Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
TYPE OF NOVEL: Pride and Prejudice Prequel
TIME FRAME: Begins around thirteen years before Pride and Prejudice
SYNOPSIS: What circumstances brought Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner together? Was it love-at-first sight, a marriage that grew into love, or did they experience their own rocky road to a happy understanding? Perhaps it begins with Mr. Gardiner joining his brother by marriage as he travels north on family business… Accompanying the two men on this expedition are the two eldest Bennet daughters – Jane (age eight), and Elizabeth (age seven). But due to one of the sisters falling ill, the journey north is unexpectedly paused in the city of Lambton…
WHAT I LOVED:
- The Romance of A Favorite Couple: Many readers consider the Gardiners as one of Jane Austen’s best examples of a happily married couple in her novels. The few scenes we see between them in Pride and Prejudice show their mutual regard and respect, as well as their easy companionship. With so many married couples that are mismatched (the Bennets, the Palmers) and indifferent (the Bertrams, the Hursts), seeing one so happy in their union is rare. I absolutely loved seeing the whole courtship between Madeline and Edward – everything from their first encounter to the wedding day, the sweet stolen moments alone and the tender blossoming of regard.
- Adorable Younger Versions: It was such a pleasant surprise to encounter Jane, Elizabeth, Mr. Darcy, and others as children in this story! I loved how Ms. Clarkston portrayed their younger personalities, she did so with much thought and attention to the adults they would become.
- So Much More Than Courtship: As mentioned above this story features a lot of other characters we know from P&P, and I particularly enjoyed how some relationships were explored and fleshed out in this story. Such as between Fitzwilliam and his father, or Fitzwilliam and a new friend. I also enjoyed seeing some scenes feature other characters such as Mr. Bennet and Lady Catherine…especially the one scene where they are present together!
- The Gardiners: Not only was it lovely to see the love story between these two characters, but it also was lovely to spend more time with them. They both are such admirable and likable characters. I loved seeing the endearing ways they both interacted with children, (especially Edward’s gentleness with both Jane and Lizzy). In addition, I love how both dreamed of a marriage that would be like an equal partnership – one that perhaps is a little unconventional for their time period. (I loved that Madeline had such an interest for numbers and business, it makes her such a perfect fit for Edward!)
- The Charms of Lambton: I loved spending more time in the village of Lambton! Ms. Clarkston does a wonderful job of introducing some townsfolk to her story (such as Mr. Fairbanks – Madeline’s dad and Mrs. Porter – the innkeeper’s wife) and illustrating the ways of life there. I enjoyed feeling a sense of community in Lambton, especially during and after the hailstorm.
WHAT I WASN’T TOO FOND OF:
- I might say I missed having some sort of antagonist, but truly, I don’t think I did!
In The Courtship of Edward Gardiner, Nicole Clarkston delivers a thoughtful, endearing, and thorough prequel to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice that is a pure delight to read! Even if the Gardiners aren’t of much interest to you, I still recommend you give this enchanting book a try!
Thanks to the lovely Nicole Clarkston I actually have a second paperback copy of The Courtship of Edward Gardiner in my possession! Since I don’t need two copies, I’m offering the second book as a giveaway today!
To enter this giveaway, leave a comment about my review!
- This giveaway is open to US residents.
- This giveaway will end April 17th.