Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Source: Gift from Author
TYPE OF AUSTENESQUE NOVEL: Pride and Prejudice Variation
TIME FRAME: September 1815 – Different timeline from Pride and Prejudice
SYNOPSIS: It’s been several years since Ramsgate, and the events that took place there have irrevocably changed the lives of Fitzwilliam and Georgiana Darcy. No longer a part of society, both have retreated to Pemberley where they live a very solitary life with minimal staff and no visitors. But when an unconscious stranger near-death is found near his home, Mr. Darcy finds himself providing her shelter and care. And though he tries to maintain his distance and avoid contact, this beautiful stranger finds a way to reach him in his loneliness and desolation… Can she convince him to let her stay? And what happens when her memory fully returns and she realizes the secrets of her past?
WHAT I LOVED:
- Exhilarating Original Premise: My goodness does Brenda Webb dream up some wonderfully unique Pride and Prejudice variations! A sinister scheme of kidnapping and enslaving gentlewomen, a degraded Darcy family retired from society, and new parentage for Elizabeth Bennet? Each idea is such an interesting divergence on its own, never mind that all this is happening in the same book!?! I thoroughly enjoyed exploring each of these new twists and I loved how Brenda Webb executed her story with all these dynamic and creative possibilities!
- Swept Away: This was a perfect choice for October – with a lonely estate, a brooding hero, dangerous villains, and the nighttime encounters between Darcy and Elizabeth (those were my favorite, btw) there are some wonderful dark and gothic elements to this tale. And with so much drama and action happening this story had me entranced from the very first page! I love these stories by Brenda Webb – they are high action and high drama, and that makes for a highly enrapturing read!
- Alternate History, Yet In Essentials…: I found so much to admire about Elizabeth in this story – she had a terrible relationship with Mrs. Bennet and faced adversity, was kidnapped and harmed yet she was still the brave, generous-hearted, and quick-witted heroine Jane Austen created. In addition, Mr. Darcy, with his selflessness, repressed longing, and noble actions is the epitome of a brooding romantic hero. His suffering and sacrifice is heartrending in this tale! And the fact that he spends hours playing melancholy compositions on piano…gah!!! My heart!
- Two-Parter: With so much going on this story had sort of a mini-resolution halfway through. Other obstacles still forcing our couple apart and those are explored in detail in the second half of the book. Some may have issue with the two different parts of the story, but I actually found myself just as captivated during the second half as the first.
- Quick Cut-Scenes and Clear Divisions: I enjoy so many different aspects of Brenda Webb’s writing style, but one I haven’t mentioned before is how she often changes perspectives. I know it can be confusing when an author changes point-of-view, but Ms. Webb makes it very easy to follow with her page breaks and setting indicators. I love how these quick-paced scene changes heighten the excitement of the story and shed light on other characters and what they are thinking and feeling.
WHAT I WASN’T TOO FOND OF:
- Small Quibbles: Just a minor quibble or two about some language and expressions that felt modern. SPOILER ALERT!: In addition, while I completely understand Darcy’s reclusive and solitary behavior for majority of the book, there was a point later on in the book where it didn’t seem like he was ostracized by the ton anymore. In fact, he was being chased as an eligible suitor. It sort of made his continuing to push Elizabeth away feel a little unnecessary.
NOTE: There are some allusions to intimate scenes and one or two that begin to take place on page (just in the last 50 pages). I’d recommend this story for Mature Audiences.
I adore the dynamic and compelling stories that flow from Brenda Webb’s pen. She loves to place Darcy and Elizabeth in such impossible and surprising circumstances, and readers who hunger for adventurous and impassioned romances will be thoroughly pleased with her latest offering! I highly recommend!