Oct 102018
 

What If Elizabeth Was An Unhappily Married Viscountess?

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Source: Review Copy from Author

TYPE OF AUSTENESQUE NOVEL: Pride and Prejudice Variation

TIME FRAME: Begins 4 years after the events of Pride and Prejudice

SYNOPSIS:

Steering our beloved Pride and Prejudice off course after Elizabeth’s visit to Kent, Caitlin Williams implements some drastic changes in her latest variation. Mr. Darcy does not encounter Elizabeth again until four years after his disastrous proposal – they never meet at Pemberley and an upset Mr. Bingley dissolves their friendship after Darcy confesses all. During these four years apart:

  • Elizabeth experiences a whirlwind romance and marries a Viscount
  • Darcy eschews London society and intently focuses on managing his estate
  • Colonel Fitzwilliam marries, fathers a son, and sadly becomes a widower
  • Georgiana Darcy, who spends most of her time with her Fitzwilliam relations, transforms into an elegant lady of fashion and high society

WHAT I LOVED:

  • Daring and Inventive: Brava to Ms. Williams for such an ingenious and eminently original premise! Many altered situations, a few sorrowful deaths, and some darkness imbue this story. Yet as with her other novels, Ms. Williams pushes the boundaries as far as she can while maintaining plausibility and respect for Jane Austen’s original characters and time. I was fascinated to learn all the new twists at the opening of the story and witness how some small changes produced such numerous ripples. I applaud Ms. Williams for boldly having Elizabeth married to someone else and for creating such an impossible yet realistic new course for Darcy and Elizabeth to traverse.
  • Unanswered Questions: The story opens cloaked in tragedy and mystery – something terrible has occurred, but the reader isn’t quite sure why and what are the implications. But then the story jumps back six months to Darcy and Elizabeth first re-encounter. Throughout these six months we learn bits and pieces of Elizabeth’s life these past four years, but there are always details left out… Ms. Williams is supremely skilled at keeping secrets and revealing them with excruciating slowness! The reader will perpetually be wondering the hows and whys did this all come to be. And the events of the story will consume them until they know all!
  • Dual Perspectives: I love that this story was told from both the POV’s of Darcy and Elizabeth with alternating chapters. Because this is such an tension-filled and dynamic variation it is essential to understand the feelings and hear the inner thoughts of both Darcy and Elizabeth. To understand the evolution of Elizabeth’s life  and her conflicting feelings towards Mr. Darcy; to see Darcy’s internal thoughts about Elizabeth’s marriage and husband, and understand his hidden yearning was wonderfully captivating and moving.
  • Realistic Emotions: Both Darcy and Elizabeth are in a horribly difficult situation they can’t seem to escape. It is impossible in every way and both are conflicted many times over. Ms. Williams does a magnificent job of conveying the progression of their feelings and actions. The impatience, the dissatisfaction with all options, the irrational desires, the imprudent actions, the contemplation of risking censure or comprising one’s morals, the madness, the ardency…it was mesmerizing to witness the powerfulness and authenticity of these feelings.
  • Original Characters: There are quite a few original characters that add vibrancy and intrigue to this tale: Lord Lambert, Elizabeth’s husband whose mood is often vacillating and extreme; Miss Talbot, Elizabeth’s unmarried friend who is practical, forthright and a possible match for Mr. Darcy; Bassett, Elizabeth’s fiercely loyal lady’s maid; Albert Tanner, Lord Lambert’s trusty footman who is instructed to follow and protect Elizabeth; Countess Magdó, a cheerful, kind-hearted matron with a sad past, and many more! These characters were wonderful additions that evoked a myriad of feelings and twists throughout the course of the tale.

WHAT I WASN’T TOO FOND OF:

  • I loved it all! And my only wish would be for a few more chapters.

NOTE: A brief scene of domestic violence and some other mentions of physical altercations take place in this story.

CONCLUSION:

I loved The Events at Branxbourne‘s unconventional premise and emotionally turbulent plot – not just because of the gripping events of the story and enthralling gothic undertones, but because how it was masterfully designed and executed. Ms. Williams once again delivers an exquisitely expressive and incredibly impassioned tale. One that deserves the highest of praise for its unabashed portrayal of marriage, human nature, and life in Jane Austen’s time.

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  32 Responses to “The Events at Branxbourne – Caitlin Williams”

  1.  

    Wow! What a great review. Looks like I’ll definitely have to read this one.

  2.  

    I am so glad to hear that this is a good read. I am always a little suspect of a story with Elizabeth married off. After reading On Equal Ground by Elizabeth Adams though my thoughts have changed. I will definitely be adding this to my list.

    •  

      I can understand that…it means all is not right with the world when Darcy and Elizabeth aren’t with each other! But I am glad authors still give us the happily ever after we crave for them in a different route. 🙂

  3.  

    I read and enjoyed this book Great review, Meredith.

  4.  

    Thanks for your amazing review, Meredith. I have had this book on my MUST HAVE list ever since it was released, and your review reminded me of how much I really want to read this book!! 😀

    Warmly,
    Susanne 🙂

  5.  

    I totally agree Meredith (especially about how some extra chapters would have been great 🙂 )
    I too loved this book. I really felt for both of them and was worried about whether they would have a happy ending. Obviously this is not a spoiler 🙂

  6.  

    Completely agree with your review! I finished it a few weeks ago and was so impressed with it!

  7.  

    ” Ms. Williams once again delivers an exquisitely expressive and incredibly impassioned tale. One that deserves the highest of praise for its unabashed portrayal of marriage, human nature, and life in Jane Austen’s time.” You have captured completely why I love Caitlin’s books. I too absolutely loved this story!

    Hope Hurricane Michael does not severely impact you…stay safe!

    •  

      Thank you, Carole! I am so happy to hear you loved this story! 🙂

      We were completely fine during Hurricane Michael, it didn’t come close enough to do more than give us a windy day. We are very thankful because I’m not sure our area would do well with another big storm like that coming in! We are still cleaning up and in the middle of repairs from the first one!

  8.  

    I read it and I loved it! Like you, Meredith, I could have read a few more chapters!

  9.  

    Oh, you torturer you! I have this one on the future reading list, but I can’t read it yet and you make me want to pick it up now. 🙂

  10.  

    Your review was perfect, Meredith. I couldn’t agree more. I loved this one so much. Ms. Williams is an amazing author.

  11.  

    Lovely review, Meredith. That was most excellent. I have it on my wish-list and look forward to reading it. I love the cover. Say hello to Mr. Bingley and watch out for that storm. Hopefully it won’t give you guys a lot of trouble.

  12.  

    Thanks for the fantastic review, Meredith. I am so delighted that you enjoyed it

  13.  

    What a great review, Meredith! I’ve heard a lot of good buzz about this book and I love the original concept.

    Congrats, Caitlin!

  14.  

    You sold me on the book! It’s on my wish list and it won’t be long before I own this one! Great review!

  15.  

    Fabulous review as always Meredith! I read this book a couple of months ago – I loved loved loved loved loved it! Such a great story, so dark and yet so brilliantly written. I liked the way the story was so different from ‘Pride and Prejudice’ and yet the two main characters were recognisably Elizabeth and Darcy.

    I agree with you that it worked really well having the story told from both their points of view. It made it more real somehow. Another great aspect was the dramatic opening scene – as the reader you don’t know where the characters are going to go from there, how they’re going to get out of that situation.

    Congratulations, Caitlin, on a great story. I want to read all your other books now! 😀

  16.  

    Sounds like a fascinating story! I’ll put this one on my list.

  17.  

    I just started this. Glad to know it’s a good one.

  18.  

    Your review sounds amazing. Already ordered my copy.

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