Aug 062014
 

Mr. Darcy's RefugeWhat if Mr. Darcy Had to Spend the Night at Hunsford Parsonage?

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Source: Purchased

TYPE OF AUSTENESQUE NOVEL: Pride and Prejudice Variation

TIME FRAME: Begins with the night of Darcy’s proposal at Hunsford Parsonage

MAIN CHARACTERS: Elizabeth Bennet, Mr. Darcy, Colonel Fitzwilliam, Mr. Bennet, Jane Bennet, Little Jenny, Lord Matlock, Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner

SCENARIO: What if, on the night Darcy went to propose to Elizabeth at Hunsford Parsonage, there were terrible rain storms and the water levels rising at an alarming rate through the village? What if in the midst of giving her refusal, Elizabeth is interrupted by dozens of villagers knocking on the parsonage doors seeking shelter from the floods? What if Darcy, steps into β€œMaster of Pemberley Mode” and remained at Hunsford Parsonage to protect and care for all the villagers and inhabitants of Hunsford, including Elizabeth Bennet?

WHAT I LOVED:

  • Restricted Circumstances: I love it when authors place Darcy and Elizabeth in which they are constrained of either company or mobility and are forced into a situation that is atypical and unique. It is interesting to see how different their relationship develops in these circumstances. How Elizabeth often sees Darcy in a new light and how with just a few conversations and observations Darcy’s true character is revealed for her.
  • Liberating Circumstances: In addition, when Darcy and Elizabeth are placed in situations beyond their control, sometimes there is the need for them to bend or break the rules of propriety a little. (It is not their fault there is no chaperones around…) I love seeing them do things like ride together on a single horse and talk privately outside under the stars! *le sigh* πŸ˜‰
  • New Insight for Mr. Bennet: In this variation we learn a very plausible reason for Mr. Bennet’s disinclination for society and preference to stay at home rather than travel to London. I thought this development of Mr. Bennet’s character to be quite fascinating and thought-provoking. It is amazing how experiences and people from our childhood can greatly affect who we are as an adult.
  • New Path for Colonel Fitzwilliam: This storyline may be a bit controversial with readers, but I quite enjoyed our glimpse into the our dear colonel’s head and heart. His resentment for being a dependent second son comes out a little and we see that he is perhaps a little jealous of Darcy and all he has. But we also witness Colonel Fitzwilliam show great care for Darcy and protect and defend him against his tyrannical father. I don’t want to give anything away, but I’ll just say that I really enjoyed how Colonel Fitzwilliam found his way to happiness, he deserves it!
  • Jenny and Her Hero: I always love it when there is an adorable child in the story and Darcy interacts with them. Jenny, was quite a little dear and I took great pleasure in following her story and seeing her exchanges with her rescuer! I love how she came back in the end too!

WHAT I WASN’T TOO FOND OF:

  • Some Niggling Thoughts: Sometimes you have those quibbles or questions that you just can’t ignore. Such as, was Elizabeth’s reputation really in danger? (It didn’t seem like it.) And why was Mr. Bennet so unreasonable to Darcy, but not nearly so to Colonel Fitzwilliam? (who he has an even greater reason to dislike and mistrust!) However, these were very minor quibbles that didn’t deter my enjoyment of the story very much.

WARNING: A somewhat explicit wedding night scene takes place in the last ten pages of this tale (love how irresponsible Darcy was!), and Darcy and Elizabeth enjoy a brief but sensuous encounter sixty pages before that. Recommended for Mature Audiences

CONCLUSION:

Inventive scenarios, insightful character development, and intense emotion – this is what I’ve come to expect every time I open a novel by Abigail Reynolds. I find her prose to be wonderfully engrossing and I delight in exploring the unique and imaginative ways she brings Darcy and Elizabeth together time and time again!

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69 Comments on "Mr. Darcy’s Refuge – Abigail Reynolds"

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Michelle

Hi Meredith

IAnother great review and I agree with you having also read this book. I am in the middle of reading Becoming Elizabeth Darcy by MLS and loving it. I do not like modern versions or vampire versions but that is just my personal preference but I do like time travel. Can you recommend any other time travel books that you have read which you think I might like? Thank you!

Michelle

Sorry also forgot to add that I love all Ms. Reynolds’ books and I have read them all so eagerly awaiting any new ones she has in the pipeline to be published!

Sheila L. M.

OH, I agree Michelle – I have all of Abigail’s books in paperback and have a few on kindle. Plus have read them all more than once. Time travel: Have you read Sally Smith O’Rourke’s The Man Who Loved Jane Austen and Yours Affectionately, Jane Austen? And of soaring popularity outside this genre is OUTLANDER (over 4800 reviews) which STARZ TV channel is beginning a series on this coming Saturday. There are 8 books in that series and I have only read the first one but am so HOOKED! MA audiences only.

Sheila L. M.

Oh, Plus: Accidentally Yours (Yours by Design Book 1) and Sincerely Yours (Book 2) by Robin Helm – totally clean, Christian Romance, Time-Travel in JAFF genre. BUT be warned that the third book in the series is not due out until January.

Amanda Roe

Ugh! Why must you make me want to spend MORE money on books! I must have this.

Tresha

This was the first Abigail Reynolds book I read and was hooked from then on. This book is my favorite of hers. Love all her books anxiously waiting more from her.

Sheila L. M.

If you want time travel there is the DVD, Lost in Austen. And did you know that on Abigail’s web page there are several free reads? http[colon]//www.pemberleyvariations[dot]com/free-stories/

Monica P

I loved this one, too, though I remember thinking Mr Bennet was a big butthead. lol

Moby's!
I might give this one a try, but I just don’t know. My first go at one of Abigail Reynolds variations (not this book) was also my first foray into P&P variations…and I was a bit surprised at all the kissing, followed by more kissing. Then…there was some kissing followed by Mr. Darcy feeling up Elizabeth behind some trees or bushes. I was seriously like ‘WTF?!?. I just wish I were aware of more quality variations that were truer to the original. I’m not a prude but I do prefer to have the characters be true to the original and… Read more »
Monica P

I would say don’t give up! There are SO many different styles and genres of P&P fiction. Have you seen Meredith’s Comprehensive Guide to Austenesque? She has all the titles broken down by type of variation, mature rating, review rating, etc.

http://austenesquereviews.com/a-comprehensive-guide-to-austenesque-novels/by-jane-austen-novel

Moby's!

Thanks for the reply, I did not know about the comprehensive guide. Thanks again!

Sheila L. M.

I didn’t know about the guide, either and so I just clicked on it and then clicked on all the P&P variations – UNBELIEVABLE! Knew that there were a lot but this is just awesome.

Suzan
I enjoyed the premise of this book very much. I have all Abigail’s books but I pretty much agree with moby’s comments. I really do prefer the clean versions which is why I love Meredith’s reviews. She always mentions if there is a mature audience section and she and I discussed that lots when she started her blog. I think it’s helpful to know these things before one buys or rents a book. After a while you just know which authors will have these episodes or worse and which usually do not. The author truly did make us feel the… Read more »
Joana Starnes

I read Mr Darcy’s Refuge a while ago, and loved the way Darcy went into ‘Master of Pemberley’-mode (great way to put it, BTW πŸ˜‰ ) and Elizabeth gets to see pretty early on that there’s so much more to him that meets the eye. I found the ‘throwing pebbles in the water’ scene utterly adorable, and loved Col Fitzwilliam and that he got his happy ever after!

Michelle

Hi Everyone

Thanks for your recommendations of time travel books Meredith and Sheila – I checked out the website yesterday and I have just ordered MLS Another Place in Time and Sheila thanks for your recommendations too, I will look into that.

Sheila L. M.

You’re welcome. Hope you enjoy them.

Ceri
I love this one! Though I wasn’t happy with Mr Bennet’s silly prejudices and inconsistencies, and I didn’t like a particular instance of the Colonel’s behaviour one bit! I thought he was a little flaky. I know just what Moby’s means though, my first read of an Abigail Reynold’s book gave me a shock, I think it might have been the one that Moby’s refers to, ‘By Force of Instinct’. The tricky thing is with Abigail Reynolds books is that some of her books have no sex scenes and some do, and some of those will be pre-marital sex and… Read more »
Tamara H

oh yes the Colonel HEA is great!! I disliked Mr Bennet in this and Lord Matlock of course. I agree I love the forced scenarios (one of my favs The journey, although Darcy volunteered for that one). Always love new characters and Jenny was sweet. Shared horse ride so intense, swoon loved it! Great review as always.

Carole in Canada

This is my next book to read so the review is timely for me. I have most of Abigail’s books and I agree that she can pack a very strong emotional punch into her stories. The first one of hers I read was “The Man Who Loved Pride and Prejudice”. I now have to get and read “Morning Light”.

Anna (Diary of an Eccentric)

Glad to see you enjoyed this one. I bought it ages ago and really need to make time to read it. You’ve made me especially curious about Colonel Fitzwilliam!

abigailreynolds
Thanks for the lovely review, Meredith. I’m so glad you enjoyed the book, and I appreciate that you clarified for readers about the sex scenes but avoided using the term “clean.” As you probably know, the romance community stopped using it years ago because of the negative implications about readers who do enjoy spicier books and how divisive it was in the community. I really like the terms they chose instead, “sweet” for books without sex scenes and “spicy” for books with sex scenes. Now everyone knows what they’ll get in a sweet Regency vs a spicy Regency, and no… Read more »
Anji
I don’t have any of Abigail Reynolds’ books on paper or as ebooks, but I do have all of them as audiobooks, including the Wood’s Hole titles. My Audible subscription took a heavy hit when I discovered that all of her books were available! Mr. Darcy’s Refuge is one of my favourites, I think. Like you, Meredith, I enjoy the scenario of Darcy and Elizabeth being constrained by circumstances and having to work out their relationship to get through the situation. The dear Colonel is very good value in this and I love his HEA. I’m one of the group… Read more »
abigailreynolds

You bring up a good point, Anji. When we compare Elizabeth and Darcy’s behavior to modern times, it’ looks very proper, but readers in 1812 would have seen them as flouting all the rules. I wrote a post on that a few years ago at http://thesecretunderstandingofthehearts.blogspot.com/2011/12/guestpost-giveaway-abigail-reynolds.html. It’s the same issue as the kiss just after the 2nd proposal. Modern readers don’t recognize that JA is saying Darcy kissed her when she says he expressed himself as warmly and sensibly as a man violently in love can be expected to do, but Regency-era readers would recognize that.

Anji

Thanks for the link to that post, Abigail. It was a very interesting read.

I’m also glad that I wasn’t mistaken in thinking that Darcy had kissed Elizabeth after the second proposal. Ever since my teens, I’ve always assumed that it was what Jane Austen meant by “and he expressed himself on the occasion as sensibly and as warmly as a man violently in love can be supposed to do.”

Maria

Oh, my! This book sounds so beautiful! I love it when Darcy and Elizabeth find themselves forced to be together!! And Darcy interacting with a child? Adorable! Thank you, Meredith, for your lovely review. I’ll definitely add it to my list! πŸ˜‰

Catherine Commons
I am a big Abigail Reynolds fan!! The first book I read was “To Conquer Mr Darcy.” From Meredith’s review, I learned she had published other books under different names, so I set out to get her other books. I was able to get hard copies of all her previous books and anxiously awaited new publications. I have ordered and read her new books as soon as I could get them. I think she invented the “What If” genre. In my opinions, she stays true to the characters created by JA, but with realistic actions and thoughts due to viewing… Read more »
Michelle H.
I am so late to the game here, that my comments will mostly be just for you Meredith. When I first read your review, I immediately went to Amazon to check out this Abigail Reynolds book I thought I’d missed. I had ALREADY purchased it. Thinking back I realized I must’ve taken advantage of a sale but was deeply involved in another book at the time. Anyway, I read it and of course it is wonderful as all of Ms Reynolds’ works. She is tops in my JAFF favorites. This one I wanted to start reading again right away! Meredith,… Read more »
Michelle H.

Oh dear, can I go back and spell check?? Eeeek.

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