Mar 092012

What if Elizabeth BURNED Darcy’s Letter Without Reading It?

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Source: Review Copy form Author

Darcy knew it was a breach of propriety to write Elizabeth Bennet a letter, he knew it would damage her reputation if it was ever discovered, but he knew it was the only way to protect her from misplacing her trust in Wickham. And so he behaves improperly, perhaps even scandalously, to protect the woman he loves. But will Elizabeth appreciate his care and concern?

Not in this variation! In Mr. Darcy’s Letter Elizabeth Bennet refuses to accept Darcy’s letter from him in the grove. Even when it is redelivered to her by Charlotte, Elizabeth, once again, declines reading it and feeds it to the flames. Why does Elizabeth do this? To protect her reputation? To thwart Darcy’s supposed plan of forcing her hand? Or to avoid hearing any more insults from that infuriating man…

And thus begins Abigail Reynold’s newest installment in her stellar and greatly admired Pemberley Variation series. If you are unfamiliar with this phenomenal series, it contains seven novels and one novella anthology that explore the many paths Jane Austen didn’t take in Pride and Prejudice. The premise of Elizabeth not accepting Darcy’s letter is entirely new to this reader and I was very intrigued to see how this would affect the plot and characters. Would Elizabeth fall prey to Wickham’s lies? How will Elizabeth react when she sees Darcy at Pemberley? Would Wickham still attempt to elope with Lydia? There are so many avenues one can go with this premise!

One element I loved about this novel was seeing such wholly diverse outcomes for Lydia, Wickham, Jane, and Mr. Bingley. I liked seeing the Lydia/Wickham storyline go in an entirely different and more advantageous direction. Moreover I thought it was interesting to see Jane and Bingley struggle with some conflicts and turbulence of their own! I applaud Ms. Reynolds for creatively augmenting and fleshing out these characters yet at the same time maintaining their true natures and personalities.

While I did enjoy the originative and singular plot twists Abigail Reynolds implemented in this variation, I found myself wishing she did a little more with them. Wickham didn’t cause as nearly as much mischief as I expected him to and Elizabeth seemed to soften towards Darcy even without reading his letter. There was definitely some room for a bit more tension and drama!

Similar to other novels by this author Darcy and Elizabeth share an amorous and sensual love for each in this novel. While there aren’t many intimate scenes, there is one that takes place before their wedding night. (Note: this is the only Mature Audience scene in this novel). I know oftentimes the characters dictate to the author what they want to do, but in this instance, I do wish Ms. Reynolds better reined in Darcy’s and Elizabeth’s libidos a little. (Which I’m sure it not an easy task!) To have them go from their second kiss to anticipating their vows in five days and one afternoon together seemed to show a little too much modern sensibility in my opinion.

Even though, I had one or two quibbles to comment on, my pleasure in this beautifully expressive tale about Darcy and Elizabeth was in no way impeded. As always, with any Abigail Reynolds’ novel, I was entranced by her absorbing and emotionally-fueled prose and impassioned depiction of Darcy and Elizabeth. I adore her writing! And I am beside myself with elation to see that there is another novel coming out soon; it looks like The Interrupted Proposal is scheduled to be released some time this year!

Novels by Abigail Reynolds reviewed on Austenesque Reviews:

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  14 Responses to “Mr. Darcy’s Letter – Abigail Reynolds”


    Great review, Meredith! While I enjoyed this book (like all of Abigail’s others), I too felt Darcy & Elizabeth anticipated their vows rather quickly after their first kiss. Looking forward to The Interrupted Proposal! 🙂


    I enjoy the ‘what if’ variations and I’m really interested in this one.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts in the review.


    I enjoy alot reading abigail reynolds variation, and this is such a inedit, new fresh idea. Everything will change, and I’m ratehr curious to know darcy will react once he disocevers that she didn’t read the letter but burnt it !
    and I’d like to know why, she did it >< so great ..I'm trilling to read it. your review made me wanna read it even more than before I can assure YOU !


    I seem to expect in the Austen variations that they will anticipate their vows. It shocked me the first couple of times but now it doesn’t. I bought this book a couple of months ago and can’t wait to read it. Great review, as always!


      I do to, Anna. And it isn’t something that bothers me much, just in this instance I was bothered with how quickly it happened. I had this siting on my shelf for a couple of months too and I was so happy to finally be able to get to it! Looking forward to hearing your thoughts, Anna!


    I read this last weekend. I already knew from the reviews that they were going to be intimate rather soon so it wasn’t a surprise for me. I can see why in this particular story they would succumb to that urge, though, after everything being so tumultuous. The location left something to be desired though! Lol The thing that made this story different for me is, usually after they are intimate, especially before the wedding, it’s smooth sailing; here, it wasn’t.

    I love all of Abigail’s books and hope we get lots more.


      Monica, I love the steamy scenes Abigail Reynolds writes. I’ve read intimate scenes from several authors and have found Abigail’s to be the most natural and romantic. It never feels awkward and she most definitely makes the temperature rise! I hope we get lots more too!


    I can’t wait to read more of Abigail’s wonderful books! I thought “From Lambton to Longbourn” was one of her best together with “To Conquer Mr. Darcy” I can’t wait to read the next one in the long line of Abigail’s great books!

    Abigail Reynolds’ books are the best and I hope there will be more!


      I totally agree with you Sophia! I love anything Abigail writes! My favorite one is Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy! I will buy anything she writes! Her books are treasures!


    Thanks for the insights Meredith. Your reviews are perfection.

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