Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Source: Review Copy from Author
– What if Jane Bennet was away touring the Lake District with the Gardiners when Mr. Bingley first arrived?
– What if Mr. Bingley first encountered Elizabeth alone while his sisters and Mr. Darcy were still in London?
– What if Jane Bennet meets an attractive and eligible suitor while touring the Lake District?
Doesn’t this sound like a most intriguing and inventive scenario to explore?!? It is always fun to see stories that mix and match Jane Austen’s couples and bring about some new possibilities. And I especially love it when authors give Mr. Darcy some competition, whether it be Colonel Fitzwilliam, George Wickham, or an entirely new character! In this story we see a bit of unique romantic triangle forming as Mr. Bingley immediately shows a marked preference for the lovely and lively Elizabeth Bennet. And since Jane is not there to attract his notice first, it is plausible that Mr. Bingley would be drawn to Elizabeth – they both are very sociable, fun-loving, and active. But what happens when Jane Bennet returns? What about her gentleman suitor from the Lake District? What about Mr. Darcy?
So many questions needing to be answered! But perhaps the one question I most enjoyed exploring is – what happens when Mr. Darcy realizes he is drawn to Elizabeth Bennet? Gah! Although, Mr. Darcy grapples a little with Elizabeth’s lack of connections and horrendously behaving family, his main dilemma is witnessing the developing relationship between Elizabeth and Mr. Bingley. Especially when he starts to notice how many of Elizabeth’s interests and personality traits wonderfully compliment his own. It is interesting to see how he handles things when Caroline Bingley turns to him for help with separating Elizabeth from her brother. Mr. Darcy’s integrity and resolve are put to the test.
Instead of Elizabeth overhearing Mr. Darcy’s usual remark about her being “tolerable,” Elizabeth overhears some remarks persuading Mr. Bingley against displaying strong partiality towards her. Of course, Elizabeth is deeply offended and forms a strong initial dislike for the overly officious Mr. Darcy. But Elizabeth decides to aggravate him and thwart his plans by showing more affection for Mr. Bingley than she feels. Oh, if she only knew how much torture and grief she is giving with those actions!
The scenes I loved most in this story were the unexpected little encounters between Darcy and Elizabeth – these moments that would take place at Oakham Mount or during a thunderstorm were so lovely and memorable. In many of the books I’ve read by Kara Louise, there are special scenes that always remain firmly lodged in my memory long after I finish the story – whether it is swinging from a pirate ship, surviving a stormy night out at sea, or in this case – an endearing rescue at a stone bridge. I love the sweet sensations and emotions Kara Louise can evoke with such scenes.
Other aspects of this story I greatly enjoyed were seeing Elizabeth form a closer relationship with one of her sisters, Elizabeth’s interactions with an unexpected guest at Rosings, and the times where Elizabeth would seek refuge and peace walking in beautiful outdoor scenery. In addition, I could not help but admire Mr. Darcy’s actions throughout the tale. He is tortured and put through intense emotional anguish, but through it all he remains an honorable, caring, and selfless.
With so many remarkable and praiseworthy variations already under her belt, I’m delighted to see Kara Louise continue to gift the Austenesque genre these creative and emotive tales. I found Chance and Circumstance to be an enchanting and enthralling romantic adventure, and I thoroughly enjoyed the unique and thoughtful twists Ms. Louise implemented in her story. If you have yet to read any of these lovely stories by Kara Louise, I definitely recommend you do so now! Without delay! 😉