Oct 192018
 

What If Lydia Told Mr. Darcy Everyone Disliked Him?

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Source: Gift from Author

TYPE OF AUSTENESQUE NOVEL: Pride and Prejudice Variation

TIME FRAME: Begins during the Netherfield Ball

SYNOPSIS: Darcy learns – from the most startling of sources – what Elizabeth Bennet and the rest of Meryton truly think of him and it makes him realize how needlessly insulting his behavior and manners have been. He learns also that it isn’t just the people of Meryton that view him this way – Charles Bingley and his dear cousin, Richard Fitzwilliam have also commented on his officious and selfish tendencies. While taking the first steps to improving Elizabeth’s opinion of him and at the same time protecting the people of Meryton, Darcy receives some urgent and distressing news that immediately calls him home and requires him to reconfigure his plans for the next few months. What happens soon after that when Darcy and Elizabeth unexpectedly cross paths again in London? Could there be any love developing between these two or is it just compassion and friendly concern?

WHAT I LOVED:

  • LOL, Lydia: Arguably sometimes Lydia’s outspokenness can be a mortifying sign of her lack of proper manners and impudence, but in this story Lydia tells it like it is and shows that she is observant and wise…although still immature! I loved seeing Lydia confront Darcy and all of her moments of speaking her mind. And even though this interpretation of Lydia is “in essentials very much what she ever was” it was lovely to see some moments of understanding and realness underneath all that sass and silliness!
  • Georgiana Storyline: I really appreciated the unexpected twist Ms. King gave to Georgiana’s storyline in this variation. It is something that could plausibly have happened and Mr. Darcy’s reaction and plans felt very much in accord to his character. There was a secondary twist that changed the course of this storyline again and part of me is interested to see how the first twist would have played out. But at the same time, I enjoyed the course this story took and loved witnessing the close relationship and devoted love Darcy has for his sister.
  • Enemy Indeed!: Another interesting development in this story is that Wickham becomes an even more nefarious villain than usual. He isn’t out just for money or an easy living, he wants revenge and is prepared to go to great lengths to exact it! I enjoyed seeing this darker and more vicious side of Wickham, it feels very believable that someone so jealous and spiteful would resort to such sinister means when desperate.
  • A New Discovery: Can you believe after all the many times I’ve read Pride and Prejudice and all the numerous Austenesque novels I’ve read that there is still something new for me to discover that can blow my mind?!? That happened while reading Friends and Enemies – Ms. King makes an ingenious comparison between two characters that I never before realized. It is amazing how this similarity has been there all this time without me noticing it! I love how this comparison, when pointed out to one character, serves as an impetus for change! Just brilliant!

WHAT I WASN’T TOO FOND OF:

  • Openness and Boldness: Once in awhile there were some conversations and behaviors that felt a little too open and forward for this time period. It may just be me, but I often feel like conversations such as someone declaring their feelings or taking a family member to task, would – in Regency polite society – happen in a more private setting. I am perfectly willing to accept characters like Mrs. Bennet and Lydia acting too bold, but it feels a little incongruous for someone as reserved and fastidious as Mr. Darcy to do things like make a declaration of love in front of others and then backtrack later to analyze his feelings and determine if what he felt truly was love.

CONCLUSION:

Reading anything by J. Dawn King is always a wonderful pleasure! Her stories never fail to entertain and bring a smile to my face. I thoroughly enjoyed the inventive twists she implemented in Friends and Enemies and I am forever grateful for the delight and heartwarming joy her stories always bring!

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  16 Responses to “Friends and Enemies – J. Dawn King”

  1.  

    What an amazing review. Thank you so much, Meredith. I was a bit surprised I hadn’t read the same character comparison yet in another story. It made total sense to me when I thought of it. Happy rest of October!!!

    •  

      Thank you, Joy! I so enjoyed reading Friends and Enemies! Thank you for the sharing your stories with us!!

      Blew my mind, Joy! I can’t believe how true it is. 🙂

  2.  

    Great review – I plan to reread this in the near future.

  3.  

    You did a great review without revealing any spoilers, and when your blog followers read this they will understand how you had to be so unrevealing of the plot. The part about Lydia having her say comes in the beginning and so no spoiler revealed there. I amazed myself that I hadn’t read this yet because it had been languishing in my TBR waiting on me. There are just certain authors I do not let languish there! Joy keeps coming up with such great stories, I am such a devoted fan.

    Thanks to Joy for so many wonderful reads, the best of everything to her in every part of her life. And thanks Meredith, as always.

    •  

      Oh, and p.s., Meredith. I didn’t even want to agree with or disagree with you on plot or execution for fear of spoilers.

    •  

      Thank you, my sweet friend! 🙂 It felt like a little bit of a game to see how much I could talk about and (not) talk about at the same time. I think I could have said a little more than I did and have gotten away with it, but I think those surprises will be fun for readers to discover on their own. 🙂

      I so agree with you about Joy and her stories! It was a busy stressful week for me and reading her book was definitely a delightful highpoint. Her writing always brings me such happiness!

  4.  

    Oh, Meredith. I loved this book and your review. I was blown away by the creativity and think that JDK is on my favorite authors list. Yep, I’ll read anything of hers. [Say hello to Mr. Bingley for me]

    •  

      Thank you, Jeanne! I so appreciate you checking out my review! Yes, Joy is a treasure to this genre, isn’t she? I hope she continues to write for a very long time! 🙂

  5.  

    Oh man! Another one that has languished on the wishlist and now you make me wish I hadn’t waited so long. The Lydia-Darcy scene alone sounds great. Neat how you had an aha moment over a character comparison.

  6.  

    Loved your review Meredith and I just loved this story! Lydia was a termagant…but an endearing one nonetheless!

  7.  

    I read this ages ago and it looks like it’s time for a ‘re read as soon as possible. I know I enjoyed it as I have enjoyed all of Joy’s books but I can’t recall the character comparison mentioned. So now I need to see if I can spot it this time. (I’m not the most observant person however so don’t hold your breath!)
    Thanks for another great review Meredith

    •  

      You will definitely spot it when you reread it, Glynis. 🙂 A character shares it and outlines the comparison in conversation. I am being vague about it in my review not because I think it is a spoiler, but because I think it is a fun “aha!” discovery to make while reading.

  8.  

    Praying with Jane

    d

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