Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Source: Review Copy from Author
TYPE OF AUSTENESQUE NOVEL: Pride and Prejudice Variation
TIME FRAME: Book 2 begins just after Elizabeth and the Gardiners hastily depart for Longbourn
MAIN CHARACTERS: Elizabeth Bennet, Mr. Darcy, Georgiana Darcy, Mr. Bennet, Mrs. Bennet, Charles Bingley, Caroline Bingley, George Wickham, Mrs. Fortin
SYNOPSIS: Just when Darcy feels Elizabeth’s opinion of him is about to change for the better, she unexpectedly departs from Pemberley with the Gardiners. And when he finds out why they left, Darcy leaves for Longbourn straight away, determined to save the Bennet family and deliver the carefully planned proposal he has been practicing to his dearest, loveliest Elizabeth. But what Darcy doesn’t anticipate, is another refusal! What will he do now?!?
WHAT I LOVED:
- Pride and Prejudice On Its Ear: Ohhh! I love how nothing is going according to plan in this variation! Darcy almost immediately proposes again (ack! too soon Darcy!), Elizabeth refuses him again, and everyone goes on a wild-goose chase to find Lydia, who isn’t where she is suppose to be! With everything being backwards and off-course this variation was an enthralling adventure. I loved the premise and found myself riveted to this mad-cap and unpredictable journey.
- Darcy’s Point-of-View: I always love getting inside Darcy’s head and Monica Fairview does a marvelous job of portraying a very intensely emotive and reflective Darcy. Poor, poor Darcy! He is challenged, dejected, and paying a high price for his past mistakes. I greatly enjoyed seeing Darcy’s development and personal growth in this variation, he learns a lot about himself, Elizabeth, and marriage. And I especially loved seeing his emotional turmoil over his feelings for Elizabeth. *swoon*
- Georgiana, Caroline, and Bingley: I loved seeing these characters developed more in this series. Georgiana is her brother’s confidant and often helps him sort his feelings and ideas out. I love that she comes to his rescue and didn’t always listen to Mrs. Annesley. I also liked witnessing Caroline’s friendship with Georgiana, and seeing her portrayed in a kinder light, (I think Ms. Fairview has a soft spot for dear Caro). And I greatly enjoyed seeing Bingley claim his piece of the action, and get frustrated with Darcy for not letting him share in the heroic deeds! (Attaboy, Bingley!)
- Miss Marshall, Mrs. Fortin, and Briggs: Monica Fairview created a fabulous crew of original characters with this series! I enjoyed seeing two new females introduced as possible candidates for Mr. Darcy’s hand in marriage. Both characters were well-drawn, fresh, and effectively stirred up some drama. In addition, I adored Briggs, Mr. Darcy’s valet, for his impertinence and atypical easy-rapport and ribbing with Mr. Darcy. 🙂
WHAT I WASN’T TOO FOND OF:
- What is Elizabeth Thinking?: While seeing everything from Darcy’s perspective is wonderful, it does leave us wondering how and when Elizabeth’s change of heart occurs. I would have loved to learn more about what Elizabeth felt and thought…but I’m thinking this might be coming in The Darcy Novels #3 though. 🙂
- Connecting Links: In some ways I sort of felt Mr. Darcy’s Pledge and Mr. Darcy’s Challenge were a little disjointed from each other. There were some story-lines from Mr. Darcy’s Pledge that I would have liked to see more of in Mr. Darcy’s Challenge, like the Matlocks and Miss Marshall. But again, perhaps we will see more of these characters in The Darcy Novels #3!
Full of chaos, turbulent emotions, and drama Mr. Darcy’s Challenge by Monica Fairview is a most diverting read! Like all of Monica Fairview’s stories, this tale was written with a lot of originality, heart, and wit – I can’t wait to read the next installment of The Darcy Novels!