May 062015
 

APC+FC+Final+030515+SMHeart-wrenching and Poignant!

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Source: Review Copy from Publisherr

TYPE OF AUSTENESQUE NOVEL: Variation

TIME FRAME: Begins with Lady Catherine’s visit to Elizabeth at Longbourn

MAIN CHARACTERS: Elizabeth Bennet, Fitzwilliam Darcy, Georgiana Darcy, Lady Catherine, Mr. Bennet, Mr. Gardiner, Mrs. Gardiner, Colonel Fitzwilliam, and others

WHY I WANTED TO READ THIS NOVEL:

WHAT I LOVED:

  • The Brave Premise: When I first read the synopsis for A Peculiar Connection, I must admit I felt hesitant – such a divergence, such a shocking revelation, is it going too far? But when I remembered how well Jan Hahn handled a daring premise before, I knew that even though this plot would be very bold and different, it would also be executed thoughtfully and skillfully. I was not wrong. The proposed idea of Darcy and Elizabeth having a closer familial connection was not unbelievable and even though it is such a strong departure from Jane Austen’s original plot, Jan Hahn did a marvelous job tying in as many connections as possible.
  • Elizabeth Explains it All: This story is told solely from Lizzy’s point-of-view and readers are privy to every thought and feeling she experiences. Lizzy goes through a tumult of emotions in this variation, Lady Catherine drops a sizable bombshell on her that destroys her happiness and all her newly realized dreams for her future. Not to mention alters her views about herself and her past. These new realities are difficult for Elizabeth to accept, and I thought the portrayal of her struggle, despondency, and anger to be very realistic and believable in such a situation. While so many variations show how Darcy suffers internally with his feelings and battles his demons, this book revealingly highlights Elizabeth’s inner turmoil and conflict.
  • Exploring History and Mystery: With just scraps of clues and hardly any reliable source alive that can shed light on what happened 20 years ago, Darcy and Elizabeth embark on a mission to find answers. Looking through attics, journals, paintings, and letters they try to piece together the Darcy family history and uncover the mystery surrounding Elizabeth’s birth. I loved the intrigue, the hunt for answers, the slow unraveling of truth. In addition, I loved the focus on the Darcy family ancestry, the journeys to distant locales, and the integration of important religious issues of the day.
  • Torturous Yet Tender: Until Darcy and Elizabeth can successfully and irrevocably disprove Lady Catherine’s allegations, their relationship is fraught with tension, denial, and guilt. While each suspects the other may have strong feelings, they both must suppress them because to express them would be unthinkable. I loved the dichotomous balance of seeing Darcy and Elizabeth grow closer to each other and then push away, witnessing their increasing tenderness and affection, yet at the same time seeing them overwhelmed with despair and yearning. If you worry that this story will be too dark and angsty, don’t fear, there are plenty scenes of sweetness and romance to balance it all out!

WHAT I WASN’T TOO FOND OF:

  • Hmmm. Don’t really have anything I wasn’t fond of… If anything, I would have loved to learn more about Darcy’s feelings and thoughts after Lady Catherine dropped her bomb, but with a first person POV that probably wasn’t possible.

CONCLUSION:

Jan Hahn once again pushes the envelope and fearlessly takes on a most challenging and almost inconceivable plot with her latest variation, A Peculiar Connection. Her skilled story-telling and thoughtful, emotive prose are definitely something to marvel and admire! A thoroughly poignant, heart-wrenching, and memorable tale! I highly recommend!

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  26 Responses to “A Peculiar Connection – Jan Hahn”

  1.  

    This was an outstanding variation. I fully support the 5 star rating and highly recommend.

  2.  

    Hi Meredith, this sounds really good but frightened to read it because of the angst and heart wrenching story line. I do enjoy some angst but heart wrenching might be too much for me!!! However the review is brilliant.

  3.  

    Have my copy! It is one of the very next ones I read! Jan always delivers wonderful stories and is one of the best writers out there! Can’t wait to read it after this review. Congrats on its success!

  4.  

    As I have been so lucky to win “A peculiar connection”, I have started reading the first lines of your review but, I have obliged myself to stop because I want this novel to be a total surprise! LOL, and, it´s an irresistible temptation!. What I most like is that you have put 5 points to the story!! WOW. It must be very thrilling! Thanks for the suggestion of the others Jan Hahn´s titles 🙂

  5.  

    I read this just after it was published – could not put it down. It is one of those that I titled “MUST READ”! There are many good, even excellent stories, but this one was so unique and handled so beautifully that I would say to all, “Please read this book”. It will stay in your memory and is one that I will read again and again. Excellent review, Meredith.

    •  

      I love your entreaty, Sheila! Very true about this book being handled so beautifully and staying in your memory! Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  6.  

    I agree with Michelle Hall, that ‘heart wrenching’ can be just too intense an experience. BUT I also agree with colleen that this is an outstanding variation. I also gave it 5 stars in my Amazon review. There is another comment from you, Meredith, that I agreed with. Not seeing more of the feelings of the other characters which is of course very difficult when only told through Elizabeth’s view. I suffered for Mr. Bennet, frankly. I thought it was agonizing to watch the brief glimpses of his sadness when he had lost, perhaps permanently, the love of his favorite daughter.

    When you do feel up to the experience, Michelle, I assure you that you will find a beautifully written, unique, and moving story. Completely worth the box of tissues.

    This was my first Jan Hahn reading experience and moved all of her other books up to the top of my TBR list. Very lovely writing.

    •  

      So glad to hear your praise for this novel, Michelle! It is much deserved! 🙂 I agree with you about Mr. Bennet…it was agonizing to see (perfect word!)

      I can’t wait to hear what you think of Jan Hahn’s other novels!

  7.  

    I couldn’t agree more. Yes, it was hard to read in some spots as I felt the disappointment most acutely. Yet, I also felt the joy, love, and tenderness. At the end, I was so happy I had read it and will read it again.

    Terrific review, Meredith.

  8.  

    Such an intriguing plot! Fantastic review, Meredith! 😉

  9.  

    I am reading this now (on Chapter 10) and I am loving it so far. The author has done a great job making a seemingly crazy idea seem believable. There is definitely some angst but it isn’t over the top. Great review Meredith!

  10.  

    I thought she was brave to go there with her story, but it turned out really good. I was so emotional with this one.

  11.  

    One of the best! And awesome review–spot on!

  12.  

    Wonderful!!! I can’t wait to read this one! I love Jan Hahn’s books and her poignant style!

  13.  

    Thank you, Meredith, for this exceptional review! When this book was published, I had serious misgivings about the response it would evoke, but I’ve been thrilled that most readers have accepted my treatment of a subject that could easily be misinterpreted. I’m truly thankful for all of the encouragement I’ve received.

    •  

      Thank you for a fascinating and wonderfully well-written tale, Jan! We are so fortunate you chose to tell it and publish such a brave and beautiful story! 🙂

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