The fact that she had seen fit to accept him did bring a measure of surprise, particularly in view of her stilted disclosures about her broken heart — but also brought some sort of mild contentment, at the full knowledge that, in Miss Elliot’s kind and capable hands, Georgiana’s future would be safe and well guarded.
And so was Pemberley’s. And perhaps his own.
(from The Subsequent Proposal, page 23)
Quick summary: In The Subsequent Proposal, Joana Starnes deftly brings together characters from two of Jane Austen’s novels: Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion. Reeling from his rejection at the hands of Elizabeth Bennet, Mr. Darcy meets Anne Elliot through his Fitzwilliam relations, and they forge a bond based on friendship and their mutual understanding of lost love and heartache. Mr. Darcy sees how Anne is treated by her family and vows to give her a better life, even if he can never give her his heart. After Anne accepts his proposal, Mr. Darcy must go to Hertfordshire in support of his best friend. When he finds that Elizabeth has caught the eye of a certain naval captain, he begins to rethink the decisions he made in the midst of his pain.
Why I wanted to read it: I wanted to see how the characters from two of my all-time favorite novels would interact with one another.
What I liked: Starnes tells the story through Darcy’s eyes, and she does an excellent job showing the roller coaster of emotions he rode after Elizabeth spurned his insulting marriage proposal. Readers see the depth of his love and his despair at the thought of her not being in his life. I loved watching Darcy and Captain Wentworth — two of my favorite literary heroes — in a competition of sorts. But most of all, I loved that Starnes created a world where I could accept that Darcy and Anne would make a sensible match, even if she lacks Elizabeth’s liveliness and wit.
What I disliked: I honestly didn’t find anything to dislike in this novel, but at times I wished I could’ve seen some of the events through the eyes of Captain Wentworth.
Final thoughts: The Subsequent Proposal makes it seem as though the characters of Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion were meant to be together. I love it when Austen-inspired fiction shakes things up a bit, and Starnes certainly does that! I enjoyed the many sides of Darcy that she presents throughout the novel, and I was delighted to see him go toe-to-toe with Captain Wentworth, Sir Walter Elliot, and Lady Russell. This was the first novel by Starnes that I’ve read, but it definitely won’t be the last!
Disclosure: I received The Subsequent Proposal from the author for review.
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