A handsome, wealthy and slightly arrogant man of the upper class proposes to a passionate, impoverished gentlewoman to whom he has fallen in love against all odds and gets the shock of his life when she turns down his assumptive proposal that reeks with confidence in his own superiority.
The disastrous proposal is the catalyst that sets Darcy on a different path- one of pain, humiliation, strong bitterness, but definitely determination. Never again will he let his heart lead him when it comes to matrimonial affairs. He sets out to find a woman who is superior, well-connected, will be a credit to him as the mistress of his estate and future mother of his heir. She will lead with her head and not her heart, she will conduct herself with decorum and possess a refined taste. And his list goes on, but in the process of forming it two things force him to re-evaluate.
Georgiana Darcy has never seen her older brother and guardian like this. He returns to Pemberley in such a state of mind that he is distracted, acts and speaks impulsively and startles her with his sudden rush to find a wife. Something brought this about, but she wisely waits and watches. When his decision begins to affect her future and his future happiness however, that is a different thing entirely. William’s rashness to consult their Fitzwilliam relations lead those insufferable snobs to go on the hunt to find her a wealthy titled husband and his need to consult a local lady to help guide Georgiana through her first social experiences brings a beautiful yet haughty calculating Miss Marshall into their sphere and raises the woman’s expectation of an offer from Darcy- an offer it seems he is likely to make. Georgiana will set aside her reticent nature and do what it takes to keep that from happening even the second candidate his brother is considering is preferable though Georgiana doesn’t think Miss Bingley is right for her brother either.
Darcy discovers that the harder he works to move on past the heartbreak Elizabeth Bennet dealt him the more it brings her to his attention. His list of qualities for a wife lead him to think of her qualities and his attempt to informally court other women leads him to compare them to the standard of Elizabeth. And then there is Georgiana’s disappointment and disgust with his list and her stolid insistence that he consider other qualities no matter that he tries to disillusion her about happiness and love with a marriage partner. But then a twist of fate gives him a second chance with Elizabeth if he is willing to try again now that he fully understands just how wrong he was in thinking, actions and in word when he approached her the first time.
This variation of Pride & Prejudice from the point of view of Darcy was an absolute delight. Lovers of Austenesque literature and Historical Romance lovers alike can appreciate this one even if they never read the original. The retelling offers new characters and plot paths that were not present in the original. Its fun to see how these alterations affect the story.
It picks up in the middle of a story in the sense that the story of the characters and their acquaintance began before and yet with flashbacks and explanations the reader doesn’t feel lost and is brought up to speed. The narration is split between Darcy and his sister Georgiana so that the reader is privy to his state of mind, but also an outside perspective. Georgiana is a fun narrator. I loved her witty humor as she observes those around her and sassy determination to work for her brother’s happiness.
I loved how the author wrote Darcy’s character so that he had to undergo a significant amount of character development. Honestly, I couldn’t stand Darcy at first. I felt sorry for him because his marriage proposal to a woman he loved was rejected, but seriously he totally shot himself in the foot. It takes some time before he sees where it went wrong and his own part in his downfall. His list was his jab at Elizabeth out of his pain, anger and bitterness, but it also became a source of amusement for me. I loved the twist in the story of adding the second chance at romance opportunity that comes at the worst time for him because all his plotting has come to roost. Just when he gets a chance with Elizabeth, he is suddenly surrounded by interested females and because it is all from his point of view I was left wondering if Elizabeth had a change of heart.
The book is actually the first part of a continuing storyline so it leaves off at the point another twist happens at a crisis point. This was pretty much the stage setter for the situation, the characters, and the romance. The big emphasis has been character development and table setting for the meat of the plot. I like where the story is going and I look forward to what is to come. There are only hints to the romance at this point. I look forward to more romance, but I think the part I most anticipate is more of Georgiana’s thoughts on things.
All in all, it was a good start and is something I would recommend to Austenesque fans and Sweet Historical Romance fans who like a retelling of a classic story.
My thanks to the author for providing a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.
Many know that I am a Jane Austen geek- an unapologetic Austenite. I can’t pass up the opportunity to read retellings, adaptions and variations of her stories when I spot them. Not that I limit myself. Most classics and fairytales are fair game for me. Like Beauty and the Beast? Oh yes, I love that plot. And Cinderella? I love a good underdog heroine. Feel free to confess any similar geekeries with me like a favorite classic or fairytale retelling you love or have read. Recommendations are gladly received.