The Courtship of Elizabeth Bennet
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Source: Review Copy from Publisher
What if Mr. Darcy, feeling intense despair and heartache over Elizabeth’s unceremonious refusal, focused all his energy on repairing the damage he caused to Bingley’s relationship with Jane Bennet? Darcy, realizing he was wrong, knows he must now do what is right, otherwise Elizabeth’s poor opinion of him will be validated. However, reuniting Bingley with Jane Bennet, means Darcy must return to Meryton and once again encounter Elizabeth Bennet! Unfortunately, Darcy is unsuccessful in persuading Bingley to join him and must travel to Meryton alone. While trying to determine Jane’s feelings towards Bingley, Darcy pays her some attention and the whole town mistakenly assumes that he intends to marry her! The rumors reach the ears of Lady Catherine, who takes it upon herself to travel to Longbourn and demand an interview with, no, not Elizabeth Bennet, but Jane Bennet!
In her debut novel, Mr. Darcy and the Secret of Becoming a Gentleman, author Maria Hamilton, shows her readers what would happen if Darcy were to return to Elizabeth’s life a lot sooner. Would Elizabeth despise him more? Appreciate his efforts of her sister’s behalf? Would she regret her decision? Her words? How long does it take for Darcy to earn Elizabeth’s forgiveness? Her respect? Her love? In this splendid and wonderfully well-crafted variation we witness Darcy’s tentative yet indefatigable courtship of Elizabeth Bennet. “Fasten your seatbelts!”
What a fantastic debut novel from Maria Hamilton! Her skillful writing and unique twists had me enthralled from page one. The premise was brilliant and I absolutely loved witnessing Darcy battle back and forth between just trying to make amends for his interference with Jane and Bingley and grasping at the opportunity to achieve his own happiness. In addition, I adored observing Elizabeth progress from feeling nothing but intense dislike for Mr. Darcy, to understanding his character and treating him with civility, to admiring him and falling ardently in love with him.
While there may have been one or two scenes that weren’t to my liking, such as Darcy and Elizabeth anticipating their wedding vows (PG-13 scene), there were an abundance of scenes that I liked exceedingly. I can’t decide which one is my favorite: the showdown with Lady Catherine, the way Darcy flirted with Elizabeth over dinner, watching Elizabeth fall in love before our very eyes, or the utterly romantic scene in the library at Netherfield where Darcy touches Elizabeth’s hand! Completely chaste, but oh, so romantic!