Feb 172017
 

“She would not betray her trust.”

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Source: Review Copy from Author

What if Elizabeth Bennet met and became friends with Georgiana Darcy in Ramsgate?

What if, after hearing about Georgiana’s attachment to Wickham and plans to secretly elope, Elizabeth wrote an anonymous letter alerting Mr. Darcy?

What if Darcy and Elizabeth meet later on in Hertfordshire with previous knowledge of each other and have a much better first impression?

In her second inventive and creative Pride and Prejudice variation, Suzan Lauder shows readers what happens when Elizabeth knows all about and secretly helps prevent Georgiana’s would-be scandal in Ramsgate. In this story Elizabeth accompanies her aunt Gardiner for an extended stay visiting a friend in Ramsgate (since Mr. Gardiner is detained in London) the same time Georgiana and Mrs. Younge are there. In this scenario, readers witness many scenes that take place before the start of Pride and Prejudice such as Mr. Darcy’s hiring of Mrs. Younge, Wickham’s romantic pursuit of Georgiana, and Darcy’s unexpected arrival and rescue. Post-Ramsgate Elizabeth and Georgiana remain friends and keep in touch through correspondence, and it is with a completely different mindset that Darcy and Elizabeth meet in Meryton.

Georgiana’s adulatory praise for each and the absence of mistaken prejudices paves the way for Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy to form a friendship with each other. A friendship that is happily renewed and strengthened during their simultaneous visits to Kent. But what happens when, after admitting his feelings of love and fervent admiration, Darcy’s trust and faith in Elizabeth is shaken? Is she a scheming fortune hunter? Is she in league with his enemies? Darcy’s convictions and misguided assumptions lead him to take drastic measures and perpetrates suffering and agony for all involved. How can this situation be mended? How indeed!

Sounds gripping, doesn’t it? I agree! I love the uniqueness of this premise and how Suzan Lauder constructed and developed this story. I honestly didn’t see the twist coming and I felt every bit of the emotional upheaval that the characters felt. I greatly enjoyed the focus on a set of different characters – it was interesting to see more of Mrs. Younge and learn about her past. And I also took pleasure in all the new characters Ms. Lauder created, such as the lively and forward-thinking Lady Edwina and the picture of perfection, Lady Amelia. (I especially adored Lady Edwina, but must admit I was sad we didn’t see her story’s conclusion happen on page.)

But the character I enjoyed and admired the most was our dear Elizabeth Bennet. I loved seeing Elizabeth’s warm friendship develop with both Georgiana and later Mr. Darcy. Her playful teasing and kindness was enchanting. And I emphatically approve of and admire her actions in Ramsgate, she proved herself a fiercely protective and loyal friend. Plus, it was so much fun to see her antagonize and thwart Wickham! Go Elizabeth!

However, I’m afraid I cannot say the same about Mr. Darcy. Of course we know Mr. Darcy has flaws of implacable resentment and haughty conceit, and I’m okay with him not always being likable. But I kind of started to feel bothered by his unreasonableness and slow understanding in this variation. Some of his actions/reactions felt less believable and it seemed he had to be hit over the head multiple times with the truth for full understanding to sink in and propel him into action. In addition, I also felt Mr. Wickham’s character and actions were a little questionable sometimes. Was he really that deluded? Did he never see Elizabeth as someone he should retaliate against?

Regardless of these small reservations, I found myself wonderfully enthralled by Ms. Lauder’s poignant and emotionally turbulent tale. Just like with Alias Thomas Bennet, I cannot help but praise Suzan Lauder’s originality, skillful prose, and meticulous attention to detail. I await in eager anticipation to see what she does next!

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21 Comments on "Letter From Ramsgate – Suzan Lauder"

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colleen

Thanks for the review. My weekend reading plan looking even better now!

Glynis

yes Meredith, I enjoyed this book as well. Although as you say Darcy definitely needed to engage his brain at times. I loved the friendship between Elizabeth and Georgiana and I also liked Lady Edwina. I think my only regret is that Susan didn’t include the parasol vignette she shared on a blog as I really liked that.

Carole in Canada

Wonderful review Meredith! I have this one on my wishlist and just have to buy it and move it to my TBR list! I’m trying to decide if I should get the paperback, as I love the cover, or go for the e-book…dilemma…dilemma!

Sheila L. Majczan

Yes, while reading this book as a WIP there were times we, the readers, wanted to smack this Mr. Darcy up side the head! He was a bit unreasonable at times. But I did so enjoy the story. I like angst and with his woe begotten views of the situation there was indeed a bit of angst. Good review. I read this as a published story and enjoyed it all over again. The cover is so lovely! …the language of the parasol was intriguing and amusing.

Christina Boyd

Lovely review!

suzanlauder
I remember back when I was new to published JAFF and so honoured to get a review on Austenesque Reviews for Alias Thomas Bennet. But it turns out that in spite of the cautions stated on her blog, Meredith often takes a chance on new authors with unique new variations (as evidenced in other recent reviews as well). Her extensive reading provides her a clarity in understanding that is the envy of anyone who has ever tried to craft a review that’s thorough but spoiler-free. Thanks so much for being so supportive to me and other authors, Meredith. I love… Read more »
Michelle H

I’m always rearranging my ‘Wish Lists’ anyway, but I almost always do it again after I’ve read one of your great reviews. This one goes to the top. Loved the review, love the cover, and loved Ms. Lauder’s previous novel, ‘Alias, Thomas Bennet!’

Sophia Rose

I thought it was rather a creative variation, too. Loved having the beginning in Ramsgate.

Great review as usual, Meredith!

Anji
I was licky enough to win a copy of Letter from Ramsgate last year but haven’t had a chance to read it yet. I absolutely love the cover design and was one of the many who kept voting for it during it’s entry in the recent Cover Wars event. So happy it won! One of the things that attracted me to it in the first place was the Ramsgate scenario. I’ve read several stories where Elizabeth has met Georgiana there before the “elopement” and enjoyed them a lot as it means Darcy and Elizabeth get to know each other without… Read more »
suzanlauder

Thanks so much to you, Anji, and all those who voted for Zorylee’s fantastic cover. It got at least 97 votes–I was in bed for the last few hours of the contest.

dholcomb1

such a beautiful cover

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