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!!
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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