Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Source: Review Copy from Author
TYPE OF NOVEL: Pride and Prejudice Variation
TIME FRAME: Begins with Mr. Darcy’s arrival in Netherfield
SYNOPSIS: Mr. Darcy’s cousin, Anne de Bourgh has unexpectedly passed away, and in order to escape his gloomy and guilty thoughts, Mr. Darcy accepts several invitations to visit friends at their estates this summer – one being his good friend Mr. Bingley. In addition to enjoying a respite from mourning, Mr. Darcy – realizing that life can be cut short – plans to seriously start searching for a wife. Although he doesn’t hold out much hope for finding a wife in Meryton… But what happens when Lady Catherine’s gossiping parson precedes Mr. Darcy’s arrival to Meryton and spreads a story about Mr. Darcy losing his betrothed – Anne de Bourgh? What will the people of Meryton think when this supposed “Grieving Groom” is caught smiling in the company of Elizabeth Bennet or seen dancing at a ball?
WHAT I LOVED:
- An Inventive and Dramatic Premise: What an intriguing impetuous for this variation! Killing off a character always reproduces such interesting ripples of change. Although in this case, the ripples are more surprising than you’d expect! What perhaps is the most amusing about this premise is that the actions of Anne, Lady C, and Mr. Collins are completely believable. I could see them all reacting to events and situations in this manner.
- Interesting Misconceptions: Since Mr. Darcy doesn’t first meet Elizabeth Bennet at a crowded assembly when he is in ill humor, they are quick to form a favorable first impression of each other. But due to some misinformation and mistaken observations, both Darcy and Elizabeth believe something completely incorrect about each other. I loved seeing their friendship form – they are adorable together! But it was maddening to see them both believe there couldn’t be more between them! 😉 I thoroughly enjoyed their reactions when the truth was finally revealed!
- Infectious Fun: This variation is farcical, bawdy, and at times a bit over-the-top! While it may seem a little outlandish at some points, this tale was written to amuse and produce many laughs. I enjoyed much of the tongue-and-cheek humor and hilarity that ensues during this story. Readers should definitely suspend their disbelief a little to best enjoy the comical events that take place in this farce!
- The Fitzwilliam Bloodlines: We all know the Bennets are often full of chaos and absurdity, but what would it be like if the Fitzwilliam family was just as eccentric? – And perhaps even a little mad? It would be hysterical, right? And poor Mr. Darcy has to help manage and deal with them all! I enjoyed this unique spotlight and characterization of the Fitzwilliam family and their interesting proclivities. I think my favorite Fitzwilliam family member (aside from Colonel Fitzwilliam who is always a favorite) would be Anne, she was definitely a surprise.
WHAT I WASN’T TOO FOND OF:
- A Delayed Journey to HEA: After some misunderstandings are cleared up between Darcy and Elizabeth there should have been little impeding their paths to a declaration and engagement. And yet, there was a good amount of time and what felt like unnecessary delay, such as Elizabeth continued uncertainty of Darcy’s character and length of time it take for Mr. Darcy to fully explaining everything. It felt like some developments were prolonged too much and sometimes the activity in between wasn’t as engaging.
- Sometimes Repetitious: There are some jokes or descriptors that are used very often in this story – whether to describe the way Mr. Collins smells, the Fitzwilliams penchant for fruit metaphors, or Mr. Darcy’s apparently intense interest in clouds. While I do appreciate such interesting and creative details about these characters it did start to feel redundant to see them mentioned so frequently.
NOTE: Some use of innuendo and allusions to amorous activity. I would recommend for readers over the age of 14.
Filled with outlandish relations, dramatic developments, and hilarious twists – Mendacity and Mourning is a comical Regency romp that is sure to entertain readers who “dearly love a laugh.” Kudos to Ms. Ashton for penning such an outrageously fun story!