There are many avenues one can take to love, but I confess that one that I enjoy is when a romance involves correspondence. The pen can sometimes say more clearly what the lips cannot. I eagerly picked up this Pride & Prejudice variation as a result. What if Mr. Darcy put all his thoughts on Elizabeth into secret letters that he never planned to mail? And what would happen if she somehow received them?
Oh yes, I certainly wanted to find out.
The story opens two months after Hunsford, but then flashes back to get the reader au currant with the present situation. There is an assumption that readers will already be familiar with the original Pride & Prejudice story, but I think someone new to it might be okay if they have the patience to let the backstory tease out after some initial bewilderment.
The story begins with Darcy contemplating his lost chance at love with Elizabeth. At first, he is angry at the woman who scorned him and terribly heartbroken. He just wants to be away from her. Unfortunately, due to a chain of circumstances, he is brought repeatedly into her presence. He has no hope that this is a second chance, but does hope that he can at least show her that she was very wrong about him before they part for good. Later, he is determined to change and be a man worthy of her even if he never gets another opportunity with Elizabeth. In the meantime, he bares his soul in letters to Elizabeth that he even directs to her and seals up, but then he hides them away.
Elizabeth thought she detested the man who arrogantly proposed to her, but it is not long before his letter defending himself against her charges to his character work upon her. She misjudged the man, utterly. Further encounters between them unsettle her, because seen through less prejudiced eyes, Darcy is a worthy man and she feels the sorrow of the way she rejected him and destroyed any chances of remaining the object of his love. Or is there still a chance?
Darcy and Elizabeth share the narration of this story. I loved how the author took the opportunity to stay within the timeline of the original P&P story, but also fill in the gaps of what happened in Darcy’s life away from Elizabeth. Oh, not that there aren’t a few distinct changes that come about as a result of Darcy or Lizzy’s actions. The ones involving Wickham and Lydia were great as was the extended time with Georgiana and Col. Fitzwilliam.
It is a gentle story that is slower-paced slowly building the romance and growing the characters. Darcy and Lizzy were hard on each other at first and then hard on themselves. There’s a lot of introspection in this one which suited the style of the story.
The author did a wonderful job of settling the story in the time period and in the world of Jane Austen. There wasn’t a strong attention to details other than in specific instances, but it added depth rather than distracted from the story.
I should probably say that since I mentioned the letters earlier; that the actual contents aren’t available until nearer the end of the story. They are beautiful letters and worth it. I got terribly swoony over them.
All in all, this was a splendid variation on the original that I would recommend to Austenesque Lovers in particular and, in general, to lovers of Sweet Romance.
My thanks to Meryton Press for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Romance Roundabout #345 HR
Historical Romance #106
Austenesque Lovers #52
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