Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Source: Review Copy from Author
TYPE OF NOVEL: Pride and Prejudice Variation
TIME FRAME: Begins several months after Darcy’s disastrous proposal at Hunsford Parsonage
SYNOPSIS: Mr. Darcy returns to Longbourn to once again attempt to win the heart Elizabeth Bennet, but before he ever has a chance at succeeding he learns the most horrifying news – Elizabeth Bennet is dead. Consumed with guilt and abject misery, Mr. Darcy travels to France to investigate the suspicious circumstances surrounding Elizabeth’s death and hopefully assist the crown by apprehending her murderer, who is an assumed French spy working under the code name ‘Black Cobra.’ Ill-equipped for telling falsehoods and acting like a spy, Darcy finds himself even more unprepared for the truth…the woman he is seeking to avenge is alive!
WHAT I LOVED:
- The Amnesia Trope: Some might feel amnesia is an over-used plot device, but I really enjoyed how Victoria Kincaid employs it in this variation (especially since I haven’t read that many Austenesque stories with amnesia to make it feel overdone). It didn’t feel forced or contrived, it felt like a plausible result of Elizabeth’s trauma and head injury. It was interesting to witness the progress of Elizabeth’s amnesia – how she would make realizations about her proclivities and personality before any shadows of memories came back to her. I also enjoyed observing the range of emotions she experienced – her perplexity over her memory loss, her fear that she has lost her memories forever, her feelings of disorientation, her sense of being without anchor, and her later questions of trust all felt authentic and understandable.
- Adventures in France: I’m always ready for a trip abroad! And I loved the fresh and exciting setting of this story – especially since so many Austenesque stories take place in either England or the United States. I also enjoyed the fact that Darcy and Elizabeth travel to various destinations in France, even though it wasn’t by choice!
- An Adorable Actor: Even though “disguise of every sort is his abhorrence,” Mr. Darcy is forced to employ disguise…repeatedly! And what an adorable actor he is! I thought Mr. Darcy was remarkably quick on his feet to fabricate the characters and lies he did! I especially enjoyed his convincing portrayal of his tenant’s son named Robert! But even with his passable acting skills, it is difficult for the Master of Pemberley to fully disguise the nature and manner of man he really is.
- Trust is Key: The relationship between Darcy and Elizabeth compelling and believable in this tale – his actions, his risks, her feelings, her hesitation – it was quite a tumultuous journey and I found it easy to relate to and understand Darcy’s and Elizabeth’s emotions through it all! Well done, Ms. Kincaid, no unreasonable stubbornness or succession of misunderstandings here!
- In Peril and Predicament: This tale is an exhilarating adventure because Darcy and Elizabeth are constantly surrounded by danger. Being in enemy territory during the war is risky enough, but since Darcy is already suspected as a spy and French agents are on the hunt for a man of his description, these two are in grave peril! Ms. Kincaid created such a gripping and action-packed series of events for this tale, and the unexpected twists she threw in always caught me unawares!
- Supporting Characters: I loved encountering some engaging and likable new characters in this novel and was so happy to see that they were not forgotten in the end!
WHAT I WASN’T TOO FOND OF:
- Rapidly Paced: My only wish for this otherwise brilliant novel would be for the beginning and ending to be drawn out a little more. The story picks up and wraps up a little too swiftly for my preference.
Filled with danger, deception, and daring this is one Pride and Prejudice variation that will be sure to captivate and enthrall any Darcy and Elizabeth fans who are looking for new adventures to explore! If you haven’t read this stirring and romantic tale yet, I urge you to do so tout suite!