Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Source: Review Copy from Author
TYPE OF AUSTENESQUE NOVEL: Pride and Prejudice Variation
TIME FRAME: Begins with Elizabeth’s and Jane’s last night at Netherfield
MAIN CHARACTERS: Elizabeth Bennet, Mr. Darcy, Charles Bingley, Jane Bennet, Mr. Collins, Caroline Bingley, Mr. and Mrs. Bennet
SYNOPSIS: After indulging in some glasses of brandy, Darcy doesn’t exactly remember what happened last night, but the evidence he finds in his bedroom leads him to believe he did the unthinkable and compromised Elizabeth Bennet!! Darcy convinces Elizabeth they should marry, and she agrees…but for different reasons. There is a lot left unsaid, and both are under different impressions of what occurred that fateful night in Netherfield. When the truth comes out, how badly will it shake their budding relationship…?
WHAT I LOVED:
- Sweet Romances Developing 2x: This premise illustrates what would have happened had both Bingley and Darcy decided to follow their inclinations and hearts instead of yielding to the expectations of society and persuasion of others. I loved witnessing how the romance developed between these two couples when the men stay in Meryton and spend more time with Elizabeth and Jane. It was interesting to see what would happen if Darcy was a little less guarded and Bingley a little more decisive. I also enjoyed seeing how the course of the story would change if Elizabeth was a little less prejudiced and Jane a little more ardent!
- It’s a Little Taboo: Impropriety. Seduction. Anticipating vows. Monthly courses. There is a lot of topics and scenarios in this novel that aren’t typically highlighted and canvassed with great detail in Jane Austen’s novels. It’s a little taboo (not in a graphic or untrue to the period way) and at times mortifyingly and awkwardly realistic! After reading the book blurb I was worried I might find it all a little too farfetched and implausible, but that wasn’t the case. I jumped right on board and enjoyed the misunderstandings and comedy that ensued from a combination of alcohol, repressed desires, and jumping to conclusions. (NOTE: Due to the subject matter and some off-stage actions, I’d recommend this story for readers 14 and older.)
- Playful Teasing: I loved Darcy and Elizabeth’s relationship in this tale. Ms. Fairbanks definitely chose to spotlight the playful side of both their characters. There is much of their witty banter and provocative exchanges. And what was truly great to see was how Elizabeth came quickly to understand and enjoy her conversations and exchanges with Darcy. I loved seeing Elizabeth appreciate Darcy’s intelligence and charm, and Darcy’s teasing and flirting with Elizabeth was adorable!
- Citations and References: It is always entertaining to see Darcy and Elizabeth debate books and authors of their day, but what I really appreciated was the citations that explained their debates. Having not read Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded or Tom Jones myself, I greatly appreciated the explanation of the key points of the plot so I could better understand Darcy’s and Elizabeths’s feelings and opinions about the characters and text.
WHAT I WASN’T TOO FOND OF:
- Caroline Bingley: I’d have to admit, out of all the mishaps and misunderstandings, the story-line involving Miss Bingley is the one I found least plausible. It was hilarious, very much-deserved, and I totally get why the author did this to Caroline, but it seems a most unlikely turn of events, in my opinion! 😉
A light-hearted and amusing variation that takes Pride and Prejudice in a unique direction! Ms. Fairbanks seems to have a penchant for placing Darcy and Elizabeth in uncomfortable and unexpected situations, and I delight in seeing how they work their way through them! While A Sense of Obligation might bring to the forefront some shocking and unmentionable scenarios, it is definitely my favorite work by Rose Fairbanks so far! I took great pleasure in the laughable misunderstandings, playful characterizations, and charmingly developed romance!