Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Source: Review Copy from Author
TYPE OF AUSTENESQUE NOVEL: Pride and Prejudice Variation
TIME FRAME: Begins more than two years after Darcy’s Hunsford proposal
SYNOPSIS: With a broken heart and great need to get away, Mr. Darcy leaves for an extensive tour of the Mediterranean with Mr. Bingley the summer after his disastrous proposal to Elizabeth Bennet. And in this variation we see what happens when the encounters at Pemberley and Mr. Darcy’s assistance with the Lydia/Wickham debacle don’t take place. Instead, we see what happens when Mr. Darcy, after being away from England for two years, unexpectedly crosses path with Elizabeth on the streets of London and observes her tending to a small child. Is the child hers? Is she married? Where is the father? These are answers Mr. Darcy is desperate to know! The reader as well… 😉
WHAT I LOVED:
- Daring Yet Authentic: Jan Hahn has created some brilliantly inventive and daring Pride and Prejudice variations in her career, and it comes to no surprise to me that The Child is another bold and original tale. What I liked most about this variation is that while it is a daring direction to take these beloved characters, it is completely possible. This is what could have happened. These outcomes and realities are true to what it would be like if other events didn’t take place. Like Ms. Austen, many of us prefer not to “dwell on guilt and misery,” but I do appreciate the reality check that such grim possibilities for these characters aren’t a far stretch away.
- Mistaken Assumptions: Is there any other pair of characters with such immeasurable talents for making mistaken assumptions about each other as Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet? LOL! It is definitely a reoccurring theme in this variation! But in their defense, there are some topics that are just not openly discussed in polite society, and both Darcy and Elizabeth have their reasons for concealing some of their feelings and thoughts. It was interesting/amusing/frustrating to see the many ways Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth either jumped to the wrong conclusion or believed something that wasn’t entirely true. And of course, I loved seeing when they discovered how wrong they were and learned the truth. 🙂
- Darcy’s POV: I love being inside Darcy’s head and witnessing all his intense feelings. He represses them so much on the outside that is it always revealing to see how much he is feeling on the inside. In addition, I appreciate the fact that even though the reader spends all this time in Mr. Darcy’s head that they don’t feel a lack of time with Elizabeth. Sure, there are moments where we wonder “what is she thinking right now,” but through Elizabeth’s actions and revelations that come about later the reader learns it all.
- An Adorable Child: I absolutely adored Fan, “the child” in this story. She was adorable in every way and I loved seeing both Elizabeth’s and Darcy’s interactions with her – even when those interactions weren’t the sweet and happy kind! Poor Mr. Darcy is not used to dealing with children, and it is quite entertaining to see how he gets on with Fan, the difficulties he overcomes, and how their relationship evolves.
- A Poignant and Emotional Journey: With heartache, disappointed hopes, and concealment on both sides the relationship between Darcy and Elizabeth is anything but smooth. And I took great pleasure in witnessing the gradual changes and steps that brought Darcy and Elizabeth closer together! I love it when the romance leisurely-paced, and I definitely don’t mind if there are a few turbulent patches!
WHAT I WAS AMBIVALENT ABOUT:
The only thing that felt slightly against the grain to see was Mr. Darcy, who declares “disguise of every sort is my abhorrence,” engage in acts of deception and openly act false. But I guess you could argue that he was in a desperate situation and maybe saw no other option.
WHAT I WASN’T TOO FOND OF:
Not a thing!!
The Child is a truly mesmerizing and enthralling romantic tale that is filled with mistakes and misunderstandings, secrets and scandals, dangerous situations, a myriad of emotions, and a darling child. Another brilliant gem from the talented pen of Jan Hahn!!
For those who are curious to see how dauntless Ms. Hahn is with her premises, be sure to check out A Peculiar Connection and The Secret Betrothal if you haven’t already…and if you haven’t read An Arranged Marriage or The Journey yet, you must do that as well…on the double!
To see me reviews of Jan Hahn’s other works, click HERE.