Nov 202017

What If a Head Injury Stole Eleven Years of Memories from Elizabeth Darcy?

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Source: Purchased

After almost eleven years of wedded bliss, Elizabeth Darcy wakes up from a head injury not remembering anything beyond the Hunsford proposal. Darcy’s offensive and arrogant proposal and her vehement rejection is the last encounter she remembers with the loathsome man she apparently married many years ago. With four children in their household and one on the way, Elizabeth’s injury and memory-loss are taken very seriously. She is forced to submit to bedrest to protect her unborn baby and ensure her strength during its delivery. Elizabeth has much to learn about all the events of her life in the past eleven years, but the event she finds most unfathomable is how she became married to the last man in the world she “could ever be prevailed upon to marry”…

Poor Mr. Darcy is forced to revert to one of the most painful times of his life. A time where his love was unreturned and his chances of future happiness seemed very improbable. His wife does not currently return any feelings of love and affection towards him. In fact, she very much mistrusts him, dislikes him, and perpetually assumes the worst about him. And that is where the crux of the problem lies:

“You cannot recall choosing me. You do not recall my making myself acceptable to you. Our joys, our triumphs, our fears, ours suffering are unknown to you. Elizabeth, you are trapped in a life you did not wish for, one you violently rejected.” (page 158)

Gah!!! Isn’t that heart-wrenching?!? And so like Darcy to see how all of this is perceived by her, to understand how she must view him, and to cautiously keep away in accordance with her unspoken wishes. One of the things I loved most about this imaginative and poignant story was witnessing the tender and compassionate actions of a most incomparable Mr. Darcy. A Mr. Darcy that is utterly selfless and giving. A reflective Mr. Darcy that sees the flaws in his own character and upbringing and thoughtfully decides to do differently by his children. How easy it was to once again fall irrevocably in love with Mr. Darcy in this tale!

I applaud Ms. Galvia for dreaming up such a creative premise. Many authors show Darcy and Elizabeth deal with their misunderstandings and conflicts before becoming engaged or as newlyweds, but not many show Darcy and Elizabeth facing some discord and distance after several years of marriage. It was an interesting premise to explore, especially as it uncovers and slowly reveals the past experiences of these two characters. I thought the myriad of Elizabeth’s feelings and reactions such as confusion, doubt, frustration, guilt, pity, respect, and admiration were all eloquently represented. I truly enjoyed the slow progression of Elizabeth’s emotional development. Just because she loved Mr. Darcy in the past doesn’t mean she can easily will herself to do so now.  And with her expressive portrayal of Mr. Darcy’s anguish and affection my heart felt his pain and was warmed by his exemplary devotion.

Another element I enjoyed in this tale were all the little details included to give readers some history of the Darcys’ lives up until this point. I loved learning about their children and witnessing their individual personalities and proclivities. And being privy to some of the letters Elizabeth received and wrote was an exceptionally lovely touch; it revealed a lot about the past to Elizabeth and the reader. Nothing in this story was extraneous; it all helped fill in the gaps of the past and complete the picture of Elizabeth’s life.

Emotive, articulate, and exquisitely rendered – Side by Side, Apart is a phenomenal debut release by Ann Galvia! It introduces some realism and turmoil into the Darcys’ lives – which may not be everyone’s cup of tea – but for my part, I often delight in Pride and Prejudice tales that are more inventive and daring. Especially when they are beautifully and thoughtfully composed like this one! I highly recommend!

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  28 Responses to “Side by Side, Apart – Ann Galvia”


    Wonderful review! This one has been on my wish list for quite a while. I think it’s just moved to the top of the list!


    Beautiful review that completely captures this story perfectly!!! I absolutely loved this book! You do feel Darcy’s pain and Elizabeth’s frustration…just a great outside the box novel!


    Meredith, I couldn’t agree with you more. I have loved this novel for a long time, including the bravery of Ann Galvia in not making Elizabeth’s recovery all pat and simple. The complexity is what makes it compelling and memorable. Thank you for an excellent review.


      So glad to hear you are such a fan of this story, Suzan! Thanks so much for checking out my review! 🙂 I agree about it not being simple. Normally I would want the resolution to feel complete and defined, but I found myself liking what Ms. Galvia did here – it felt like things may progress but perhaps slowly. Very well said!


    I remember reading this on a forum and now I’ll have to revisit. Thanks for your review!


    Oh Meredith, I completely 100% agree with everything you said in your perfect review. What an amazingly wonderful story. Time to reread it. (The chief reason my TBR never gets manageable.)

    I see you completed your goal of 60 books in time to enjoy the holidays. Well deserved, Lady. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.


      Hi Michelle! You are so sweet – my review is far from perfect! I am so glad to hear you loved this one! And it is definitely one I plan to reread in the future!

      Thanks, my sweet friend! I may set a higher goal next year – trying to keep up with all these terrific authors and new books that come out! Wishing you a very happy Thanksgiving!!


    I loved this one, it’s just so well done. I’m glad you read it too. I felt for everybody in this story, and like you say, couldn’t help but fall in love with this Mr Darcy.


    I read this as an unpublished story and then reread it when it was published – posted my own review – LOVED it. Darcy made me fall in love with him all over again. Great review, Meredith. Excellent book.


    Oh-My-Gosh, Meredith, I loved your review. It brought back the memories I had when I read this. I simply loved this Darcy… Man-Oh-man. And… OMG!! I love that cover. It speaks volumes and I simply adore it. I loved the references to the other Austen books with the creative use of names. I just wish there had been a resolution to the many threads left dangling or the many questions I still had.


      Thank you, Jeanne! I’m so glad to hear it brought back lovely memories for you! It is such a terrific read! And I agree, the cover fits this story so perfectly!


    This is probably one of my all-time favorite P&P sequels. Glad you loved it, too, Meredith!


    Meredith, you have emphasized all of the things about this novel and this writer that I have loved from the very beginning. There is a concise quality to Ms. Galvia’s descriptions that makes them all the more poignant and poetic for being absolutely no longer than they need to be. I am heartened to see this novel get an excellent review from an excellent reviewer. Your readers might like to know it first appeared on forums as “Bruises”, which while a great name for the story after having read it, would be off-putting to modern readers, who would assume from the name that it is a wholly different type of tale than it is. I did not read it online at first until I was assured by people I trust that it is one of the best JAFF novels ever written. And it is.


      So well said, Linda! I appreciate your sharing your thoughts so much and only wish I said it as well as you did in my review! 😉 I agree about the title, Bruises and how it does fit the story but may send a wrong idea about the content.


    What a lovely review Meredith. I have had this book on my wish list for ever but was a little worried about the angst level. However I love the sound of this Darcy so I will move it to my To buy next list. Thank you .


      Thank you, Glynis! I would recommend giving this one a try, I don’t think the angst level will be too much. There are plenty of sweet and loving moments that balance it all out.


    enjoyed your review. this one has been on my tbr list for awhile. hope to get to it soon.


    Yes, I read this online and uploaded it to my Kindle where I keep re-reading it. It’s a lovely and heart-rending story!!


    I loved this story as much as you did too. The complexities of their relationship and the authentic nature of their interactions is so compelling. It’s one I’ll reread again and again.

    Fabulous review, Meredith!

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