What comes after the Happily Ever After for a favored couple from a classic is a story line sure to grab my interest. But take that and layer it into a modern story of mystery and romance and, shazam, I am practically guaranteed a tale that will keep me riveted from cover to cover. And this one delivered.
The answer to a two hundred year old secret will either destroy or continue to bring hope to a woman who desperately needs the funds from the Darcy Trust. A cunning private investigator delves deep into the past following a trail of clues that will hopefully lead to a satisfying resolution for the woman who has captured his attention, but whom he has already hurt dearly.
In the past, a woman seemingly has a happy life of home, family, and loving husband, but feels the distance growing as she cannot give her husband the son and heir that she feels is he expects from her. And what of this situation that has arisen? Will it be just that one thing too much for him to accept?
I enjoyed this tandem of past and present stories that had a connection, but also offered two very different tales. Split stories like this are hit or miss for me because of the potential of being distracted as they flip back and forth, but also the potential for one to be weaker than the other. But not in this case. The author did a marvelous job of writing two strong story lines and tying them together in such a way that they leave off in good places for the shift to the other story. I won’t lie, there will be moments the reader will groan over getting pulled back to follow the other path, but both held this appeal so that was good.
The two story threads are told in two different voice styles which worked to distinguish the stories as much as the era in which they were written. In the past, Darcy and Elizabeth’s story is told first person through his few letters and her diaries and, in the present, Charlie and Evie share third person narration of their story. It was a interesting choice and I thought a good one.
Elizabeth and Darcy’s story had that tone and texture of the past. I thought the author wrote a good historical sounding dialogue, description of upper class family life, and considerations a married pair must face when the bloom is off the honeymoon and life happens. There is a strong effort to make the characters true to Austen’s and I thought it was well done. It was neat to reunite with all the well-loved characters of the Bennet and Darcy clan to see where they are at a few years later. The secret element added some spice to the quieter yet equally strong conflicts of this part of the story. But that very last scene in the diary made my romantic heart swoon and return to it two times before I could move forward.
And in the present, the new characters, Charlie and Evie with their backgrounds and stories were no less interesting. Charlie is a jaded detective who pretty much lives for the win. He takes the check and does his job until he encounters Evie. Suddenly she is more than a case and a job for him, but he arrogantly messed up with her and now has to overcome her well-earned prejudice. Sound familiar? I loved the echoes of the classic story in the new one. The hunt for the evidence that would prove or disapprove Evie’s right to the Darcy Trust was a nice little mystery that balanced well with their fledgling romance.
I liked the dynamic the suspicion that one of the Darcy daughters was illegitimate did to the story. The reader is kept in suspense through the investigations in the modern story and through the events of Darcy’s letters and Lizzy’s diary in the past until nearly the end. This was the real nailbiter for Darcy and Lizzy fans.
In summation, this dual story of light romantic suspense was fantastic and stand-out read. It will undoubtedly be one I re-read for the pleasure of several passages that I marked. This is definitely for the Austen lover, but also those who enjoy a little conspiracy in their classics and a modern day clue hunt in their romance.
I was gifted this book by the editor in exchange for my honest review thoughts.
Romance Roundabout #209 RS