Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Source: Review Copy from Author
TYPE OF NOVEL: Pride and Prejudice Variation
SETTING: Summer 1811, London
SYNOPSIS: In an alternative Pride and Prejudice timeline, Elizabeth and Kitty Bennet are enjoying a sojourn in London with the Gardiners before Mr. Bingley arrives in Netherfield with his houseguests. On their way home one night the sisters spot a handsome footman who seems to be intoxicated, injured, or possibly the victim of some crime. With no idea who he is the ladies offer shelter to this poor and incoherent footman. Little do they know that the man they aided is not a footman, but a wealthy member of the ton who was trying his best to thwart a serious comprise scheme… This “footman’s” trials are not over yet though, he can’t return home without a way to clear his name and protect his future. What happens when this disagreeable and prideful man seeks the assistance of his kind yet impertinent savior, who he believes to be the daughter of a tradesman?
WHAT I LOVED:
- “By All Means, Rome”: I absolutely LOVE that this story is an homage to Roman Holiday (a movie you HAVE to see, if you haven’t already!) What an imaginative idea! And I must say, it was executed masterfully – perhaps a teensy bit whimsical, but it was a plausible plot that doesn’t force ill-fitting parallels and contains many of its own charms and originality. My favorite parallels were the delayed-action sedative and the adventurous Vespa/carriage rides through the city!
- An Unraveling Premise: I love how Nicole Clarkston kept her readers in the dark! She doesn’t explain why Lizzy and Kitty are in London, she doesn’t reveal what happened to the other sisters – but she hints that something happened, and she keeps mum about a few other secrets that characters are hiding. Even though I might have felt bursting with curiosity at times, I enjoyed speculating about what had happened and seeing if I could figure everything out. I appreciated the skillfully employed slow reveals, and I loved that there were several surprising twists along the way.
- Such New Roles: I loved seeing Darcy and Elizabeth in such a unique situation. Seeing Darcy dressed as a footman yet not at all accustomed to behaving like one was hilarious and adorable. Not to mention seeing him don a disguise and act a part! And I so admired Elizabeth’s unselfish concern and determined assistance. She is a marvel! I really enjoyed the experience of seeing Darcy and Elizabeth on such different footing with each other, you really couldn’t predict how their relationship would evolve.
- Enchanting Interactions: Speaking of Darcy and Elizabeth, there were so many beautiful, tender, comical, and overall sublime moments of them together in this story! *sigh* I loved seeing all these endearing exchanges, and I couldn’t possibly decide which I liked most – the playful banter, the picnic, the balloon ride, or the waltz. Again *sigh*
- Vauxhall Gardens: It was lovely to see this historic entertainment site so prominently featured in this novel. With vivid details and thorough descriptions, it was clear Ms. Clarkston researched the pleasure garden extensively. I really enjoyed the various sites and activities we witnessed taking place there.
- With a Little Help From Our Friends: I loved Colonel Fitzwilliam’s role in this story – his comments and antics were a riot! And I equally loved Mr. Darcy’s valet, Wilson, what a gem he is! Mr. Darcy is lucky to have both men on his side…his opposition is a devious and formidable force!
WHAT I WASN’T TOO FOND OF:
- That Roman Holiday doesn’t have the magnificent ending that this story has! 😉 Thank you, Ms. Clarkston for fixing that!
London Holiday is a rollicking romantic lark, brimming with tension, intrigue, romance, and wit! Written with skill and style this is yet again another exquisite offering from the pen of Nicole Clarkston!