Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Source: Review Copy from Author
TYPE OF NOVEL: Pride and Prejudice Variation
TIME FRAME: May-October 1811, London
SYNOPSIS: The two eldest Bennet sisters are in London for a lengthy stay with their Aunt Gardiner and all become heavily involved with charity work to support and build a much-needed hospital extension for wounded soldiers. Through their charity projects they become closely acquainted to Lady Matlock and eventually make the acquaintance of Miss Darcy and Mr. Darcy. Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy form a much more favorable opinion of each other away from Meryton, the other Bennets, and Caroline Bingley. But Darcy, aware of his duty to his family, knows he must marry from the upper echelons of society. And Elizabeth’s aunt is cautioning her to carefully guard her heart and not give into romantic expectations…What happens when their attraction and connection cannot be denied?
WHAT I LOVED:
- Elizabeth and Georgiana: This tale illustrates the most loving and tender-hearted relationships between Elizabeth and Georgiana. I enjoyed seeing their sisterly devotion for each other grow…even before Darcy proposes! The image on the cover beautifully represents their relationship in these pages. Elizabeth’s actions towards Georgiana are so protective and gentle. It was heartwarming to witness.
- A Noble Cause: I loved seeing these characters involve with charity work, especially work that is important and worthy. I enjoyed all the events that took place at the London Hospital and it was moving to hear the stories and references to the soldiers the ladies encounter there. Also, I really love the idea of all these characters using their time and talents in such it way – it makes wonderful sense for Lady Matlock, Mrs. Gardiner, Jane, Elizabeth, and Georgiana to participate in such activities.
- Sonatas and Songs: As the title suggests, music plays an important role in this story. And since the author is a talented musician and instructor, there are lots of mentions of musical works and composers from this period. I loved all the references to various songs and sonatas in this tale, and I loved that Georgiana and Elizabeth bonded so much over their shared love of music. For those that would like to listen to the music mentioned in this story, Jennifer Redlarczyk shares some lovely recordings of it HERE.
- Unique Premise and Twists: With this story taking place solely in London it follows a very divergent path from the events of Pride and Prejudice. I enjoyed all the fresh events, characters, and conflicts that came with this new path. Darcy and Elizabeth still have their obstacles, but they are of a different sort now.
- Ardently In Love: I loved seeing such a stirring attraction between Darcy and Elizabeth. And even though both strive to think of each other as just friends, their hearts cannot be waylaid. Mr. Darcy’s devotion to Elizabeth is definitely something to swoon at in this story! And I appreciate the important lessons about love he learns.
WHAT I WASN’T TOO FOND OF:
- A Picture of Perfection: While Darcy did still have his well-known flaws of pride and taciturnity, Elizabeth appeared to be flawless. Without her errors of judgment or stubborn outspokenness, I missed seeing Elizabeth evolve and grow in character.
- Story Arc and Focus: I sometimes felt certain aspects of the story were left on the back burner periodically, such as the secret political intrigue, Lord Wolverton’s pursuit of Elizabeth and political activities, and Jane’s and Bingley’s relationship. Perhaps with so many elements to combine in one story there wasn’t enough page time for them all.
I thoroughly enjoyed this creative and beautifully composed variation from Jennifer Redlarczyk! Filled with heartfelt words, swelling emotions, and harmonious tones this sensitive and romantic tale is sure to strike the right chord with many Darcy and Elizabeth fans! 😉