Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Source: Review Copy from Author
In her creative and expressive Pride and Prejudice novella, Maria Grace makes one slight change to Jane Austen’s beloved tale: Mr. Darcy is an accomplished gentleman artist! *swoon* While Fitzwilliam Darcy is often kept busy with estate business and his many responsibilities, his one true passion and the activity that preoccupies much of his mind and soul is painting. But lately Darcy feels like his muse has left him. Is it because of what happened in Ramsgate that his creative well has run dry? Is it Lady Catherine’s increased insistence about announcing his engagement to Anne? Or is it because his muse wants him to enjoy a change of scenery…
There are many stories published that detail and retell the events of Pride and Prejudice from Mr. Darcy’s perspective, and in Inspiration readers will once again see the story solely through his eyes. But the one significant change being Mr. Darcy has an artistic eye. His habit of staring is now revealed to be because he is studying the features and forms of the people around him, and his lack of conversation is explained because he is busy trying to commit all his artistic observations to memory. Darcy being a gentleman artist truly does fit well with his character, doesn’t it? You could even surmise that some of his taciturnity comes from being frustrated with his art or his uncooperative and mercurial muse.
What I enjoyed most about this novella and what made me want to read it was seeing Mr. Darcy portrayed as a gentleman artist. I love when authors give a new trait or interest to Mr. Darcy’s character. I especially enjoyed observing all of Mr. Darcy’s artistic musings – his rhapsodizing observations about Elizabeth’s beauty, his frenzied activity when inspiration struck, and his emotional turmoil when his muse abandoned him. Ms. Grace’s talent for evocative prose and descriptive language were on brilliant display in this story:
“At first, it had been a delightful tension of anticipation – a new work in progress, the thrill of the creative, generative act. The wonder at what it would become, what new secrets would he learn from the images that formed beneath his brush. But as the weeks passed, the sweetness slipped away, replaced by bitter frustration.” (page 13)
“The frost wind that carried her words tore the heat from her body and the air from his lungs. A more gentleman-like manner… The way those words reverberated through his being, he might never cease hearing them.” (page 73)
One quibble I have for this story would be that I wish it delved deeper into Darcy’s feelings as they developed for Elizabeth. (SLIGHT SPOILER ALERT!) Darcy’s muse is often portrayed as its own entity. And while I thought it interesting (and at times amusing) that Darcy felt his muse was in control and that “she” would often reward or punish him, I wasn’t so fond of the fact that Darcy felt led to propose by his muse rather than his own feelings of regard and affection: “His muse would not be satisfied without her constant presence. The only way to obtain that was to make her his wife.” (page 67). I would have preferred seeing Darcy fall in love with Elizabeth for other reasons rather than her being a source of inspiration.
In addition, I have long been an admirer of Maria Grace’s splendidly inventive twists when it comes to Pride and Prejudice characters and story-lines. I was slightly disappointed to see that this story stayed very true to course and didn’t have as much original content as her other works. I would have enjoyed seeing the art component of this story cause greater change or take things in new directions. Especially since a lot of the dialogue and events of this story remained the same as they do in Pride and Prejudice.
With Inspiration, Maria Grace has crafted another inspired and inventive story for readers to enjoy! An evocative and sensitive tale that displays creativity, perception, and humor!
Today Maria generously offers ONE copy ebook of her newest release – Inspiration – for me to give away to ONE lucky winner!
To enter this giveaway, leave a comment about my review!!
- This giveaway is open worldwide. Thank you, Maria!
- This giveaway ends March 27th!