Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Source: Review Copy from Author
TYPE OF AUSTENESQUE NOVEL: Variation
TIME FRAME: Begins while Darcy is attending Cambridge in 1810
SYNOPSIS: While spending the school holiday in Meryton with his classmate’s (John Lucas) family, Fitzwilliam Darcy makes a terrible first impression on sixteen-year-old Elizabeth Bennet. First he has the audacity (ahem…accidental misfortune) of getting caught reading her diary, and then, per his usual, he delivers some ungenerous remarks about Elizabeth and her family that she happens to overhear. Elizabeth immediately sketches Mr. Darcy’s character and believes him devoid of all kindness and consideration. Yet, several months later Elizabeth finds herself in a predicament where she desperately needs his help, whether she wants to admit it or not… Can Elizabeth open her eyes to Mr. Darcy’s true character before it is too late? Can Darcy forgive Elizabeth after her terribly hurtful actions towards him?
WHAT I LOVED:
- Riveting and Inventive: It may seem like I’m repeating myself in my reviews of Brenda Webb’s novels, but the same praise always applies! Like all of her other stories, Proof of Love has an extremely original premise. I loved the unique twists of Elizabeth and Darcy meeting while they were younger, both being friends with John Lucas, and Mr. Darcy senior remarrying a much younger woman, who ends up being a horrid step-monster! Not only does Ms. Webb craft highly imaginative and engaging premises, but she executes them masterfully with her eventful multiple story-lines, numerous original characters, and detailed yet fast-paced prose. I especially enjoyed the unique challenges she gave Darcy and Elizabeth in this tale.
- Imperfections: Ah. I love flawed characters, and I love it when authors give Elizabeth and Darcy flaws beyond pride and prejudice. In this story, Ms. Webb extenuates a flaw Mr. Darcy admits to having in Jane Austen’s novel – his implacable resentment. When Elizabeth loses his good opinion, Darcy erects an insurmountable wall around his heart and it makes him seem unfeeling, yet we know his actions are prompted more by his pain and need for self-preservation, not cruelty. In addition, with Elizabeth being a few years younger and less experienced in the world, her actions show a little bit of immaturity and impulsiveness. And while we normally don’t see Elizabeth act in this manner, it isn’t too hard to believe that a younger and less experienced Elizabeth would do so.
- A Devious and Malicious Antagonist: It is refreshing to see some new villains once in awhile that have different motivations and cause different sorts of mayhem! I’ve loved each and every sinister antagonist Brenda Webb has created, including Lady Henrietta, who is George Darcy’s second wife. She truly has a vendetta against the Darcy family and yet her position as Georgiana’s step-mother makes it difficult for Mr. Darcy to cut ties with her, even after he discovers much of the treachery she has caused the Darcy family. Lady Henrietta has some truly malicious schemes in mind and was a wonderful villain I enjoyed despising!
- Supporting Cast: In addition to beloved characters like Colonel Fitzwilliam, Mr. Bennet, and the Gardiners, it was lovely to see some original creations that enriched this tale – my favorites were Mr. Darcy’s sometimes impudent yet quick-witted, valet, Adams, Elizabeth’s loyal and dependable, lady’s maid, Florence, and the fatherly Reverend Mr. Green and his wise wife.
WHAT I WASN’T TOO FOND OF:
Not really anything!
WARNING: A few brief intimate scenes are intersperse throughout, so I’d recommend this story for Mature Audiences.
With deceit and danger lurking all around them, Darcy and Elizabeth face an abundance of challenges and learn some important lessons about trust and forgiveness in Brenda J. Webb’s imaginative and invigorating new release. Proof of Love is an epic romantic adventure that is perfect for readers who love dramatic premises, sinister antagonists, and angst-filled romances! I cannot wait to see what Ms. Webb writes next!
~ EBOOK SALE ~
Brenda J. Webb’s first release and one of my favorite all-time Austenesque variations, Fitzwilliam Darcy An Honorable Man is currently on sale for $4.99! (Normal price is $9.99) If you haven’t read it yet, definitely take this opportunity to check it out! (*not sure if this sale is international)
*Hurricane Florence Update: Mr. Bingley and I are safe in Winston-Salem, and keeping an eye on our family and friends in Wilmington. The eye of the storm is just passing through and we hope all goes well during the rest of the storm. Thank you for all the kind words and love!