Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Source: Review Copy from Author
TYPE OF NOVEL: Pride and Prejudice Variation, Fantasy
TIME FRAME: Begins during Elizabeth’s stay at Hunsford Parsonage
SYNOPSIS: Taking us into a world were humans have magic (including Lizzy, Darcy, and Lord Matlock) and fae folk have existed for centuries (ruled by King Oberon and Queen Titania), Abigail Reynolds constructs a fascinating fantasy that entwines Jane Austen’s characters in an enchanted adventure filled with secrets, new prejudices, conflicts, corruption, and of course, magic. There is discontent rising in Faerie and a war against the humans is determined. Darcy and Elizabeth are caught in the middle of this dispute and it becomes their mission to end the unrest and violence. But family drama and new dangerous developments and cause no small amount of delays for them – (not to mention their own prejudices, fears, and personal struggles that get in the way.)
WHAT I LOVED:
- An Imaginative New World: Abigail Reynolds did an absolutely fantastic job constructing and introducing readers to this original alternate world. There was so much world building involved with this tale, and so much for readers to learn. I really appreciate how succinctly and clearly Ms. Reynolds imparts pertinent knowledge to readers. It never becomes too heavy, overly complex, or convoluted. The rules and realities of this alternate world are divulged gradually and relevantly in a well-balanced fashion.
- Creative and Plausible Intertwining: Since the story does veer off course a substantial amount in this magic-induced world, I really admired the connections Abigail Reynolds established that gave believable reasons and possibilities to some of Jane Austen’s characters, such as Mrs. Bennet, Mr. Bennet, Mr. Collins, and the de Bourghs. These plausible explanations were so clever and I had great fun believing them.
- The Fitzwilliam Family and Original Characters: Just like with Conceit and Concealment, various members of the Fitzwilliam family are integral to the action and development of this story. I think Abigail Reynolds has a partiality for the Fitzwilliams. 😉 In addition, we are introduced to a family friend, Viscount Eversleigh, who plays a vital role in this story and has some interesting connections to these characters. All these character additions were wonderfully well-drawn and are quick to earn readers’ interest and respect. My particular favorites were Eversleigh, Frederica Fitzwilliam, Aelfric, and Peper!.
- Fae Folk and Faerie: I’ve not read any other stories that included faes and I definitely haven’t come across Austenesque stories that integrate these creatures – dragons and phantoms?- yes, but not fae. I loved everything about the fae; like Lord Matlock and Frederica, I am obsessed with their culture and eager to learn all I can. I loved all the details and thought that went into establishing the fae in this story – some of which is inspired by traditional folklore. In this story readers can come to understand the difference between fae culture and Regency culture, and learn their history, customs, and etiquette. I especially loved seeing Jane Austen’s characters react to and adapt to fae etiquette when visiting Faerie…poor Mr. Darcy perhaps had the most learning and adjusting to do! 😉 LOL!
- All Things Combined: There was so much going on in this story, so much action, so many characters, so much history and culture – and not to mention the combining of Jane Austen’s characters and world with, not only the Fae world, but a little bit of William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer’s Night Dream! The mixture and balance of all these elements truly is an impressive accomplishment!
WHAT I WASN’T TOO FOND OF:
- The only thing that I can complain about is that I want more! I loved this Fae-inspired Pride and Prejudice tale, will you take us back to Faerie, Ms. Reynolds?
While there are some references made to intimate embraces and violence, nothing graphic or explicit takes place on page. I’d recommend this book to readers over the age of 13.
Whether or not you enjoy fantasy and believe in magic, this enchanting and compelling variation by Abigail Reynolds will cast you under its enigmatic spell. With Mr. Darcy’s Enchantment Ms. Reynolds once again displays her ingenuity, meticulous attention to detail, and riveting story-telling powers. We are so eager to see what she writes next!