Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Source: Gift from Mom! 🙂
TYPE OF AUSTENESQUE NOVEL: Variation
TIME FRAME: Darcy’s Proposal at Hunsford through early June + epilogue
CHARACTERS: A very Darcy and Elizabeth centric story, but all our old friends make an appearance
SYNOPSIS: What if Lizzy didn’t say no? What if, after hearing Darcy’s insulting proposal, she focused on his surprisingly ardent love and passion instead of her previous judgments and impressions about him? What if, Lizzy felt Mr. Darcy’s marriage proposal was too advantageous (for both her and her family) to hold up against her dream of marrying for love?
WHAT I LOVED:
- To Win Her Heart: Elizabeth is honest with Darcy at his proposal, she admits to having no affection or love for him. And Darcy is determined to change that…but the poor man has the cards stacked against him… He doesn’t know Elizabeth’s feelings, he doesn’t know that she despises him, is offended by his manners, or holds him at fault for breaking up Bingley and Jane and ruining Mr. Wickham’s future. Seeing Darcy try so desperately to win Elizabeth’s love made my heart melt. Observing his confidence and perseverance diminish into bleak and despairing awareness throughout their courtship was heart-wrenching and intense. I enjoyed seeing his honesty when discussing his decision and their aftereffects with Bingley.
- Conceal and Avoid: While Elizabeth is honest about her lack of affection for Darcy, she remains mum about the very important offenses she holds against him. Even though she realizes her former opinion of Darcy must be wrong, she makes a conscious effort to not bring up Bingley, Wickham, or her initial dislike. At first I wasn’t so sure this disguise and falsity were true to Elizabeth’s character make-up, I thought for sure she would bring up her issues and speak her true mind in any of her private conversations with Darcy. But at the same time, I can understand how Elizabeth, in light of keeping things amicable and pleasant with her complicated and not-so-pleasant fiancee, would want to avoid more tension and skirt around all hot-button issues.
- It’s Going To Be a Bumpy Ride!: Once engaged, Darcy and Elizabeth embark on a month-long courtship at Longbourn. With no refusal and no letter, their courtship hits a lot of bumps in the road! As a reader, we knew what the bumps would be, but we didn’t know how and when they would come. I loved seeing their relationship witness develop slowly on page. Each bump would reluctantly be addressed, canvassed, and smoothed out one at a time. And to add even more drama, all these delicate issues were being discussed around the Bennets with limited privacy and freedom! Oh boy! 😉
- Characterization: I really felt the essence of Jane Austen’s original characters with this variation. Ms. Ormiston beautifully and skillfully captured Lizzy’s arch and playful manner towards Darcy, Darcy’s aloof and disdainful manner towards the Bennet, and Darcy’s oblivious cluelessness about Lizzy’s feelings. When it came to a character’s conversation, tone, and manners, it always felt spot on in this novel.
WHAT I WASN’T TOO FOND OF:
- Pacing: Truly a minor complaint. But at some points the pacing did feel too slow and some scenes too drawn out. It did get better at the end though!
Turbulent emotions, evocative prose, and reverent characterization – Unequal Affections is a Pride and Prejudice variation not to be missed! If you are riveted to love stories fraught with complications, changing affections, and undying hope, you will love this variation! I highly recommend!