Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Source: Review Copy from Author
TYPE OF AUSTENESQUE NOVEL: Variation
TIME FRAME: Elizabeth’s visit to Hunsford Parsonage
MAIN CHARACTERS: Elizabeth Bennet, Mr. Darcy, Anne de Bourgh, Mr. Bingley, Jane Bennet
SYNOPSIS: Anne de Bourgh is growing tired of waiting for Darcy to honor his duty and marry her – she desperately wants to escape Rosings and is more than a little in love with her honorable and estimable cousin. Fascinated by Elizabeth’s lively spirits and impertinence, Anne enlists her help in getting Mr. Darcy to the altar. Elizabeth reluctantly agrees to help Anne, but what she doesn’t know is that she and Mr. Darcy will be working at cross purposes!
WHAT I LOVED:
- Anne and Elizabeth: What a refreshing change it is to see Anne befriend Elizabeth! I loved how they became fast friends and shared confidences with each other; it was an endearing and believable friendship. I could easily see Elizabeth willing to champion Anne’s cause – no matter how much Anne’s devotion to such a haughty and unpleasant man baffled her! Elizabeth is such a loyal and giving friend, it made me happy to see Anne have such a person in her life.
- An Homage to P&P 2005: So many little nods and references in this variation – Darcy’s first proposal taking place at a temple in the rain, Lizzy escaping to her swing on a rope at Longbourn to find solace and meditate, Darcy having gorgeous blue eyes, and a scene towards the end that takes place in the early morning haze – someone admires the Joe Wright adaptation of Pride and Prejudice and I think her name is P. O. Dixon! I know some readers might be bothered by aspects and scenes being taken from a movie instead of the novel, but thought I it was a lovely tribute.
- The Intense Darcy and Elizabeth Scenes: Rain, thunderstorms, Lizzy afraid of lightning, finding herself in Darcy’s arms – *swoon!* I just love all these heart-stopping and heated moments Ms. Dixon includes in her novels. I think my favorite scene for Love Will Grow is Darcy’s proposal at the temple. Electric sparks flying and thick tension in the air!
WHAT I WASN’T TOO FOND OF:
- Darcy: I wouldn’t say I disliked Mr. Darcy (I don’t think that could ever happen!), but some aspects about his character didn’t sit well with me in his variation. The biggest is his reaction to Anne’s feelings and expectations, I felt it was cruel and unfeeling. Although he wrote an eloquent letter, I felt he should have paid her a visit in person. I wouldn’t expect Darcy to be so unkind, especially since he understands what it feels like to be disappointed in love. In addition, I sometimes was a little bothered by Darcy’s speech, which at times was very blunt and matter of fact – “What else can I do? I am in love with you, after all.” – page 148. It sort of felt like there was no passion or fervency behind his words.
- Fast Pacing: I enjoyed the plot and premise of this novel a lot, I just wish it progressed at a slower pace. I would have loved to seen more of the friendship between Anne and Elizabeth in Kent, have more time alone with both Darcy’s and Elizabeth’s private thoughts, and see fewer jumps in time. Since this is such a Darcy and Elizabeth centric novel, having more time to flesh out their relationship and character development felt needed.
I’m greatly enjoying all these unique scenarios and variants Ms. Dixon creates with Darcy and Elizabeth. It is amazing how diverse and inventive they all are – no two are alike! If you are looking for a short and sweet variation that doesn’t trespass into Darcy and Elizabeth’s bedroom, Love Will Grow is a book you should add to your reading list!