Feb 162018
 

What If Mr. Darcy Disappeared the Day Before Lydia’s Wedding?

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Source: Review Copy from Author

TYPE OF AUSTENESQUE NOVEL: Pride and Prejudice Variation

TIME FRAME: Begins the day before Wickham marries Lydia

SYNOPSIS: Just at the pivotal moment where Mr. Darcy begins to hope that all is not lost between him and Elizabeth Bennet, he is taken from London and presumed missing. What becomes of Lydia and Wickham – do they still marry? What about Georgiana and Pemberley – who will take care and guard both from greedy opportunists? What about Elizabeth Bennet – will she ever move on and forgive herself? But perhaps the most pressing question needing to be answered is who has taken Mr. Darcy and what do they want from him…

WHAT I LOVED:

  • Bewitching and Intricate: Such a daring and unconventional premise! We’ve seen Darcy in peril before – captured or at the hands of nefarious individuals – but I don’t think I’ve come across many tales where he is pronounced dead. With a body confirmed, testimonies given, and a private funeral held, this variation has a most bleak and heart-wrenching beginning. But fortunately, our Colonel Fitzwilliam demands justice for cousin. And his search leads him to cherish a small and seemingly ludicrous hope. I loved how this story kept me guessing! Of course I knew that certain aspects had to resolve in such a way, but there were many twists on twists that I didn’t see coming. And yet I see how Ms. Clarkston dropped all these subtle hints along the way…
  • Depths of Love: Oh, talk about soul-piercing! Forget half agony, half hope, this is full agony and no hope! Seeing Elizabeth mourn, fully realize her love, come to cherish Mr. Darcy’s love, and regret every moment of blindness and mistaken assumptions was quite an emotional experience. Agh!! Her devotion to Mr. Darcy and secret suffering wrenched my heart multiple times and brought tears streaming down my cheeks. I loved not just the intensity of Darcy’s and Elizabeth’s love for each other, but its depth. The strength of their love is unfathomable and unbreakable, and it is amazing to see how they drew such comfort and fortitude from their ardent love. Even in the midst of their despair and hopelessness.
  • A Myriad of Emotions: Some may be hesitant to read this story knowing that it contains no small amount of angst and grief. However, despair and yearning are not the only emotions readers encounter in this sizable saga. There are loathsome and sinister villains to detest, family secrets that bewilder and arouse suspicion, heartwarming friendships to witness, eccentric behaviors to chuckle at, and enough action and adventure to hold you spellbound. I absolutely adored how Ms. Clarkston evoked so many strong and well-balanced emotions with her story.
  • Countless Threads: As I showed in my synopsis there are so many questions needing answers in this tale. I love how Ms. Clarkston revealed the answers with excruciatingly slow deliberateness. 😉 And yet the pace of the story never felt slow because we were constantly switching from each characters’ perspective. The action of the story takes place all over and the key characters are numerous and widespread. The reader jumps from Longbourn to London, from Pemberley to Portugal countless times. I must commend Ms. Clarkston for interweaving these threads so skillfully. Her story created quite the intricate tapestry, and the multiple threads she entwined never felt overwhelming or unnecessary.
  • Colonel Fitzwilliam: He is the true hero of this tale and I adored seeing his character fleshed out in this adventure. I loved that Ms. Clarkston gave this strong man of action a romantic story worthy of him, and his devotion to Darcy and Georgiana was heartwarming to witness.
  • Lydia Wickham: Plucky Lydia comes into her own in this tale and I found her developing relationships with several characters delightfully surprising. I like when authors draw from some positive traits (confidence and quickness) she shares with her sister.

WHAT I WASN’T TOO FOND OF:

  • Oh, that this enthralling and epic saga came to an end. I wish it could have continued forever! 😉

NOTE: Since there are a few brief scenes of violence, a short scene of attempted sexual violence, and a few amorous embraces, I’d recommend this tale for Mature Audiences.

CONCLUSION:

In an exceptionally expressive, compelling, and mesmerizing tale, Nicole Clarkston presents a splendidly executed Pride and Prejudice adventure filled with romance, intrigue, history, danger, conspiracy, devotion, and hope. This outstanding and remarkable saga will consume and captivate you!

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  26 Responses to “These Dreams – Nicole Clarkston”

  1.  

    I had the privilege of being a beta for this wonderful work. Cannot agree with your review any more! Nicole has a touch that is as powerful as it is deft.

  2.  

    I’m not generally a lover of great angst but I absolutely loved this story. I cried buckets and had to keep stopping to wipe my glasses but I just had to keep on reading until I finished it .
    The connection between Darcy and Elizabeth was so intense and the height of romance. And yes as you say Colonel Fitzwilliam was the hero of the day.
    This is definitely one for my ‘re read list.

    •  

      I can so understand why, Glynis. The emotions were so moving in this one, the pain so palpable. I’m glad you not only gave this story try, but how lovely to hear that you loved it as well!

  3.  

    Beautiful review for an absolutely powerful story of human emotions. I loved this book!

  4.  

    Meredith, your review was perfect. I hope it entices everyone who hasn’t read it yet, for whatever reason, to read it as soon as possible. I am a horrible reviewer, because I cannot get to the point when talking about a book I adore. I end up just gushing.

    Can you believe I read this story before I knew how long it was? I found that out when another comment somewhere months ago said they were reluctant to take on such a lengthy read. “Huh?” I said, and went to Amazon to find out just how long it was. (The page count has been reduced officially, it had been over 700 at one time.) I thought ‘you’ve got to be kidding.’ Like you I wanted it to go on forever. I agree it was paced perfectly, and points of view interwoven beautifully. Oh my gosh, her writing.

    I am parroting Glynis’s remark about The Connection between Darcy and Elizabeth: This was the most important part of the work. Without that, I imagine I might have thought the work was indeed a bit too long. But it is not too long. The triumphant joy at the end makes up for all the angst, (buckets of tears.)

    •  

      You are too kind, Michelle! I hope the review is helpful for anyone who is on this fence about this lovely book! I tried real hard from gushing in my review, but it couldn’t be helped! 😉

      I’m not surprised that you didn’t realize the length of this story. When you read it, everything moves along so perfectly and holds your interest so much that you forget the story is 700 pages!

      I whole-heartedly agree with you both, the relationship between the two more than makes up for all the despair and suffering we all went through. 😉 Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts, my friend!

  5.  

    This story is right up there with my top favorites. I plan to read it again but MUST know that I have time to finish it before bedtime as it is one I could not put down. I do love Nicole’s other books as well. Great review…yes, keep going on and going on with our favorite couple. Thank you for the story and for the review.

    •  

      I’m no surprised, Sheila! Such a terrific adventure, and yes, it so extremely hard to put down! I love stories like this one that just consume your heart and mind.

  6.  

    This book. I had to stop at one point (damn adulting LOL) and found myself dreaming about what had happened and what *might* be next. It was heart wrenching. The only thing I missed in this book was a discussion at the end of the shared moments throughout the darkness. Each one pondered them separately, but I wanted to see them talk about it. Such a great (and painfully angsty) read. I rarely cry in a book, this one made me need tissues.

    •  

      Haha! Yes, I know! I so wish I could have read without stopping, but work, errands, eating all got in the way! 😉 How lovely that you were dreaming of this story! Very good point, I was waiting to see if they would say more about the shared dreams.

  7.  

    Whew!! Wow!! I loved this review. I was waiting for you… I saw where you were reading it and I looked forward to the day when you wrote your review. Yeah!! It was worth the wait. Excellent details. This is definitely a book on my FAVES shelf. Loved it!!

    •  

      Ah, Jeanne! I love that you were anticipating this review! I’m so relieved it was worth the wait! 😉 I usually stress a bit about reviews like this one (when I love the book so much, I’m always afraid I don’t do it justice in my reviews!) So happy that I loved this one as much as you did! <3

  8.  

    Your response to this story has me ready to toss aside my review schedule and plunk down to have a good heartwrenching, dramatic read. Enjoyed your review thoughts, Meredith.

  9.  

    Sounds exciting! Thanks for highlighting it.

  10.  

    Your review was so perfectly written. You tell all the things about this book that make it so special. It is definitely one of the best books I have ever read. I loved it and I loved your review of it! Thanks, Meredith, for sharing your thoughts about These Dreams. I’ve read all of Nicole Clarkson’s books and they are awesome.

    •  

      That is such a high compliment from you, Janet. Thank you so much for checking out my review! This is truly a memorable and special story. I can’t wait to read more of Nicole’s books.

  11.  

    Your review has me fanning myself, Meredith! I am without words, you expressed your thoughts and reactions so well. You have such a wonderful way of enticing without spoilers, and for that, my hat is off to you!

    Don, my good Athos, I treasured your encouragement and support during the beta process.

    Stephanie, you raised a point that I really debated on- explain the dreams or not? I opted not to because of pacing and also because I wanted the reader to personalize what they thought could have happened, rather than narrating it. It would make for a wonderful D/E conversation vignette someday though!

    Janet, you were my reality check the whole time in writing this. Plus I have you to thank for that awesome cover!

    Thank you all for sharing your thoughts, I am so glad the story touched you.

  12.  

    I loved this book, too! So glad to see you felt the same way. 🙂

  13.  

    Oh wow, what a review! I’m lucky enough to own a physical copy of this book in all of its weighty magnificence and I’m so looking forward to reading it. In fact, even more so now after reading your review, Meredith.

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