An Unattached Frontiersman in Possession of Property in the Pacific Northwest Must be in Want of a Mail-Order Bride!
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars!
Source: Gift from Author
TYPE OF AUSTENESQUE NOVEL: Pride and Prejudice Retelling
SETTING: Oregon, 1869
MAIN CHARACTERS: Elizabeth and Jane Bennet, Mr. Darcy, and Mr. Bingley
SYNOPSIS: Through her Uncle Gardiner, who has just recently returned from the Pacific Northwest, Jane Bennet receives a letter requesting marriage from an unknown Charles Bingley. Needing help with her reply, Jane turns to her sister Elizabeth who is happy to lend a hand. But after several more exchanges Elizabeth finds herself more than charmed by Mr. Bingley’s correspondence. Oh no! Is she losing her heart to her sister’s suitor!?! Jane isn’t the only one who asked for help, Charles friend, Mr. Darcy, is providing the same service! And it seems he may have fallen for ‘Jane’ Bennet, so much so that he sent a marriage proposal to Jane’s sister! Mr. Darcy secretly hopes Charles will fall in love with Elizabeth at first sight, and that he will be able to claim his heart’s desire…his perfect companion, Jane Bennet…!
WHAT I LOVED:
– Unique and Unusual: Oregon in 1869, mail-order brides, Darcy and Elizabeth both in love with the wrong people?!? Such an original and imaginative recreation of Jane Austen’s beloved story! I love that J. Dawn King took us to such a refreshingly unique setting and situation. While I’ve read many forced marriage/compromised scenarios, mail-order bride scenarios are something quite different. I also loved the humorous mix-up over the letters, it added a small does of angst to the story!
– Frontier Life: I loved the setting for this story! I greatly admire the people who moved out west and established their own homestead. The men who worked outside from sunup to sundown, then women who did everything from gardening, cooking, cleaning, and farm chores all in the same day. It was so interesting to see Jane Austen’s characters – who we usually see with plenty of leisure time and servants – live such a different kind of lifestyle. In addition, Ms. King’s depictions of the lush landscape and natural beauty of Oregon were inviting, picturesque, and serene. I will forever associate this story with porch rocking chairs and peaches… 😉
– Elizabeth: I think Elizabeth was born to live in the untamed wilderness of the west! It takes a lot of hard work and strength of character, and Ms. King shows how well Lizzy handles all the challenges given to her in this new environment. Especially considering how she left her home and family and moved to a foreign territory only to make the heart-wrenching discovery that her husband (that she just met!) is in love with her sister! Rather than be angry or depressed by all these unhappy events, she strives to make her new home and life peaceful and content. Our Lizzy “isn’t formed for ill-humor” or melancholy!
– Falling For Each Other: Poor Darcy and Elizabeth have a lot to deal with in this story! But it is lovely to witness how their hearts turn towards each other and see their affection grow. It isn’t all at once, there is a lovely build up with growing understanding and heartwarming tenderness. I appreciated the contrast between the Darcys’ marriage and the Bingleys’, who fell in love instantly and were blithely happy from the beginning. Some things are better for the struggle.
WHAT I WASN’T TOO FOND OF:
– Wickham and Lydia: This is more of a petulant whine really, but I wasn’t too fond of how Lydia and Wickham commandeered a lot of page time from Darcy and Elizabeth just when things were getting good! Ack!
Filled with rugged terrain, rough hardships, and rocky relationships – this unique and enthralling retelling of Pride and Prejudice is one that I thoroughly enjoyed! A perfect choice for readers who enjoy gripping western romance, and definitely my new favorite from J. Dawn King!