Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Source: Review Copy from Publisher
TYPE OF AUSTENESQUE NOVEL: Pride and Prejudice Variation
TIME FRAME: Begins the day after the Hunsford Proposal
SYNOPSIS: Elizabeth and Darcy are not alone in their misunderstandings in this Pride and Prejudice variation. Mr. Bingley and Jane have their fair share as well, and their misunderstandings manifest some unexpectedly new contention and drama! What happens when Mr. Bingley returns to Meryton, believes Jane is indifferent, and reads a different type of meaning into Elizabeth’s friendly encouragement? What happens when one of Jane Austen’s most harmonious sibling relationships faces turbulence, acrimony, and intense jealousy?
WHAT I LOVED:
- Daring and Unique: In this variation Ms. Lewis focuses on Jane’s and Mr. Bingley’s flaws (Jane’s reservation and passivity, Bingley’s lack of conviction and indecisiveness) and extenuates them a little. It was interesting to see what befalls these characters when their flaws cause them more heartache and regret. I especially enjoyed how Ms. Lewis didn’t need to alter much about these characters. She instead found hairline cracks in their character make-up and plausibly drew from their own insecurities and mistaken reasonings. It shows that, like Jane Austen, Jessie Lewis has great powers of observation and understanding of human nature. While some may think Bingley and Jane are often too agreeable/lacking in conflict, this variation uniquely shows us what happens when they aren’t!
- Multiple Sides and Angles: I thoroughly enjoyed how this story moved from perspective to perspective. I also enjoyed the torture and suspense of how the point-of-view would stay on one character for an extended period of time, rather than jumping quickly and often. Leaving readers with what felt like an interminable wait to return to the previous character’s point-of-view and see what happened to them during all the time that has passed. It appears Ms. Lewis has a teasing habit of ending some of her chapters with cliffhangers! 😉 I loved being able to follow multiple characters and see all the events that took place with them firsthand.
- Emotive and Ardent: This story immediately had me spellbound with Ms. Lewis’s heartrending depictions of Darcy’s suffering and Elizabeth’s subsequent dismay in finding Darcy more worthy of her esteem than she first believed. Such strong and compelling portrayals of these emotions! Loved it! I also loved how the relationship blossomed between Darcy and Elizabeth, and how Darcy would often exclaim “God, I love you, woman.” When I hear someone say that I know they are bursting with overwhelming feelings of profound love and happiness, even though they state it so simply. I think Ms. Lewis captured beautifully the playful and passionate sides of Darcy and Elizabeth together.
- Correspondence: I loved how this story featured so many characters corresponding with each other and how readers were always privy to what each message said…although sometimes not immediately! I thought seeing the private communications between characters revealed a lot and Ms. Lewis did a wonderful job of implementing these letters into her story.
- Lady Catherine, Colonel Fitzwilliam, and Lady Sinclair: While sthe story focuses on Elizabeth, Darcy, Jane, and Bingley, there were some lovely secondary characters that got a chance to shine a little in this book. I particularly loved Ms. Lewis’s new character – Lady Sinclair (Colonel Fitzwilliam’s sardonic and blunt grandmother!) who kept saying the most unexpected and hilarious comments. I also loved seeing what become of Lady Catherine and her relationship with some characters. In addition, Colonel Fitzwilliam’s fierce loyalty towards his cousin is always heartwarming to witness.
WHAT I WASN’T TOO FOND OF:
- That I didn’t read this book sooner!
NOTE: Some scenes do allude to intimacy and sensual embraces so I would recommend this book for Mature Audiences.
In a sensational debut, Jessie Lewis delivers a most imaginative and enthralling Pride and Prejudice variation that is filled with intense feeling, dramatic consequences, surprising character evolutions, and an exceptionally ardent romance! I adored not only the ingenuity and novelty of this daring premise, but how thoughtfully and perceptively it was handled and executed. A simply stellar read! I definitely recommend!