Jun 082018

What If Elizabeth’s First Husband Was a Wealthy and Wonderful Earl?

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Source: Review Copy from Author

TYPE OF AUSTENESQUE NOVEL: Pride and Prejudice variation

TIME FRAME: Begins 2 years before the events of Pride and Prejudice and takes a widely different course

SYNOPSIS: What if a twice-widowed earl (who is twice her age) found in Elizabeth a true companion that would bring him the marital happiness he has been searching for his whole life? What if at the time she first meets Mr. Bingley and Mr. Darcy, Elizabeth has been the Countess of Asheland for two years, happily marred to her beloved husband and mother to two adorable children? Elizabeth Bennet is no longer โ€œa young woman without family, connections, or fortune,โ€ in fact, her connections and fortune far exceed Mr. Darcy’s! In her latest Pride and Prejudice variation, Elizabeth Adams explores what happens when Darcy and Elizabeth are on more equal ground… ๐Ÿ˜‰


  • Turns the Tables: I do love it when authors implement a drastic twist to Pride and Prejudice! And this one is especially fun to explore as it reverses the dynamic between Elizabeth and Darcy. She is more worldly, more wealthy, and more connected than he is! Mr. Darcy can have none of his hang-ups about her inferiority, and yet…the relationship does not proceed smoothly for them. Mostly because, as you may have guessed, he still insults her! Ack, poor Mr. Darcy is always putting his foot in his mouth!
  • Robert Talbot, Earl of Asheland: Oh, it feels like sacrilege to admit it, but I lost a little of my heart to Robert in this novel! In other variations, Elizabeth’s first husband has turned out to be deceitful, unfaithful or even tyrannical! But in this variation, he is completely kind and he absolutely adores Elizabeth. I love how Asheland followed his happiness, even if it broke with convention; and I love how he always did everything in his power to ensure Elizabeth’s happiness, even if it meant giving a strong nudge to her father. He truly is everything that is admirable, honorable, and swoon-worthy!
  • Emotionally Invested: With the first half of this story illustrating the tender and budding romance between Elizabeth and Robert and their sweet felicitous union together, I found myself completely gut-wrenched when the inevitable happened. Like, seriously devastated. I can’t remember the last time I sobbed like that over a fictional character! And it is even more surprising because these tears were for Robert, a brand new character โ€“ how could I be so heartbrokenly wretched over him when I knew Darcy will soon come into the picture? That just goes to show you the power and poignancy of Elizabeth Adams’s writing. Big applause to Ms. Adams for creating a character that challenges readers’ devotion for Mr. Darcy and her exquisitely expressed and emotionally-charged prose!
  • Admiring Elizabeth: There is so much to admire about Elizabeth in this story โ€“ how she met the challenges of being a countess head-on with courage, how she chose her own way with raising her children and always put their needs before her own, how she was a most devoted wife who cherished her husband with her whole heart. I loved admiring Elizabeth and I loved seeing Mr. Darcy admire her in new ways too.
  • Patient Darcy: It is always amusing to see Mr. Darcy given some challenges! In this variation, one of his biggest obstacles to overcome is waiting. I loved witnessing how patient and understanding Darcy can be. He didn’t pressure Elizabeth or get frustrated at her hesitation, yet he made sure she was aware of his interest and devotion and that they would remain constant. I loved seeing Darcy’s reaction during those precious moments where Elizabeth would take a step closer to opening her heart and self to him. How he would light up like fireworks!


  • Slightly Overshadowed: Robert was a tough act to follow, and even though Darcy is as wonderful as he is, it was difficult to not compare him against Elizabeth’s beloved husband. I wouldn’t have minded seeing Darcy win over those who strayed (ahem...me!) just a little more in the second half of the book.


On Equal Ground is a beautiful and heartrending journey that presents our dear Darcy and Elizabeth with a unique set of experiences and challenges. I was entranced by this daring premise, delighted by the beautifully developed relationships between characters, and completely enthralled by the emotions this compelling story evoked. I highly recommend!

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  30 Responses to “On Equal Ground – Elizabeth Adams”


    Your review was spot on! I found myself sobbing my eyes out midway through (about three in the morning) and my MrB woke up alarmed: What is wrong?!?!
    I too wondered at my allegiance for Darcy but Adams masterfully brings it all together for our happily ever after. Great storyteller that Elizabeth Adams. Canโ€™t wait for her next.


    Great review! This was my favorite release from last year. Not many books can make this old woman tear up, but this one did!


    I always love Elizabeth Adams’ books and since reading this review, I know I will love this one too. I have it on my TBR list and shall have to bump it up closer to the top. ๐Ÿ˜‰


    I also loved this story. Great review. Thanks for sharing.


    This does sound really interesting, a turning the situation around where the unexpected is the one with the worldly connections and wealth and status!


    A man able to overshadow Mr Darcy! WOW
    Elizabeth Adams is always a good choice!
    Thanks for recommending it! ๐Ÿ˜‰


      Yes! I couldn’t believe it either! There are have not been many who have made my allegiance to Darcy waiver…only one other comes to mind and that is Nate Morgan from Jan Hahn’s The Journey.


    What a beautiful review and one I completely agree with! I too loved it and cried my heart out when Elizabeth’s world was shattered. I so loved how Darcy was there in the wings helping but not overwhelming her. Definitely a keeper of a book!


    Oh Meredith, I too found myself sobbing in this book even though I know Elizabeth just has to be with Darcy. I really loved reading how Darcy worked to earn the trust and friendship of Elizabeth and her children.


    Oh boy, Meredith – – another one to add to my TBR list. The thought of Elizabeth with anyone other than Darcy is unsettling but this sounds wonderful. And reading the posts of other readers who say they were sobbing – – must be an amazing read. Thanks so much for the review.

    Happy Friday!


      I agree with you, Lori! I never like to suppose that Elizabeth has any other perfect mate except Darcy, but Elizabeth Adams sure made me question that! It is a beautiful read, I hope you enjoy it, Lori!


    Now, that is great storytelling if you had two heroes to fall in love with. I’m a glutton for punishment, I guess, because I’m now eager to read this and find myself crying over Robert, too.


    Ooo, I’ve got this on as an audiobook, narrated by the wonderful Stevie Zimmerman ( just finished listening to her narrate The Unthinkable Triangle). Sounds as though I possibly shouldn’t be listening to it when I’m driving to and from work, if I want to get there safely! Maybe when I’m gardening or cooking, perhaps.


      Wonderful! You should definitely listen to it next, but good call about not listening while driving! Maybe after the first half of the book you should be safe though. ๐Ÿ˜‰


    I loved his novel also. I read it quite awhile back but I recall those strong emotions as described by you and others. The sobbing over Elizabethโ€™s first husband . I loved how Darcy worked with Elizabeth and the children. His particular kindness to the children tho not his was spectacular. One I would read again.


      So true, Suzan! It made your heart melt to see his relationship with Robbie, didn’t it? He truly showed is exemplary qualities in big heart with all his thoughtful considerations and actions.


    Great review Meredith. I have this book… lost in that TBR pile of mine. I am so upset that I let it get buried in the pile. I must excavate it soon and read this. I have to get my tissues ready because I know I will cry. Say hello to Mr. Bingley for me.


    I’m so far behind…in responding to my glut of email (even the ones I love reading like Austenesque) and behind in reading all the good JAFF out there. My TBR pile, omg. My Wish List, oh good grief.

    But when I saw this on your June agenda, I was really looking forward to reading your review. I mean, Elizabeth Adams, right??? I’m so eager to read this. It sounds heart wrenching and beautiful.


      Thank you so much for checking out my review, Michelle! I know you will love this one! I’m so glad I got to finally read it! All the wonderful things everyone is saying about it are true!


    Wonderful review, Meredith! I wasn’t so curious to read this one but now I might change my mind.


      Thank you, Maria! It may be a challenging read for readers who don’t like to see Elizabeth or Darcy have any previous relationships or marriages. But I’m not really one to mind that as long as it feels plausible and is well-executed. ๐Ÿ™‚

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