Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Source: Review Copy from Author
TYPE OF AUSTENESQUE NOVEL: Variation
SETTING: An Alternate Starting Point from P&P – April 1810, before Darcy and Elizabeth have met
MAIN CHARACTERS: Darcy, Elizabeth Bennet, Mr. George Darcy, Lady Catherine, Rebecca Matlock (Darcy’s grandmother), Mr. Gardiner
- Poor Darcy – What if Mr. George Darcy was still alive and was more insistent than Lady Catherine about Darcy marrying his cousin Anne? What if he gave Darcy a two-week ultimatum to propose on his own or be disowned and never see Georgiana again?
- Poor Elizabeth – What if a horrific carriage accident left Elizabeth as the sole survivor in the care of her two uncles – Mr. Phillips and Mr. Gardiner (who is involved with smuggling instead of respectable trade)? What if Mr. Gardiner, desperate for funds, plans to trade Elizabeth to his so-called business partner to absolve himself of some of his debt?
- What if Darcy overheard this plan and felt compelled to rescue this unknown and friendless young maiden? What if they find a plan that mutually helps both of them escape their undesired situations…
WHAT I LOVED:
- A Wholly Unique Premise: As you can tell from the synopsis, this is a big divergence from our typical Pride and Prejudice canon. With such drastic alterations there is very little in common with P&P – in fact this story could probably work just as well as a standalone traditional Regency romance. I loved this unique premise! There was desperation, danger, a daring rescue – it was fascinating and gripping! I don’t mind a change in scenario or alteration in character as long as they don’t suspend disbelief too far and are fairly plausible (which these changes were!)
- A Family Affair: In this variation the focus is on the Darcy and Fitzwilliam families, rather than the Bennets! I absolutely adored Darcy’s no-nonsense and spirited grandmother! She is extremely loyal to her family, fearless, quick-witted, and has a compassionate and selfless nature. The Darcys are extremely fortunate to have her support! In addition, I loved spending time with the other Fitzwilliam relations – seeing them come together and assist each other when faced against Lady Catherine and Mr. George Darcy warmed my heart! I especially loved witnessing their reactions when these oppressive opponents tried to selfishly get their way.
- Sweet and Sensual Romance: Similar to her first novel, Rain and Retribution, Ms. Diamond places Darcy and Elizabeth in a forced situation where they hardly know each and beautifully develops their relationships with gradual understanding and affection. I loved witnessing how their feelings slowly and tentatively progressed and seeing Darcy so protective, caring, and utterly besotted. The burgeoning and passionate romance between them was so lovely to witness, and that moment when Darcy pulls Elizabeth closer in bed and tells her “I promise I will not bite…” (can you say swoon???)
WHAT I WASN’T TOO FOND OF:
- The Premise Had So Much Potential: This part of the review is hard for me because I was so very much engaged and riveted to the first half of this book! The dangerous plots and situations, the sinister and scheming antagonists, and the uncertainty of what they would do when their plans were foiled – it was all so gripping! However, it seemed the second half of the book did not hold the same energy and excitement, it felt like all the antagonists were in retreat or eliminated. We saw a lot more of the day-to-day activities of normal life and Elizabeth’s pregnancy than anything else. And while it was lovely to see Darcy and Elizabeth after marriage, I missed the thrilling conflict we had in the beginning.
- Some Small/Nagging Quibbles (SPOILER ALERT!): Some things just didn’t sit right with me in this tale – like the treatment of Lady Catherine after Anne’s death, Georgiana’s amazing awareness and forethought around Wickham, and how Thomas Grayson (who seemed to be the most sinister villain in this story) pretty much disappeared until a passing mention of his fate in the epilogue.
- Some intimate and sensual scenes (which weren’t too explicit or frequent!) Recommended for Mature Audiences.
The imaginative premise, daring character alterations, and inspiring romance in this variation are what I love best about L.L. Diamond’s prose. In An Unwavering Trust, L.L. Diamond creates a fascinating and inventive Pride and Prejudice variation that will be sure to surprise and delight readers who enjoy seeing these characters overcome new challenges and atypical obstacles!