Jul 152016
 

UnwillingWhat If Mr. Bennet Was ‘Willing’ to Manage His Family?

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Source: Review Copy form Author

TYPE OF AUSTENESQUE NOVEL: Pride and Prejudice Variation

TIME FRAME: A couple days after the Netherfield Ball

MAIN CHARACTERS: The Bennet family, Mr. Darcy, and Mr. Bingley

SYNOPSIS: After learning that he might not live beyond a year or so more, Mr. Bennet decides to do what he didn’t do all along – manage his daughters, take responsibility for their futures, and economize. His new plans include masters, hours of study, budgets, and not rejecting any marriage proposals from “respectable and solvent” suitors. This includes Mr. Darcy, who – you guessed it – proposes to Elizabeth while she is in Kent!

WHAT I LOVED:

  • A Different Mr. Bennet: I really enjoyed seeing Mr. Bennet in action! He was decisive, firm, and clever. I loved seeing how he convinced Mrs. Bennet to join him on his plans and how he handled Lydia’s disobedience (we all know she had it coming!) In this story Mr. Bennet is a much more prominent figure and very much in the center of the story’s conflict since he faces some guilt and uncertainty about Elizabeth’s marriage to Mr. Darcy. I loved spending more time with Mr. Bennet and witnessing how he can effect such a change in his family if he takes the trouble. Especially with Mrs. Bennet!
  • Jane Bennet: This story is mostly Darcy and Elizabeth centric (you won’t see much of Wickham, Lady Catherine, or Caroline), with some spotlight on Jane Bennet as her father tries to open her eyes to the unpleasant but realistic aspects of human nature. I loved how important it was to Mr. Bennet to give Jane this education and I enjoyed how it made her look at her suitors differently.
  • An Enamored Darcy: Who doesn’t love to see Darcy so besotted and ardently in love? It’s too adorable! I loved seeing his joy in being betrothed to Elizabeth, how he was so ready to give his heart to her, and his patience with her while he waited for her to return some of the affection and love he has for her. I loved the scenes with the letters and when Darcy would steal some kisses (especially the ‘man full grown’ kind!) Be ready to fall in love again, readers!
  • Gently and Awkwardly: I would describe this tale as low-angst and low-drama. Darcy’s and Elizabeth’s relationship is not one fraught with tension, high emotion, or turbulence. Darcy is endearingly sweet as he tries to win Elizabeth’s heart, and Elizabeth – while wary and uncertain about her future with Darcy – spends her time trying to learn more about him and understand his character instead of focusing on her discontent. I enjoyed how awkward it felt – they are on different pages and their feelings for each other are not equal. But the course of the relationship did change, not swiftly and dramatically, more gentle and gradual.  I thought this was a beautiful and realistic portrayal of how our beloved couple would act in such a situation.

WHAT I WASN’T TOO FOND OF:

  • Elizabeth on Repeat: Just a minor quibble really. In this story Elizabeth frequently needed to know the plan and receive explanations of the future – what is the plan for marriage, what is the plan for the wedding trip, what kind of marriage does Darcy envision them having, etc. I don’t mind Elizabeth wanting to learn more about her future and having some uncertainties, but it started to feel a little bit repetitious at some points.

WHAT’S UNIQUE ABOUT THIS STORY: Mr. Bennet has left the sanctuary of his library and is a man of decision, action, and force.

CONCLUSION:

Unwilling is a beautifully charming Pride and Prejudice variation that examines the potential of the Bennet family to improve themselves and the effect of such improvements. Readers who want to see Mr. Bennet as an active father and husband and Mr. Darcy as an ardent and understanding suitor should definitely give this lovely book a try!

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32 Comments on "Unwilling – Elizabeth Adams"

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Brenda Webb

I love Elizabeth Adams’ stories. She writes so well that it pulls you right into the story. And this story is one of her best IMHO. Thank you for sharing your opinion Meredith for it matches mine in so many ways.

Glynis

I’m glad you enjoyed this book Meredith – thanks for such a lovely review. I really loved this book – it is nice to have a love story with not too much drama and as you say this Darcy was so gorgeous and romantic and deserved to win his Elizabeth. I was eager to read this book as I thoroughly enjoyed The Houseguest and Green Card and I certainly will be looking forward to Elizabeth’s next book??? 🙂

dholcomb1

sounds like a wonderful variation

Michelle Hall

Hi Meredith, I have been looking forward to your review of this book. I have only read the Houseguest by Elizabeth Adams which I enjoyed and will now add “Unwilling” to my TBR pile. Thank you, lovely review as always.

Teresa

Thanks for your opinión! . I liked that Mr Bennet taught Jane about real life so that she could be ready to face some events or persons 🙂

Jennifer Redlarczyk

I haven’t had the chance to read this one yet, but I know it will be great as I have really enjoyed her other books. Thanks, Meredith, for featuring Elizabeth! Jen Red ♫

justjane1813

Lovely review! I thought this book was just splendid too and I loved the focus on the characters because we were really able to explore some new sides of them in this story.

TeaGuide
I so much wanted to love this book, but in the end it was not possible. Mr Bennet and the changes he brought about in his family were wonderful. But the reason I read P&P pastiches is to fall in love with Mr Darcy all over again. By the time I was halfway through this story I absolutely despised the man. He was portrayed as arrogant, selfish, and self-important, and took advantage of Elizabeth’s diminished state: she was essentially given no choice but to marry Darcy. He was portrayed as very demanding and he all but terrorized her in many… Read more »
Sheila Majczan

I have not read this book yet although I have read several others. I do have this on my Wish List. Good review, Meredith. I find we share similar tastes so your endorsement of a book makes my choices all that more assured.

Regina

I read this book earlier this spring and loved it. Elizabeth Adams is a fabulous writer; now I need to get a copy of The Houseguest as it is the only one of hers I haven’t yet read.

Carole in Canada

So glad you enjoyed this book Meredith! I too loved this variation.

Sarah

I loved this one! Elizabeth Adams is a favorite and both her P&P variations have low angst with lots of interaction with our favorite couple. Just wanted it to be longer…

tgruy

Great premise! I would love to read this story!

BeckyC

Wonderful review!

Anna

I downloaded this one recently but haven’t had a chance to read it yet. I’m so glad to see you enjoyed it!

Joana Starnes

Reading this now and loving it!!! What a beautiful picture of family harmony you’ve painted, Elizabeth, once Mr Bennet steps up and gets the jobs done. Perfect and SO poignant, and I’m not only thinking of Darcy and Elizabeth 😉

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