Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Source: Gift from Author
TYPE OF NOVEL: Modern-day Pride and Prejudice, Novella
SYNOPSIS: Will Darcy needs help. His sister, Gianna, at the age of twelve, is on the brink of adolescence and experiencing all the lovely changes that go along with it. With no mother or female relations close by, Will feels ill-equipped to help Gianna through these uncharted waters. He turns to recent acquaintance, Elizabeth Bennet, who he knows has many younger sisters, to seek her help with Gianna while she is with him this summer. Little does he know that Elizabeth can’t stand him and thinks he is the most arrogant and unpleasant man of her acquaintance!
WHAT I LOVED:
- A New Dynamic: With Gianna being so young and Darcy turning to Elizabeth for guidance it brought a different dynamic to their relationship. Darcy shows (after previously insulting her, of course) that he respects Elizabeth and admires her. And instead of doing things that continue to increase her bad opinion of him, the softer, gentler, and more caring side Will exhibits around Gianna starts to baffle Elizabeth. Who is Will Darcy really? In addition, this story is one of the few I’ve read where there is no George Wickham! So the conflicts and plot twists his character creates are completely absent from this scenario. We also don’t encounter Lady C or Mr. Collins. Oh, but we do have Caroline and she, of course, creates some mischief!
- A Wonderful Brother: I love seeing a little bit more focus on Will Darcy as a brother. In so many stories, Georgiana is not staying with him because she is either away at school or staying with her aunt and uncle. This Will Darcy, like many others, is the sweetest and most devoted of brothers. I loved that taking care of Gianna is his sole focus…he isn’t working, running an estate or a big conglomerate, or searching for a suitable wife. He is just trying to be the best brother he can for the sister he adores so much.
- Heartwarming Relationships: I enjoyed seeing such a narrow focus on these three characters. Darcy’s and Gianna’s relationship is more like that of a father/daughter and I loved seeing how they grew closer together. Elizabeth’s interactions with Gianna were sweet to witness as well…she connected with and understood Gianna in ways Will couldn’t, but she helped him understand and was always there when he needed her. It put me in mind of those scenarios where you see a single parent with a child, and they are missing that person that just completes their family perfectly.
WHAT I WASN’T TOO FOND OF:
- Rapid Relationship Development: I know that with novellas time and space are limited so oftentimes relationships will develop swiftly. And I go in with that expectation. But I did feel somewhat that the romantic-side of Elizabeth’s and Will’s relationship developed a tad too quickly for my taste…especially since there was a large focus on Gianna for most of the novella.
Some Quibbles: There were just a few instances that made me quirk my eyebrow such as the times where formal language is used or a character is formally addressed, Elizabeth’s zero-to-sixty temper and name calling, and that something so monumental was planned for a FIRST date (that felt very sudden!). Others may not be bothered by these things, but I did feel they detracted from my enjoyment a little.
With The Perfect Gift, Christie Capps (a pseudonym for author J. Dawn King) once again delivers a lighthearted and endearing Pride and Prejudice novella that is a wonderful antidote for the stress and struggles of everyday life! I loved the uniqueness of this premise, its delightful focus on making memories, and all the warm feelings of happiness it delivers!