Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Source: Review Copy from Author
What if, despite his need for an heiress with a large fortune, Colonel Fitzwilliam proposes to Elizabeth Bennet, unknowingly a day before Darcy intends to, and is accepted?
What if Darcy’s hesitation cost him his dearest desire and he must now witness the joyful and affectionate union of the woman he secretly loves to his closest male relation?
It would be unthinkable…wouldn’t it?
In a very courageous and compelling variation, Joana Starnes illustrates what happens when there is a greater impediment to Darcy’s and Elizabeth’s happily ever after than misinterpreted pride and misguided prejudice. And that impediment is affable and likable Colonel Fitzwilliam. Readers are placed in a quandary because our hearts tell us that Elizabeth can only marry Darcy, yet we like Colonel Fitzwilliam and see how happy Elizabeth is with him. Their romance isn’t one of contention and misunderstandings. Their courtship is one of joy and devotion; and with their lively personalities, congenial spirits, and similar inclinations, readers must admit – Fitz and Liz make sense. But how can this end happily? Even though we are Team Darcy all the way, we don’t want to see our dear colonel terrible hurt and unhappy…Ahh what are you doing to us, Joana Starnes?
In this variation Darcy does not take the easy way out – he does not hole up in Pemberley or travel abroad. He remains in town, visits with the Bingleys, invites them and Elizabeth Bennet to his home, and allows his sister to become friends with his cousin’s future bride. All the while Darcy attempts to keep his feelings secret, which sometimes makes him appear standoffish and disapproving. Elizabeth, after so much interaction with Darcy, catches glimmers of the kind, warm-hearted, and dependable man Darcy truly is, and begins to think better of him and draw him into a friendship which soon puts Darcy’s resolve and pledge to treat her as a sister to the test…
This variation, to the delight of many readers I’m sure, is very Darcy-centric! Ms. Starnes, with meticulous detail, outlines Darcy’s emotional journey as he attempts to move on and imagine a life without Elizabeth. The language is poignant and strikingly expressive; Mr. Darcy’s ardent love, intense yearning, and anguish is palpably felt in every speech, action, and description. *Sigh* beware readers, it will melt your heart! I think one of Joana Starnes’ greatest strengths as a writer is her ability to intuitively and perceptively describe a character’s emotions, particularly Mr. Darcy’s. The reader does more than just read and discover, they feel with understanding and depth exactly what the character is feeling – it is a more profound and empathetic connection. While I do love Darcy, and enjoy spending copious amounts of time in his head, I sometimes wish we saw a little more of the other two points of the triangle – Elizabeth and Colonel Fitzwilliam. But then again, having too much Darcy is not something one should complain about!
This daring variation is sure to enthrall readers with its complicated premise, emotional journey, and introspective look into the heart and soul of Fitzwilliam Darcy. Joana Starnes dauntlessly and skillfully delivers a beautifully romantic and tender love story that is deserving of praise and attention! I highly recommend!