Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Source: Review Copy from Author
TYPE OF AUSTENESQUE NOVEL: Pride and Prejudice Variation
TIME FRAME: Begins 1 year after Elizabeth visits Pemberley
Darcy and Elizabeth were blissfully engaged for nine days when Elizabeth sends a letter regretfully terminating their engagement. Now the two are about to re-encounter each other for the first time while attending a house party at Netherfield, and they both are prepared to suffer torture of the acutest kind! Poor Mr. Darcy is torn between anguish and anger, he doesn’t know or understand Elizabeth’s reason for breaking their engagement and despises her for now twice ripping his heart out and destroying it. And poor Elizabeth is suffering too, she is carrying a secret pain that no one – not even Jane knows about – and now she must watch as the man she loves vehemently despises her and interacts with other eligible females.
WHAT I LOVED:
- Persuasion Nods: Ever wonder how Mr. Darcy would react if he was in Captain Wentworth’s shoes? Here is your chance! Similar to Persuasion, we see what happens when a couple with a (partially) secret past is forced into company with each other again after a period of time. There is some bitter resentment, some changed circumstances, and lots of fresh pain. It was interesting to see how both Darcy and Elizabeth reacted to each other in these new and agonizing circumstances.
- Well-Executed: Ms. D’Orazio tortures us all by keeping readers in the dark as to the “why” and “what happened” with Elizabeth when she terminated their engagement. It may be hard for some readers to wait for these answers, but I thoroughly enjoyed the painstakingly slow reveals and hard-won moments of truth. And they seemed plausible in these situations where both characters felt as they did. It felt very in accord to their characters and what they believed at the time. In addition, this premise was most definitely not predictable as there were numerous twists and turns that the reader will not see coming! Prepare yourselves!
- What Is Love?: Through all this heartache and torture, Ms. D’Orazio illustrates a very moving tale of an unconquerable love that cannot be extinguished. I loved the moments where we see how fervently devoted to each other Darcy and Elizabeth are…even when they don’t believe they have a future together. *sigh* I also loved the lesson Darcy and Elizabeth learned about love, and about what key ingredient they were missing.
- Moments Together: There are so many significant encounters between Darcy and Elizabeth in this story. Even though they are often amongst a large party of people, Ms. D’Orazio found inventive means to give them some spare moments alone. And each encounter was diverse and fraught with emotion, whether it be: awkwardness, volatile anger, fragile amicability, or passionate ardency. I will long remember many scenes from this story (the library meeting, the dance, the call at Davies street, the Frost Fair) because of these significant encounters that were rendered with palpable feeling.
- Secondary Characters: I enjoyed the well-drawn original characters added to this story, especially as some became new romantic interests for some characters. And I really enjoyed how even though this story was mostly Darcy and Elizabeth centric, Amy D’Orazio gave prominence and detail to many of the secondary characters featured.
WHAT I WASN’T TOO FOND OF:
- My only quibble might be that the knife twist at the end was maybe a little too painful, and perhaps, unnecessary. I don’t mind when creative liberties are taken with Jane Austen’s characters and in this tale there were some unique deviations in this variation that definitely took me by surprise. I’m just not sure if that last bit was maybe a little too much.
Filled with intense emotions, heart-wrenching secrets, and unexpected developments A Short Period of Exquisite Felicity is the type of romance that will completely consume and captivate the reader. Be ready to embark upon a most poignant and compelling emotional journey that will stay with you long after you finish it.