizabeth separately and can be labeled as prequels since they take place before Mr. Bingley’s arrival at Netherfield. Volume three is where Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet finally meet and interact with each other. Mr. Darcy with a little less selfish disdain and Elizabeth with a little more understanding.
All the intriguing twists and inventive plot devices Maria Grace manifested in volume one and two of this terrific series set the stage beautifully for this wholly unique retelling. A Mr. Darcy who does not insult Elizabeth Bennet at the Meryton Assembly, a Mary Bennet who is soon to be married, and a Wickham that never sets foot in Meryton are only some of the interesting alterations readers will find in this novel. Readers will find some noticeable changes in Louisa Bingley, who is amiable like her brother and friendly with the Bennet sisters, and Mr. Collins, who is a handsome charmer that Elizabeth Bennet finds attractive! Even with the abundance of plot changes to Jane Austen’s novel and liberties taken with her characters this book still conveys the essence and charm of Pride and Prejudice.
My favorite aspect about this series is how Maria Grace delved into her characters psychologically and emotionally. I enjoyed her portrayal of a Mr. Darcy who battles with social anxiety, a Mrs. Bennet suffering from deep-rooted insecurities and fears of failure, and a Mr. Bennet whose peculiarities range from anxieties with change to a physical need for silence and solitude. It was interesting to see these characters depicted in such a perceptive and sympathetic light.
Another element I took great pleasure in with was the focus on close relationships and friendships displayed throughout the novel. It was heartwarming to witness Darcy’s father-son relationship with Mr. Bradley and the Bennet sisters close sisterly bonding and connection with each other. So sweet and endearing!
While I greatly enjoyed observing the unique character alterations in this series, I wasn’t so fond of the fact that some characters started to strongly resemble others. Colonel Fitzwilliam, completely besotted with “his angel,” reminded me a lot of Mr. Bingley, Caroline Bingley’s rude and domineering behavior made her seem like a young Lady Catherine, and Mr. Collins behaved very similar to Mr. Wickham with his depravity and schemes. In addition, itfelt like the antagonists in this novel, Caroline Bingley and Mr. Collins – who were definitely more devious and manipulative than they usually are – were granted a lot of leniency by the other characters. I found it a little surprising that their malicious actions were tolerated and went uninterrupted for as long as they did.
Regardless of my quibbles, I found this inventive and original series to be delightful and diverting! Maria Grace is a captivating and clever storyteller! I highly recommend!
12 out of 30 completed!