Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Source: Review Copy from Author
TYPE OF AUSTENESQUE NOVEL: Pride and Prejudice Variation
TIME FRAME: Netherfield Ball through the summer + epilogue
MAIN CHARACTERS: Mr. Darcy, Elizabeth Bennet, Lydia Bennet, Jane Bennet, Colonel Fitzwilliam, Anne de Bourgh, Lady Catherine de Bourgh, Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner
SYNOPSIS: Elizabeth and one of her sisters carry some heavy and secret burdens in this variation. They face harsh realities, disappointment in those they thought they could depend on, and Elizabeth quickly learns that her abilities at sketching a person’s character are not to be trusted. When Elizabeth encounters Mr. Darcy in Kent she knows she misjudged him, but it takes her awhile to learn by how much. Will she be able to trust him with her heart and her sister’s secret, or will something happen that proves to Elizabeth that he is a man not worthy of her faith and trust…
WHAT I LOVED:
- The Premise: Pamela Lynne threw a wrench in the plot that changes the fate and charted course of several characters and I loved it! It is a bit darker and grittier – and I think it a very realistic possibility. (Slight spoiler alert! With how flirtatious, imprudent, and daring Lydia is, seeing her in this kind of trouble felt plausible. And Mr. Bennet’s lazy, hands-off approach in dealing with the situation was not too hard to believe given his indolent nature.) Lydia isn’t often a featured character in Pride and Prejudice variations, she is usually the impetus that takes Darcy away from Elizabeth just as they were about to come to an understanding. I really enjoyed seeing a premise that focused on Lydia (in a more positive light) and I delighted in the relationship that developed between her and Elizabeth.
- Romance in the Forest: (or should I say grove!) I loved seeing how Elizabeth’s experiences in Meryton altered her reaction to Mr. Darcy in Kent. Their quiet walks in the grove take quite a different turn. I loved watching Darcy wordlessly express his ardent love and adoration for Elizabeth in these walks. As Marianne would say “it was every day implied, but never professedly declared.” But unlike Willoughby, Darcy’s intentions are most honorable and his attentions to Elizabeth are mesmerizing to witness. To see these two share such moments alone and have their actions, tender looks, and comfortable banter speak of their love was utterly romantic!
- Daring and Unique Character Alterations: With the plethora of Pride and Prejudice variations being published every year, I find it refreshing when an author decides to tweak the nature and personality of one or two of Jane Austen’s characters a little. (I don’t care for it when too many changes or liberties occur in the same novel, but some believable alterations are always interesting to explore!) In this variation, readers will see a more grounded and selfless version of Lydia (which is quite understandable given what she has been through) and a more spiteful and jealous version of Colonel Fitzwilliam (which also is plausible, he is a second son with a cousin and brother who receive large inheritances and estates). I loved seeing a Lydia who was mature and likable for a change, and even though I adore Colonel Fitzwilliam, I enjoyed witnessing what a disgruntled and jealous Colonel Fitzwilliam does when he is discontented with his lot in life.
- A Perfect Balance: Romance, action, banter, conflict, page-time for minor characters, satisfying conclusions for all – Pamela Lynne struck a wonderful balance with all these components and I could not feel anything but delight and pleasure with this story. There was a lot going on and I really appreciated how Ms. Lynne gave each character attention, careful thought, and detail. I’m especially glad she didn’t forget about Mr. Bingley in the end! 😉
WHAT I WASN’T TOO FOND OF:
- Zip. Nada. Nothing!
WARNING: I’d recommend this book for PG-13 audiences. Nothings takes place on page, but references to sexual situations are made.
Sketching Character is a brave, intuitive, and skillfully written Pride and Prejudice variation! I appreciated the darker premise, the honest emotions and consequences, and the exquisitely beautiful romance that takes place in a most sheltered and romantic setting! I very much adore this new novel by Pamela Lynne (perhaps a smidgen more than I do Dearest Friends) and I am all eager anticipation to see what she writes next!