Nov 072014
 

Remember the PastTrust and Responsibility

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Source: Review Copy from Author

In her latest retelling of Pride and Prejudice, author Maria Grace gives readers a refreshingly different Darcy and Elizabeth tale to enjoy. Similar to Ms. Grace’s Given Good Principles series, Remember the Past does not follow the Pride and Prejudice canon – there are altered personalities, new characters, different situations, and less focus on pride, prejudice, and first impressions. These novels are perfect for readers who want something that stands out and is dissimilar to many of the JAFF novels out there. But this novel may not be the favorite of readers who don’t like it when much license is taken with Jane Austen’s characters and plots.

The premise for Remember the Past is wholly unique – Mr. Bennet is actually Admiral Bennet, a widower with a successful career in the navy, substantial wealth, and the father of two daughters and two younger sons. The Bennet family purchased an estate in Derbyshire and are neighbors with those in residence at Pemberley – which includes a widowed Mr. Darcy, his mother-in-law Lady Catherine, Colonel Fitzwilliam, Georgiana, and Darcy’s two young sons. These two families begin to form fast and strong friendships, and more than one romantic attachment begins to blossom. However, when Darcy’s childhood friend George Wickham is hired as steward for Mr. Bennet’s estate these budding relationships are put to the test…

As stated above, there are quite a few differences with characters and their traits with this Pride and Prejudice retelling. Even though this made some of these characters less recognizable, I did enjoy seeing these unique changes. Instead of being negligent and sarcastic, Admiral Bennet is a blustery and stalwart navy-man who runs his household with military precision. His daughters have connections, dowries, and know how to protect themselves with knifes or swords. And probably the most striking alteration is with Lady Catherine, who is strong-willed but far more loving, kind, and maternal than Jane Austen’s Lady C by far.

One of my favorite elements of the story were the new original characters Maria Grace crafted. I loved the four young boys. Oh, how I love to see Darcy and Elizabeth interact with children. (It melts my heart! :)) I enjoyed witnessing several lovely and tender moments with these young children and our dear couple. I also greatly enjoyed Piper, Admiral Bennet’s man who is gruff and menacing on the outside, but loyal, dependable, and caring inside, he is such an integral part of the Bennet family.

My main issue with this novel and the reason it is not receiving a higher rating is because I felt it was too fast-paced and a little underdeveloped. Yes, fast pacing is a good thing in a story – it means things are exciting and riveting – but if the story proceeds at too quick a pace it can diminish development. And that’s what I felt in this case – Darcy conquered his scruples quickly, the couples in love reached understandings easily, and any obstacles in their path were swiftly overcome. I would have loved to explore deeper into these characters and feel more emotional connection to them. Learning more about their pasts would have helped I think, almost each character has past experiences that impacted their lives. Seeing some flashbacks of these experiences and internal introspection would have aided in making the characters more complex and dimensional.

Imaginative, distinct, and romantic – Remember the Past is a wonderful choice for readers who have read dozens and maybe even hundreds of Pride and Prejudice inspired novels and is looking for something new. 🙂 As always, I love seeing how Maria Grace plays with and creatively alters these beloved characters and their stories! However, my favorites of hers remain the first two books in the Given Good Principles series. 🙂

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  20 Responses to “Remember the Past – Maria Grace”

  1.  

    I read this as a WIP and it is on my Wish List. I really liked the new Admiral Bennet and Lady C. I guess I am one of those who has read so many P&P variations that I really like a “different” story with the same characters. Just since January I have posted over 150 reviews and most of them are JAFF, and most of those are variations on P&P, so you might understand that I like that the characters and events in this story do not follow canon. I recommend it also. Thank you for the review. As always very thorough and honest.

    •  

      I enjoyed the character deviations too – especially Admiral Bennet. 😉 I liked him as a navy-man a lot!

      That’s amazing, Sheila! Yes, I can imagine with reading so many similarly charactered stories it might get challenging to tell them apart from one another. You wouldn’t have that trouble with this one.

  2.  

    I always enjoy Maria Grace’s writings. Given Good Principles is a favorite with me.

  3.  

    I always enjoy Maria Grace’s stories, too. I think she has a wonderful understanding of human nature. This is not my favorite among her novels but I did enjoy reading it as a WIP – particularly the scenes with the boys; they were my favorite and I would love to have more moments with them.

  4.  

    I read parts of this as a serial so I look forward to reading it as a whole story. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Meredith.

  5.  

    I too have this on my wishlist but haven’t read it as a WIP. I have read some excerpts so I am interested in reading it in the whole. My favourite of her ‘Given Good Principles’ is Kitty’s story! Thanks for the review Meredith.

  6.  

    Thanks for the honest review, Meredith! I do love original characters. Looking forward to reading how Darcy and Lizzy interact with the little boys. 🙂

  7.  

    All the differences in the story seem intriguing, especially the fact that Darcy was married, even if I confess I prefer a strong and not loving lady Catherine.

  8.  

    I have the given good principles box set, have yet to read it but now you’ve said the first two you like I can’t wait! Back to the review great breakdown of the story, I have this book also so look forward to the parts you mentioned with the kids, ( you know I love Ben) 🙂

  9.  

    I loved it. I liked that it was a different setting and the characters a bit different. Sometimes one just needs a change of pace from the usual P & P. I loved the two little boys especially. I bought this from Amazon and I have no qualms about the purchase. I am sure I will read this one many times. I really enjoy this authors other works as well.

  10.  

    I really enjoyed this variation. It was different enough and quite novel that the pace and lack of depth didn’t bother me. I think skimming over some of the past pain to move on to a better future is a good read some days. There are just times when the depth of angst in some stories is too much for me to handle that day and I need something much lighter and this is one of those books for me. I loved the boys, I think the moment between one of them and Darcy at a window will stay with me for awhile. =D

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