Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Source: Review Copy from Author
TYPE OF AUSTENESQUE NOVEL: Pride and Prejudice Variation (Alternate History)
SETTING: 1811, England (under French rule)
SYNOPSIS: Six years ago Napoleon invaded England. Bringing in his militia, enforcing fees to pay for the war, stripping titles from the aristocracy, and seizing homes and properties of the wealthy Napoleon now has England completely in its power. But curiously enough Mr. Darcy of Pemberley still has his land and appears to be cooperating with the French. A situation that has lost him some friends and their respect. But is he really a traitor? What reason could Mr. Darcy have for consorting with the enemy?
WHAT I LOVED:
- Bold and Inventive: Not many Pride and Prejudice variations rewrite history! This was truly a unique situation, and it was interesting to explore what kind of changes and impact Napoleon’s invasion would have not just on the Pride and Prejudice story-line but on the way of life for all the people of England. Not only does Abigail Reynolds proves her fearlessly and ingenuity with this wonderfully original tale, she executes it all plausibly and mastefully! I appreciated how small details like the quality of tea and fashions were included to emphasize the different circumstances of England.
- An Adorable Meet Cute: I love the references to Shakespeare’s A Midsummer’s Night Dream, the vividly described setting, and the antics of a precocious puppy! In a story beset by despair and bleak circumstances it was absolutely lovely to have this spark of magic between Darcy and Elizabeth. I especially liked how they would refer back to it often.
- Mr. Darcy: This story is propelled by Darcy, his past decisions, and his mission. I greatly enjoyed seeing Mr. Darcy portrayed as a man with such strong integrity and principles. He is placed in a very difficult situations and endures countless sacrifices. But through it all he displays an admirable fortitude, an honorable commitment to his responsibilities, and an inspiring ability to be compassionate and empathetic towards the opposing side. This is not a haughty, proud, or selfish Mr. Darcy, this is Mr. Darcy at his very best. Who wouldn’t admire and love such a man?
- New Characters: We see decidedly less of some characters like Lady Catherine, Mr. and Mrs. Bennet, and Mr. Collins in this tale. Which leaves room for new original characters to come into play. I really enjoyed seeing more of Mrs. Fitzwilliam (as she is known in this book), her children, and also a close relation of Mr. Darcy’s that he has had a somewhat strained relationship with (that was a fun twist!). But I think my favorite new characters would be General Desmarais and his wife. I enjoyed seeing the complex and tenuous relationship this French general had with Mr. Darcy. How it can both easy and difficult to find friendship across enemy lines.
WHAT I WASN’T TOO FOND OF:
- Truly, I was fond of everything. The only thing I could possibly mention is that it seemed a little implausible for some of the major latter events of the story take place so quickly and easily. But perhaps Ms. Reynolds was wise not prolong the more combative elements of this tale. 😉
Conceit and Concealment is an exhilarating tale of romance and rebellion, disguise and despair, action and angst, treachery and treason! Abigail Reynolds once again delivers an exceptionally wonderful Pride and Prejudice tale that will enthrall readers who love strong protagonists and daring adventures! I cannot wait to see what this author will write next!