Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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 “Master 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* 😉
- 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
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!