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 Responses to “Mr. Darcy’s Refuge – Abigail Reynolds”

  1.  

    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!

    •  

      Thank you, Michelle! πŸ™‚ Some of my favorite time travels would be MLS’s Another Place in Time and Jane Odiwe’s Searching for Captain Wentworth. πŸ™‚ Have you read those?

  2.  

    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!

  3.  

    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.

    •  

      Thanks for sharing some recs, Sheila! I’m tempted to try and watch Outlander now just to see what it is all about, I know I can’t fit it in to read any time soon. πŸ™

      •  

        No, since there are 8 books total and an additional novella I can’t imagine how you would fit it in. But I am hooked after reading the first book. None are included in kindle Unlimited but most are a reasonable price considering how long they are. You have your hands full responding to all of us….chuckle! Off for 1.5 days of babysitting.

      •  

        Meredith, I DO HOPE you get to read Gabaldon’s books someday. Diana Gabaldon’s book ‘Outlander’ actually led me to the Regency Romance genre in a very round-about way. She commented once that she styled her hero’s lanky physique and stride on M.C.Beaton’s Hamish MacBeth. I started reading Beaton’s MacBeth Scottish mystery series (completely unrelated to JAFF, or Regency!!) and loved them, and then when searching Amazon for more realized that she wrote a slew of Regency romps years and years ago. And I have read and loved scads of them. Now THOSE can be described as ‘sweet.’ Well, we all know how Amazon works, if you purchase or even browse a book, a product, a genre (oh for goodness sake quit sending me those embarrassing recommendations!!) :/ Anyway. Here’s to Regency Romance, hurray! And here’s to a series of books…..Outlander….that defy genre, and sometimes description, especially when you are trying to recommend them to someone else. I have never read any set of books that I loved more, her writing is so wonderful, when I have finished reading one of her books, I feel lost I don’t want to leave that world she has created. And when I say ‘world she has created,’ I don’t mean a fantasy world, it’s historical fiction not fantasy, except the time travel thing. I am in absolute awe of her research, her beloved characters, plot development.. Her books are huge but never too long. The first book, Outlander was written over 20 years ago and she has gotten better and better. But that first one is a gem of the first water. I’ve read it at least five times, and I hope the STARZ show will bring more people to read her books. She deserves every bit of praise she gets. And Herself’s books can be described as ‘spicy.’ πŸ™‚

        •  

          Michelle, I only heard of the Outlander books b/c someone on one of these blogs mentioned it AFTER STARZ starting sending me e-mails. (I get their e-mails due to signing up for notices after I began watching DaVinci’s Demons on STARZ.) And on top of that they sent me the first episode free. SO I am now hooked and gave a copy of the first book to my daughter. Jamie is so swoon worthy! (And he doesn’t need to wear a wet shirt.)

  4.  

    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.

  5.  

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

  6.  

    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.

    •  

      I can easily see that happening. πŸ™‚ My favorite still remains Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy: The Last Man in the World, but I truly love them all. So glad she is so prolific!!

      •  

        Has anyone read Rule of Reason? It is a clean version of Impulse and Initiation with the same beginning but different after chapter 7. Amazon doesn’t even list it any more and, here, I wanted to post a review. Another very good book from her.

        •  

          Thanks, Sheila! The story isn’t for sale at any online bookseller because of the overlap with Impulse & Initiative/To Conquer Mr. Darcy. For anyone who is interested in it, The Rule of Reason is available for free or for a voluntary donation in PDF format at https://gumroad.com/l/WPRe. Although Gumroad provides a blank for a credit card number, if you put $0 in as the price, that blank will disappear.

          •  

            And now I know to use “sweet” and/or “spicy”….learned something new for today.

          •  

            I am so glad to know this. For some unknown reason I don’t recall ever reading this or realizing it was there.

  7.  

    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/

  8.  

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

    •  

      LOL! I don’t mind him being a thorn in Mr. Darcy’s side or a little bit difficult to deal with, I just didn’t like that he felt a little inconsistent in regards to his behavior to Colonel Fitzwilliam.

      •  

        Wait til you read Maria Grace’s Wholly Unconnected to Me (it’s a work in progress online right now so it may be awhile before it’s published) – Mr Bennet is just awful! Those of us reading it are enjoying disliking him and wishing bad things to happen to him.

  9.  

    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 that means no heavy petting near the hilltops.

    •  

      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

      •  

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

        •  

          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.

        •  

          You can also search by the tag variation or use the sortable index under the review menu to see just all the variations I’ve reviewed. And in my reviews I’ll always use the tag “Mature Audiences” when there are scenes that are a little too amorous.

          http://austenesquereviews.com/reviews/reviews-sub-genre

          Two of my favorite variation authors that so far have not ventured into the bedroom are KaraLynne Mackrory and Kara Louise, if you haven’t tried their books yet – you definitely should. πŸ™‚

          •  

            Yes, excellent recommendations on “clean” authors. Ironically, it was Abigail Reynolds who recommended Kara Louise to me….years ago.

          •  

            There’s nothing ironic about my recommendations, Sheila! I make recommendations based on the quality of the writing, not on whether there are sex scenes included. πŸ˜‰

          •  

            I am sorry if I seemed to imply that was why you made those recommendations. They are certainly good authors no matter what and I have all your books also.

          •  

            I didn’t read it negatively, Sheila. Some people do divide the JAFF world into writers of spicy books vs writers of sweet books, but it’s artificial. In my view, we’re all writers first. I support all writers of JAFF, even the ones whose books offend me, and believe me, there are some!

            Sadly, we’ve lost good writers and many readers from the JAFF community because of a perceived atmosphere of intolerance coming from the many discussions that veer off into people announcing they don’t like books with sex in them. I don’t understand it myself; I don’t go to reviews of thrillers and tell them I don’t like books with violence. I just don’t read them. The JAFF readers who don’t like “Christian fiction” don’t seem to feel the need to announce it.

            Tastes differ, and nobody should have to read something they don’t like, but we’re all richer when there’s a diversity of books available. Even violent thrillers!

          •  

            Thank you for your clarification.

    •  

      Hi Moby’s! Abigail Reynolds usually portrays D&E with strong emotions and passions, but not all her books take us to the bedroom and some have very or brief scenes when they do. This one had just two scenes and as Ceri mentioned below there are some that are on the more chaste side, I know What Would Mr. Darcy Do? (originally From Lambton to Longbourn) is also sex-free, but there are is a good bit of kissing.

      •  

        Thanks for the recommendations, I will have to look into KaraLynne Mackrory and Kara Louise. So far the best variation I have found was Unequal Affections by Lara S. Ormiston which I have read twice. I don’t believe you have reviewed it yet but I would like to find more like it.

  10.  

    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 colonel’s father was despicable. I also loved the child.

    •  

      I don’t think those kind of surprise are pleasant ones for the reader soI try to make sure they know exactly what to expect in the regard before purchasing. There are plenty of both – books that have mature audience scenes and those books that do not – to keep all readers happy. πŸ™‚

  11.  

    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!

    •  

      LOL! It’s how I thought of it. Yes, that scene was adorable, I loved that that also returned later in the novel – kind of like an inside joke between them. So cute!

  12.  

    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.

  13.  

    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 so if you prefer to avoid sex scenes in general, or just pre-marital ones it is hard to tell which books you need to avoid. My very favourite Abigail Reynolds book has no sex scenes at all, ‘Mr Darcy’s Obsession’, and another with no sex scenes is ‘Mr Darcy’s Noble Connections’. This one only has a sex scene at the end which would be easy to skip over.

    •  

      I agree with you about Mr. Bennet, I’m okay if he is a bad-guy or antagonist. But it wasn’t fair how he was such an obstruction to D&E’s happiness and didn’t really do the same for Colonel Fitzwilliam.

      Great recommendations for AR books that don’t go into the bedroom! Thanks for sharing!

  14.  

    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.

    •  

      I thought it was very sweet how everything worked out for those characters. Yes, very true! Darcy was adorable in the Journey! Yes, swoon indeed! Thank you for stopping by and sharing your thoughts!

  15.  

    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”.

  16.  

    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!

    •  

      It was a very unique storyline for him and I really enjoyed the new insight to his feelings. I do believe their is some resentment and dissatisfaction hiding behind his cheerful ways.

  17.  

    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 one is offended. I hope some day those will catch on in the JAFF world as well.

    •  

      Hi Abigail! It has been forever since I bought this book (read: Decauter Book Festival!) so happy I finally was able to read it! And with so many months of anticipation and excitement, your lovely novel was everything I was hoping it would be! Loved it!

      I actually didn’t know about the terminology and the implications! Thank you for sharing! That does make a lot of sense though and I can understand how that would be upsetting for authors. I would desperately love to find a relevant etiquette guide on reviewing somewhere! Something to help me make sure I mind all my p’s and q’s! I used to use the term “chick-lit” to describe some books when I started writing reviews, but then I learned that that phrase some concerned it demeaning and unfavorable.

      •  

        Keep up the good work. Most of us would not know these terms from “the romance community”.

        •  

          That’s a real issue since so much of the JAFF community isn’t involved with RWA. I’d love to see more JAFF writers attending RWA conferences because there’s so much to learn there, not just about controversies but also writing technique, info about publicity, legal issues, critiquing and networking with other authors. I’m a better writer because of the RWA, and I learned a lot about publishing.

          That said, I can also understand why people are reluctant to go, having been dragged kicking and screaming by my publisher the first time I went, only to discover that everyone who had been telling me for years to join RWA was right. *headthump*

      •  

        I worry more about offending readers who like spicy books than writers, who have to become somewhat inured to these things, along with being told we’re just trying to make a buck off JA’s name or that we’re writing JAFF because we don’t know how to make up our own characters. It’s hard to keep track of everything, though. At one point some people started to use the term ‘sexy’ instead of ‘spicy’, and that offended readers and writers of sweet romances because it implied they weren’t sexy.

        Thanks again for the review, Meredith!

  18.  

    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 who isn’t particularly bothered as to whether we go into the bedroom (or elsewhere) with ODC. So much of their relationship in the original wouldn’t have been considered “proper”, and I’ve always imagined that theirs would be a deeply passionate relationship once they’d come to an understanding, that it doesn’t surprise or bother me when things get a little “out of hand”.

    One time travel book that hasn’t been mentioned so far is another of Jane Odiwe’s – Project Darcy, which I was lucky enough to win in a giveaway. It was my first “time travel” variation and as a sci-fi geek as well, it ticked two very large boxes for me.

    Monica P – thanks for the mention of Merediths’s guide and thanks to Meredith for compiling it. What a task! It makes a very good TBR list. I’ll have to see how many I can tick off. Thanks also for the tags regarding content. The “spicy” doesn’t bother me as I’ve said, and I enjoy the “sweet” as well, but it’s nice to know what to expect.

    Moby’s mentioned Unequal Affections – that’s audiobook I’m listening to for my commute at the moment and I’m about halfway through it. I’ve not read/listened to a variation of this particular type before so I’m intrigued to see how the story unfolds.

    •  

      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.

      •  

        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.”

  19.  

    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˜‰

    •  

      Yes! I am the same as you, Maria! Such fun to see authors explore these intense and unexpected scenarios. Lizzy and Darcy both are so sweet with poor Jenny, really enjoyed her storyline!

  20.  

    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 200 years later. This is my main criteria for “what if.” I don’t like trivializing the characters. I am more tolerant of the “What If” circumstances.
    I was saddened by Mr Bennett’s actions, but it did explain a lot of his character. I didn’t have a problem with his different treatment of Darcy and Colonel Fitzwilliam, because of the differences in personalities and the circumstances of their encounters. The Colonel forced Mr B to see him by appearing in uniform and delivering “official” letters.
    Also, I felt Lizzy’s reputation was in jeopardy, due to all I’ve read about the period and her class. As well as the circumstances of being alone, they were seen by people who knew Darcy at least when going for supplies.
    Please keep writing Abigail!! I love your books!

  21.  

    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, I can’t remember how I became acquainted with your website, but I am so glad I have. You are to be commended for the quality of the content here….the authors interviews are so interesting and fun…..the fan interviews are quite interesting too….and I always appreciate YOUR reviews. I just eat up author’s sharing about their works, and working habits and experiences writing and publishing.

    I don’t have too much to contribute to the spicy/sweet discussion that hasn’t been said before. I’ve read and enjoyed both. I completely understand those people who are uncomfortable with explicit sex in their JAFF reading, and I have read some that I thought pretty over the top in that regard. In those cases I felt they were little more than porn and would never have attracted me unless the books were purportedly about Elizabeth and Darcy and had their scenes at Permberley. But I also read reviews, and descriptions and ratings so I know what to expect. Why criticize so vehemently about a book that is clearly labeled a ‘VARIATION,’ or a ‘What-IF?’ In Austen’s P&P, Darcy’s only chance to actually woo so-to-speak comes when she visits Pemberley with the Gardiners. He is desperate to show her he really is a gentleman. Any further getting-to-know-each-other was abruptly interrupted by ‘You Know Who.’ So, in today’s What-Ifs Darcy often gets his chance to woo Elizabeth. We know they love each other. He is smoldering, she is spirited. Come on!!! I have reread P&P many times, and her other works as well, but I don’t like reading a JAFF work that is only just a retelling, what would be the point? Even with a continuation, we don’t know what Jane Austen would have had the characters be after marrying each other. I’m glad she left Elizabeth and Darcy’s lives after marrying up to our imagination. She wrote for her early 1800’s audience, I don’t mind reading variations for the 2014 audience, as long as it’s not ‘Elizabeth’s 50 Shades of Gray.’

  22.  

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

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