Nov 142016
 

The Coming of Age of Elizabeth BennetYoung Age, Grief, and Forced Circumstances

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Source: Review Copy from Author

TYPE OF NOVEL: Pride and Prejudice Variation

TIME FRAME: Several Years prior to Pride and Prejudice, Elizabeth is 15, Mr. Darcy is 23.

SYNOPSIS: Before Mr. Bennet passed away he made arrangements for Elizabeth to live at Pemberley with his good friend George Darcy and be raised alongside the eleven-year-old Georgiana. But Elizabeth wants none of it! She goes to Pemberley most unwillingly, and in a desperate attempt to avoid this preordained fate she runs away…repeatedly. And who is sent to capture and return her but George’s son, Fitzwilliam! Elizabeth’s brash and precipitate actions lead to a bit of a trouble. Malicious rumors start to spread and both Elizabeth and Fitzwilliam are forced into an unlikely situation to protect both their reputations. A situation that brings to both “misery of the acutest kind!”

WHAT I LOVED:

  • Premise: Wow! What a surprising and inventive premise! Such an early meeting for our hero and heroine. And what a unique twist for Elizabeth to lose her father at such a young age. And if that scenario doesn’t contain enough twists for you, wait until you see how Darcy’s and Elizabeth’s relationship changes drastically after only two days of acquaintance…
  • Forming Their Characters: I absolutely adore how Ms. Williams portrayed Darcy and Elizabeth at these younger ages. At fifteen, Elizabeth is a spiky, rough-around-the-edges firebrand with unchecked impudence and unpolished manners. Meanwhile, Darcy is a young buck newly entered into society – finding his identity, getting into some small scrapes, and experiencing his first feelings of infatuation. I thought these youthful portrayals were well-crafted and believable. They are different from the Darcy and Elizabeth we know in Pride and Prejudice. They have flaws and sometimes act negatively because of their of pain, loneliness and insecurities. It was interesting to observe how both Mr. Darcy’s and Elizabeth’s characters and personalities developed throughout these formative young adult years and how they matured into the admirable hero and heroine we know and love.  I especially enjoyed Elizabeth’s inspiring evolution from a “disobedient little hellion” to a respected, industrious, and beloved mistress.
  • An Unpredictable Dynamic: The dynamic between Darcy and Elizabeth is very distinctive in this variation. Not only does Elizabeth detest Mr. Darcy, but he very much feels the same way. I don’t think I’ve read of scenario where neither Darcy or Elizabeth has any attraction or interest in the other. Tempers flaring, heated blowouts, indifferent coldness, and silent treatments – you begin to wonder if Darcy and Elizabeth will ever become friends, understand each other, and overcome their past discords! It was thrilling to be in suspense about how their relationship would evolve and if and when they would finally come together. You really couldn’t predict when and where everything would fall into place.
  • Masterfully Composed: Ms. Williams deserves much praise for her skillful construction and brilliant execution throughout this novel. I thought she represented Darcy and Elizabeth respectfully and tapped into their emotions and experiences very perceptively and sympathetically. I loved the unexpected series of events, the heart-wrenching scenes of conflict, the fragile instances of softening, and the achingly beautiful moments where love is realized and sought. This is definitely a story to become completely emotionally wrapped up in and consumed with!
  • Supporting Characters: I loved how Ms. Williams portrayed other characters in this earlier timeline and premise. It was interesting to see how characters like Mr. Collins, George Wickham, and Caroline Bingley came into play! Both George Wickham and Caroline Bingley provided a good deal more conflict than I anticipated! I also adored Ms. Williams’s character additions of Miss Temple, Henry Jones, and Rose Kiddy (especially Rose Kiddy!)

WHAT I WASN’T TOO FOND OF: I don’t have anything to say here, but poor Mr. Bingley (my husband) might complain about feeling neglected while this book consumed my every thought!!

CONCLUSION:

With over 150 reviews on amazon and more than 70% of them 5 stars, I don’t think you need me to tell you this is one remarkable and praiseworthy Austenesque work! But I’ll add my accolades anyway! The Coming of Age of Elizabeth Bennet is a sensitive, unconventional, and deeply emotional tale that is incredibly captivating and exquisitely designed! It is most definitely not one to be missed!

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  32 Responses to “The Coming of Age of Elizabeth Bennet – Caitlin Williams”

  1.  

    Totally agree! Great review.

  2.  

    What a fabulous review, Meredith! This book is just one of the many reasons I love Caitlin Williams. I am just thrilled that you loved it so much and I am glad you’re husband is such an understanding person.

  3.  

    LOVED this book and it is one I will reread. I am one of those reviews online. I highly recommend this also.

  4.  

    Great review Meredith! I agree with all you said. I too despaired of them ever falling in love. Mr Darcy senior was a wonderful character in this book and helped Elizabeth so much. I enjoyed this so much I have now bought Ardently.

    •  

      Thank you, Glynis! 🙂 It definitely looked like it wouldn’t happen at times! I agree with you, Mr. Darcy senior was very well done – firm and strict, but all loving and kind. I am with you, I need to get a copy of Ardently!

  5.  

    Great review, Meredith! I loved this one so much. Probably my favorite of 2016. Although I just finished Joanna Starnes’ newest, and it is right up there too. It’s also an early marriage scenario!

  6.  

    Good heavens! It certainly sounds as if this book went well beyond the ordinary for you. After all your wide reading in this genre, it must be delightful to be surprised and pleased in this thoroughgoing way.

  7.  

    Wow, thanks for such a lovely, thoughtful review. I am so thrilled you enjoyed it, Meredith.
    Your comments about neither of them liking each other at the beginning made me smile, as that’s where the idea came from. Normally, Darcy is in love and infatuated in these situations and I wondered how it would be if both were reluctant, and I had to make them younger for it to work. You have made my day. But now back to the grindstone, more stories to write.

    •  

      Thank YOU, Caitlin. I cannot tell you how much pleasure this book brought me! It was the most wonderful escape and I adored the new direction you went with Darcy and Elizabeth. It was so much fun to explore! 🙂 I hope you continue to write many more wonderful stories! Thank you for sharing this one with the world!

  8.  

    Oh, and my apologies to Mr Bingley

  9.  

    I adored this book!! No,I don’t use that word lightly,it was simply a fantastic story,endearingly crafted and a joy to read!

    Everything positive that’s being said about this book is true,but believing all of praise is difficult-everyone has to read it for themselves to discover the magic,only then will they understand and nod in appreciation!

    Lovely review! Really enjoyed it.

  10.  

    Sounds like a winner Meredith.

  11.  

    Brilliant review! I can’t wait to see these young characters in action! . As you say, what an original point of view!. Reading about young Lizzy, don’t you think she acts like her sister Lydia? 😉

    •  

      Thank you, Teresa! 🙂 Yes, very original. Pretty true about Lizzy, although Lizzy isn’t rude to people who are kind to her, just the ones who insult and offend her first. And Lizzy doesn’t have much an eye for flirting and beaus, like Lydia does! 🙂

  12.  

    Fabulous review and completely agree with you! I loved this book soooo much!

  13.  

    Caitlin Williams if one of my favourite authors, she is brillant. This book is different from “Ardently”, which was all lightness, so I was a bit surprised but totally hooked until the end. The characters are so believable and authentic, and the ending so romantic.

    •  

      Very well-put, Nathalie. I haven’t read Ardently yet, but I know I am even more eager to after reading this one! I do so hope Caitlin Williams will continues to write more stories like this one! 🙂

  14.  

    I couldn’t agree more Meredith, I re-read it again a week later and still keep looking at my highlights every now and again. Great review!

  15.  

    YOUR five stars, and 70% five-star reviews on Amazon? What’s to lose? Can’t wait! Sounds deliciously angsty to me.

  16.  

    I loved this book, and it deserves every star it gets. Thanks, Meredith. Congratulations, Caitlin!

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