Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Source: Review Copy from Author
In her second Austenesque release, author Ginger Monette transports readers to battlefields and field hospitals of The Great War in a touching and emotionally turbulent retelling of Pride and Prejudice. A retelling that is two volumes in length – Darcy’s Hope: Beauty From Ashes and Darcy’s Hope At Donwell Abbey. In this series readers will meet Captain Fitzwilliam Darcy, who, after being rejected by the woman he loves and barely surviving the horrors of the Somme, has built some walls around his heart and has adopted a stone-cold disposition. And the woman who broke his heart is none other than Elizabeth Bennet, a Voluntary Aide Detachment nurse assistant who dreams of one day becoming a doctor and bears a burning resentment for Captain Darcy whom she blames for much of the tragedy and loss her family has faced.
While they’ve had previous encounters in Meryton and Kent, Darcy and Elizabeth come upon each other once again in the spring of 1917. Captain Darcy is assigned a secret espionage mission at Beaumanoir, (or ‘The Ritz’ as it is more affectionately known), a French chateau serving as a field hospital. Elizabeth just happens to be serving as a private nursemaid to Beaumanoir’s elderly owner, Monsiuer Dubois. What happens when they meet again? The tension, drama, and emotions run high in this tale with the search for a traitorous mole, the devastating tragedies of war, and our hero and heroine suffering through their heartbreak, pain, and resentment…
Oh my! How I adore stories like this one that beautifully interweave a significant time in history, new situations and conflicts, and Jane Austen’s characters. I loved how Ms. Monette explored the emotional well-being of both Darcy and Elizabeth during this time period. At such a time and setting as this, pride, prejudice, and society become a lot less significant, and there are different and more challenging obstacles for Darcy and Elizabeth to overcome. Both have experienced a lot of pain and hurt and have found other ways to deal with their over-whelming emotions, and both have adopted a practice of unflinching self-preservation.
My thoughts and emotions were deeply entrenched with these characters as I witnessed them deal with these deeper issues and internal battles. I love how emotionally affected I felt towards the events and characters of this story. How I felt chills and goosebumps when the soldiers began to chant ‘Dum Spiro Spero,’ how I became choked up with tears when witnessing a character in anguish and pain, and how my heart did a triple flip on the last page when things unexpectedly changed. I love it when a story makes me feel so much.
Aside from Ginger Monette’s overall brilliant construction and execution of a Pride and Prejudice retelling in a World War I setting and our hero’s and heroine’s powerful and moving internal emotional development, I loved the new cast of characters introduced in this story. They were so well-drawn – Mr. Dubois seems like such a dear and Dr. Cowart such a hilarious braggart! In addition, I loved our introduction to Robert Knightley (who seems to have found himself in similar situation as Matthew Crowley of Downton Abbey) and it was interesting to meet a more commanding and ruthless Colonel Fitzwilliam.
Beautiful composed and richly researched, Darcy’s Hope: Beauty from Ashes is a stellar example of fine Austenesque literature. Ms. Monette has crafted an exceptionally moving story complete with a compelling plot, danger, mystery, action, introspection, vivid detail, and an emotionally wrought romance. Even if you are not one to enjoy war stories, I entreat you to give this one a try!
Note: And for those who love immersing themselves completely in what they read, Ms. Monette has created a lovely and extensive visual companion in Lizzy’s Scrapbook. A special feature accessible to those who purchase the book and sign up for Ginger Monette’s newsletter. There are so many images to enjoy – characters, uniforms, scenes of war, and places and items mentioned in the story – it really enhances the readers’ experience.
~ Upcoming Posts ~
For those who want to see more of Ginger Monette, she will be visiting Austenesque Reviews again February 8th and I will be reviewing Darcy’s Hope At Donwell on February 20th!