“If she is really as wonderful as you say, certainly she will not wait forever for you to make up your mind. She has a duty, after all, especially when one considers her familial circumstances, to marry well. She must find it rather insulting that you look so far down upon her relations; do you really believe she will remain available once another man has expressed his interest?” Georgiana had never spoken to her brother so forcibly and was surprised he did not seem to mind, let alone call an immediate end to the conversation, as she had feared.
(from First Impressions, page 120)
Alexa Adams is quickly becoming a favorite of mine among the authors of Austen-inspired fiction. Once I picked up her novel First Impressions: A Tale of Less Pride & Prejudice, nothing could pry it out of my hands. First Impressions is a gentle retelling of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice that first imagines what would happen if, at the Meryton Assembly, Mr. Darcy does not slight Elizabeth Bennet but instead asks her to dance and ends up enjoying himself. From there, Adams imagines what would have happened had Mr. Darcy not interfered with Mr. Bingley’s relationship with Jane Bennet, Mr. Bennet was warned to keep his daughters away from Mr. Wickham, and Mr. Collins makes a more suitable match, sparing Charlotte Lucas a lifetime of putting up with his ridiculousness.
Surprisingly, removing all the tension of the original novel doesn’t cause the novel to fall flat. Adams’ Mr. Darcy finds himself confessing to Mr. Bennet the reasons he is wary to marry his favorite daughter, with amusing results, and she sends Lady Catherine de Bourgh, Mr. Darcy’s formidable aunt, rushing off to Longbourn, this time for a different reason. And Caroline Bingley, in a very satisfying twist, gets her just desserts.
First Impressions is a short, satisfying novel that focuses on the humor, the romance, and the ridiculousness of certain characters. I loved how Adams, just like Austen, gives the characters their privacy, not even allowing readers to witness Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth’s first kiss. Like Austen, Adams’ narrator talks directly to the reader, and it’s little touches like this that I found so delightful. First Impressions was the perfect book to keep me company on a cold, snowy day, and as the snow approaches again tomorrow, I plan to be under a warm blanket nursing a cup of cocoa and reading the second book, Second Glances. I’ll be finishing this week with the third book, Holidays at Pemberley. Who better than Mr. Darcy to get me in the holiday spirit?
Disclosure: I received First Impressions from the author for review.
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