Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Source: Review Copy from Publisher
TYPE OF AUSTENESQUE NOVEL: Two variations (approximately 120-140 pages each) that explore two different possible outcomes of Darcy’s proposal at Hunsford Parsonage
TIME FRAME: The first variation (The Road Not Taken) begins the day of Darcy’s proposal and continues forty-two years into the future. The second variation (The Sleeper Wakes) begins early in the day of Darcy’s proposal and continues seven months into the future.
MAIN CHARACTERS: Elizabeth, Mr. Darcy, Jane Bennet, Lydia Bennet, Charlotte Collins, and the whole gang…
SYNOPSIS: The Road Not Taken explores the questions: What if the coincidental meeting at Pemberley never took place? What if Darcy didn’t learn about Lydia’s scandalous elopement until it was too late? The Sleeper Wakes explores the questions: What if Charlotte addressed her concerns and suppositions more forcefully with Elizabeth? What if Elizabeth realized ahead of time the negative consequences her refusal of Mr. Darcy might have on her family and more specifically her sister?
WHAT I LOVED:
- The Little Touches: I loved how the two variations were plausibly and cleverly connected to each other by a thread. I’m always a fan of when authors begin each chapter with an epigraph and/or date. I admire the time, thought, and work it takes into finding apropos quotes and I appreciate having a definite timeline or being able to know the passage of time. Loved the Q&A at the end of the book; very informative and thorough.
- Writing Style: In both variations, readers can expect to spend a lot of time in Darcy’s and Elizabeth’s heads. And by his emotive and expressive writing, I can tell that Mr. Odom spent a lot of time in their heads as well. Rather than tell what the characters were thinking, Mr. Odom showed it. I loved the myriad of emotions I felt when reading this novel: despair, hurt, shock, sorrow, apprehension, relief, and happiness, to name a few. 🙂
- Exploring the Consequences: Loved that this book was 2-in-1! The Road Not Taken, while completely heart-wrenching (and maybe a tad more depressing than it needed to be) sort of reminded me of an Austenesque version of It’s A Wonderful Life – we got to see what Elizabeth’s life would have been like if she never encountered Darcy again after rejecting him. I must add how much I loved Darcy in this variation. We thought he was noble, protective, and a man violently in love before…but, oh my, is he ever more so during these unfortunate events! I loved how The Sleeper Wakes explored Elizabeth’s feelings and ideals. Elizabeth goes against her natural grain in this one and wrestles between Charlotte’s practical and prudent beliefs and her own partial and prejudiced ones. Loved seeing Elizabeth ponder over Mr. Darcy and his proposal, rather than lash out with barely-repressed anger.
WHAT I WASN’T TOO FOND OF:
- Ending on a Wickham Note: Even though I love me some angst, I was much more in love with the second variation of this piece. I loved everything about it up until the end, where Wickham and his sordid past started to take up too much valuable Darcy and Elizabeth page time! 😉 Perhaps I’d be okay with Wickham’s twenty-page hijack if there were another twenty pages following his interruption showing more of Elizabeth’s change of heart rather than jumping to the epilogue six months later. (The dastardly Wickham strikes again!)
While there are many Pride and Prejudice variations out there that explore similar scenarios to the two presented in this novel, I really enjoyed the thoughtful way these variations were constructed and intertwined. Consequences is emotionally turbulent and inherently reflective, so be ready to have your heart and mind engaged and occupied!