Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Source: Review Copy from Author
TYPE OF AUSTENESQUE NOVEL: Pride and Prejudice Variation
TIME FRAME: Begins the day before Wickham marries Lydia
SYNOPSIS: Just at the pivotal moment where Mr. Darcy begins to hope that all is not lost between him and Elizabeth Bennet, he is taken from London and presumed missing. What becomes of Lydia and Wickham – do they still marry? What about Georgiana and Pemberley – who will take care and guard both from greedy opportunists? What about Elizabeth Bennet – will she ever move on and forgive herself? But perhaps the most pressing question needing to be answered is who has taken Mr. Darcy and what do they want from him…
WHAT I LOVED:
- Bewitching and Intricate: Such a daring and unconventional premise! We’ve seen Darcy in peril before – captured or at the hands of nefarious individuals – but I don’t think I’ve come across many tales where he is pronounced dead. With a body confirmed, testimonies given, and a private funeral held, this variation has a most bleak and heart-wrenching beginning. But fortunately, our Colonel Fitzwilliam demands justice for cousin. And his search leads him to cherish a small and seemingly ludicrous hope. I loved how this story kept me guessing! Of course I knew that certain aspects had to resolve in such a way, but there were many twists on twists that I didn’t see coming. And yet I see how Ms. Clarkston dropped all these subtle hints along the way…
- Depths of Love: Oh, talk about soul-piercing! Forget half agony, half hope, this is full agony and no hope! Seeing Elizabeth mourn, fully realize her love, come to cherish Mr. Darcy’s love, and regret every moment of blindness and mistaken assumptions was quite an emotional experience. Agh!! Her devotion to Mr. Darcy and secret suffering wrenched my heart multiple times and brought tears streaming down my cheeks. I loved not just the intensity of Darcy’s and Elizabeth’s love for each other, but its depth. The strength of their love is unfathomable and unbreakable, and it is amazing to see how they drew such comfort and fortitude from their ardent love. Even in the midst of their despair and hopelessness.
- A Myriad of Emotions: Some may be hesitant to read this story knowing that it contains no small amount of angst and grief. However, despair and yearning are not the only emotions readers encounter in this sizable saga. There are loathsome and sinister villains to detest, family secrets that bewilder and arouse suspicion, heartwarming friendships to witness, eccentric behaviors to chuckle at, and enough action and adventure to hold you spellbound. I absolutely adored how Ms. Clarkston evoked so many strong and well-balanced emotions with her story.
- Countless Threads: As I showed in my synopsis there are so many questions needing answers in this tale. I love how Ms. Clarkston revealed the answers with excruciatingly slow deliberateness. 😉 And yet the pace of the story never felt slow because we were constantly switching from each characters’ perspective. The action of the story takes place all over and the key characters are numerous and widespread. The reader jumps from Longbourn to London, from Pemberley to Portugal countless times. I must commend Ms. Clarkston for interweaving these threads so skillfully. Her story created quite the intricate tapestry, and the multiple threads she entwined never felt overwhelming or unnecessary.
- Colonel Fitzwilliam: He is the true hero of this tale and I adored seeing his character fleshed out in this adventure. I loved that Ms. Clarkston gave this strong man of action a romantic story worthy of him, and his devotion to Darcy and Georgiana was heartwarming to witness.
- Lydia Wickham: Plucky Lydia comes into her own in this tale and I found her developing relationships with several characters delightfully surprising. I like when authors draw from some positive traits (confidence and quickness) she shares with her sister.
WHAT I WASN’T TOO FOND OF:
- Oh, that this enthralling and epic saga came to an end. I wish it could have continued forever! 😉
NOTE: Since there are a few brief scenes of violence, a short scene of attempted sexual violence, and a few amorous embraces, I’d recommend this tale for Mature Audiences.
In an exceptionally expressive, compelling, and mesmerizing tale, Nicole Clarkston presents a splendidly executed Pride and Prejudice adventure filled with romance, intrigue, history, danger, conspiracy, devotion, and hope. This outstanding and remarkable saga will consume and captivate you!