Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Source: Review Copy from Publisher
TYPE OF AUSTENESQUE NOVEL: Pride and Prejudice Variation
TIME FRAME: Just before Bingley and Darcy come to Meryton
MAIN CHARACTERS: Our usual Pride and Prejudice cast plus Henry and Francis Warren, Elizabeth’s deceased husband and his brother
SYNOPSIS: Taking a sizable step away from the Pride and Prejudice canon, Ms. D’Orazio tells a story of Elizabeth Bennet experiencing a whirlwind romance and marrying Henry Warren, the Earl of Courtenay, at the age of seventeen. Unfortunately, happily ever after doesn’t last long as Elizabeth’s husband is killed by a group of radicals. In order to protect herself and her unborn child Elizabeth must hide her identity and leave her husband’s ancestral home until all those involved with the murder are apprehended. Two years later finds Elizabeth in Meryton, where everyone publicly acknowledges her as Elizabeth Bennet, unmarried daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Bennet. And when a wealthy, reserved man from Derbyshire comes to town he believes that is who she is… a country maiden with no wealth or consequence, and therefore, sadly, not for him. (Even though his heart wishes it were otherwise!)
WHAT I LOVED:
– Striking and Compelling: Gah! What a premise! Elizabeth mourning her first love? Darcy not knowing who she really is? Scandal, danger, secrets, political plots – there are so many layers and twists in this tale – what a riveting adventure! This has to be some of the stiffest competition I’ve ever seen Darcy face! (and of course he makes his usual terrible first impression and Elizabeth can’t stand him!) And just when I thought things have sorted themselves out and settled down, the rug was ripped right out from underneath us in the most inconceivable way!! And then we were knocked for a loop with another startling twist! Complete derailment! I confess I didn’t see any of it coming and it had me stunned. Jaw-on-the-floor stunned! Brilliantly executed, Ms. D’Orazio!
– Emotionally Invested: In this story we witness both Darcy and Elizabeth in anguish and gut-wrenching turmoil! (I was sobbing and could feel myself falling to pieces over it all!) The emotion was so beautifully and powerfully rendered. I couldn’t help but feeling what Darcy and Elizabeth were feeling. Brava to Ms. D’Orazio for creating such a strong and poignant story that affects the readers and engages so many emotions.
– Darcy’s Love: Darcy’s love for Elizabeth is completely unselfish and unreserved, and he continuously proves how earnestly devoted he is to her happiness and well-being. Darcy was fully aware that their marriage would begin as one of unequal affections and he welcomed it anyway, and was never resentful or upset over Elizabeth’s feelings for her first husband. I adored how he would treasure and cherish any affection or special moment she shared with him. This is the kind of love that makes you swoon!
– Tender and Light-Hearted Moments: Don’t worry, this story has many sweet and happy scenes as well! Especially between Elizabeth and her son, and Mr. Darcy and her son. 🙂 In addition, there were many laugh-out-loud moments with Mrs. Bennet who tries to deter Jane for forming an attachment with Mr. Bingley! (Her sister is a countess! Mr. Bingley is not good enough for the Bennets now! LOL!)
– First Love vs. Forever Love: I really appreciate how the author portrayed Elizabeth’s different feelings of love. Knowing how hard it is for readers to see Elizabeth in love with anyone other than Darcy, Ms. D’ Orazio stresses the different kinds of love Elizabeth feels for these two great men in her life. One love that grew rapidly and was carefree, and one that overcame obstacles and blossomed slowly. I greatly enjoyed Elizabeth’s emotional journey and felt it evolved flawlessly.
WHAT I WASN’T TOO FOND OF:
Puh-lease! Not a thing! 😉
NOTE: I’d recommend this story for Mature Audiences as there is one or two descriptions of intimate scenes.
In a suspenseful and enthralling tale of sinister plots, tragic loss, and danger grows an achingly beautiful and powerful journey of love that is sure to warm your heart and entangle your emotions! Expressive, sensitive, and captivating – The Best Part of Love is truly an outstanding debut from Amy D’Orazio! I cannot wait to see what she does next!