Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Source: Gift from Mom 🙂
TYPE OF AUSTENESQUE NOVEL: Variation
TIME FRAME: Before the Netherfield Ball to ten months later + Epilogue
MAIN CHARACTERS: Elizabeth Bennet, Georgiana Darcy, Mr. Darcy, Colonel Fitzwilliam, Jane Bennet, Colonel Fitzwilliam, Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner
WHY I WANTED TO READ THIS NOVEL: The Houseguest came onto my radar back in 2013, when it was only published as an ebook and had loads of favorable of reviews on amazon. I’ve heard so many wonderful things about it and have wanted to read it for a long time. (So glad the author changed her mind about publishing a paperback! Thank you, Ms. Adams!) Variations are one of my favorite types of Austenesque novel and I thought the premise of Georgiana and Elizabeth meeting earlier in the novel an interesting one to explore.
WHAT I LOVED:
- Exploring Friendships: I loved seeing Georgiana and Elizabeth as friends! Georgiana has no hidden motives or agendas (she isn’t trying to set Darcy and Elizabeth up), she genuinely adores Elizabeth and is thrilled with her first experience of having a female her age around the house. Their giggles, secrets, and schemes together were so sweet to witness – loved their sisterly connection. 🙂 I also loved seeing the friendship that developed between Elizabeth and Darcy and Elizabeth and Colonel Fitzwilliam.
- A Gradual Growing Regard: Speaking of friendship, I loved how Elizabeth saw Darcy as a friend. Her introspection about her feelings and opinions of him was wonderful to witness – I truly felt the change in her heart take place on the page. I liked that it wasn’t an immediate change or a sudden realization; I enjoyed seeing her contemplate Mr. Darcy and observing the evolution of her feelings for him. Their interactions were adorable to witness, Darcy’s heart is so full of love, but he keeps it very much to himself. And seeing Elizabeth be sweet and friendly towards Mr. Darcy just made my heart melt. Loved the scenes where Elizabeth prepares Darcy some tea, their playing in the snow together, and when they both (at different times) came upon each other sleeping! So sweet!
- Lord Malcolm: A new contender for Elizabeth’s hand!! This suitor is handsome, wealthy, well-connected, and charming; and he succeeds in turning Elizabeth’s head a little. Especially since Darcy has lost her trust and she doesn’t believe he would ever condescend to marry someone of her inferior connections. I enjoyed the little bit of tension Lord Malcolm brought with him, he charmed Elizabeth and frustrated Darcy quite effectively! For a low-angst variation where Wickham, Lady Catherine, and Caroline Bingley don’t prove to be very big foils, Lord Malcolm provided the perfect amount of conflict and contention.
- Away from Home: This variation had such a unique feeling to it because most of the action takes place in London between the Netherfield Ball and Elizabeth’s visit to Kent. It was a refreshing change to see Elizabeth travel to London, stay with the Darcy’s, and be away from her family.
WHAT I WASN’T TOO FOND OF:
- Some Minor Quibbles: While this story was every bit as wonderful as I expected it to be, there was a moment or two that caused me to quirk up my brow. Such as, how did Georgiana being in Meryton the same time as Wickham not cause Darcy any anxiety? How come the Ramsgate incident was never spoken of between Darcy and Elizabeth? How could so many people like Colonel Fitzwilliam, Mrs. Gardiner, and Lady Catherine suspect Darcy’s feelings for Elizabeth, but Georgiana, who lived with both of them, have no clue? Regardless, these were very minor quibbles, and didn’t detract from my enjoyment of this lovely tale!
The Houseguest by Elizabeth Adams was definitely worth the wait, and well-deserving of all the praise it has received! An enchanting, sweet, and tender story written with skill, originality, and playful humor! Definitely one I would recommend!