Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Source: Review Copy from Author
Broken-hearted Jane Bennet still clings to some hope of encountering Mr. Bingley when she travels to London and stays with the Gardiners. Although after her first call and Miss Bingley’s belated return call, Jane discovers that she was “entirely deceived in Miss Bingley’s regard” for her. What if Jane analyzed Miss Bingley’s behavior a little more objectively during this time? What if she began to suspect some dishonesty on Miss Bingley’s part? And her suspicions lead her to question some of Miss Bingley’s claims. Is Mr. Bingley actively pursuing Miss Darcy? That would be odd since she isn’t out in society yet. Did he really know of Jane Bennet being in town these past few months and not have that decency to pay a call? Or was that another falsehood…
After discussing Miss Bingley’s actions with both Mrs. Gardiner and Maggie – Mrs. Gardiner’s maid – Jane daringly seizes an available opportunity to encounter Mr. Bingley and determine the true leanings of his heart…
Woot!! Go Jane!! Go Bingley!! You cannot read this story and not cheer on these two wronged characters! Jane and Bingley are often portrayed as overly gullible, cheerfully uncomplicated, and weak willed – it was absolutely wonderful to see them portrayed a little more discerning and impulsive in this variation. I especially loved how Victoria Kincaid made these slight personality alterations with Jane and Bingley, yet at the same time took great pains to not change their characters fundamentally. After expressing her true feelings and speaking her mind Jane is overwrought with guilt and shame, and even though Mr. Bingley saw Jane with his own eyes, he still has moments where feels swayed by his sister’s falsehoods. 🤦🏻♀️No, don’t believe her, Bingley!!
Another aspect I was greatly impressed with was how Ms. Kincaid illustrated and described Jane’s emotions and internal thoughts. Jane just doesn’t flip a switch and become angry à la The Incredible Hulk. We see a range of emotions course through Jane; we witness her attempts of control and composure, her clever “What Would Lizzy Do?” moments, and fully understand why and how she reaches a breaking point. We also get to see, first hand, Mr. Bingley’s thought process as he struggles between seizing his own happiness and being thwarted by Caroline’s pernicious machinations. His actions at the end are just brilliant!! #TeamBingley
Austenesque readers who are wary of seeing another couple in the prime spotlight, need not fear. Darcy and Elizabeth still do make an appearance in this tale and there are some interesting developments where they are concerned… 😉 I really enjoyed the direction Ms. Kincaid went with these characters, and I know many will be happy that they are included! I think the only thing missing from this engaging and gratifying tale is a proper punishment for Caroline Bingley, who truly was the sole antagonist of this piece.
With When Jane Got Angry Victoria Kincaid once again delivers a well-written, imaginative, and thoughtful variation that is very much needed in the Austenesque genre. Readers who wish for a Jane Bennet that less naive and a Mr. Bingley that is more decisive will be elated with this novella!