Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Source: Review Copy from Author
TYPE OF AUSTENESQUE NOVEL: Pride and Prejudice Variation
TIME FRAME: July 1813 (around one after Elizabeth’s visit to the Peak District)
MAIN CHARACTERS: Elizabeth and Jane Bennet, Mr. Bennet, Mr. Darcy, Georgiana Darcy, Mr. Bingley, Olivia and Viola Bingley, Colonel Fiztwilliam
SYNOPSIS: What if, instead of returning home to Pemberley and running into Elizabeth and the Gardiners at Pemberley, Mr. Darcy traveled to the continent for a year with Georgiana? And if Mr. Darcy doesn’t encounter Elizabeth at Pemberley, that means he doesn’t find out about Wickham’s flight with Lydia and come to the rescue… What becomes of the Bennets when their family name is disgraced and more than tragedy takes place within the year?
WHAT I LOVED:
- Unique Premise: Such inventive and creative premise! Missing the significant encounter at Pemberely produces quite a different chain of events – Lydia is not saved, the Bennet family is ostracized, Mr. Bingley never returns for Jane, and several others events are triggered by this alteration. It is interesting to see what happens when these changes take place and the effect they have on the Bennet family. And what happens when their paths cross with Mr. Darcy who does not know about any of their past year’s troubles. It is such a unique situation for a Pride and Prejudice variation and it was so much fun to explore this thoughtful and plausible divergent path.
- Moved On and Hopeless: Here we see what happens when Mr. Darcy believes his affections and wishes for Elizabeth are in the past and that he has moved on… He even has a lady in mind that he believes will suit as a wife and has made some steps towards courting her. In addition, Elizabeth is seeing a different side of Mr. Darcy and it is quite hard for her to admit that she no longer despises him, but in all actuality likes him against her will. She strives to protect her heart because she knows that her situation in life is such that it is even more of a degradation for Mr. Darcy to marry her than it was before. I love seeing Darcy and Elizabeth at such cross purposes…it isn’t simple misunderstandings or pride, they truly are in an awkward and delicate situation where they believe the other has moved on or that such a possibility is hopeless.
- Original Characters: I adore Ms. Grafton’s original creations in the Bingley twins! They are fourteen year old mischief-makers that love romance, ghost stories, and pranks! Their liveliness was infectious – I loved how much merriment they brought to this tale. It is quite funny to think that they are related to Caroline and Louisa, and to see Mr. Bingley – who is usually caught under his sisters’ thumb – in the position of trying to maintain and discipline such boisterous younger sisters! In addition, I also enjoyed the Latimer family and their drama, Alice, the Bennet’s, fussy housekeeper, and Mr. Wentworth, the kind vicar in Kympton with an interest in one of the Bennet daughters…
- Leisurely Paced: I loved seeing the Bennets live somewhere else other than Longbourn, and I loved bearing witness to all their daily encounters and interactions with the neighborhood. Especially with Mr. Darcy! There is so much that happens in just a few days – so many significant meetings and surprising exchanges… I love how Cassandra Grafton builds her story with small, everyday experiences. To see it all gradually develop firsthand really immerses the reader into the story.
- Mysteries and Secrets: The feeling of someone lurking in the woods, Mr. Bennet’s questionable business in a nearby town, petty thefts around Pemberley – some strange and unsettling things are happening! I always love when there is a bit of intrigue involved!
WHAT I WASN’T TOO FOND OF:
*scoffs* not a thing!
A Quest for Mr. Darcy is a truly enchanting and imaginative variation that brings readers on the most delightful sojourn to Derbyshire. I can’t decide what I loved more – the tender and achingly beautiful romance, the tension-building drama and mystery, or the many heartwarming relationships formed throughout! I highly recommend!