Despite her light-headedness, she was stunned at the absence of his usual reserve and distant demeanour. Gone was the stiff, wooden expression that she associated with him. Instead, his face was suffused with obvious joy and warmth, especially when he looked at her. Despite herself, she could not completely resist the gratification of being examined in such a manner. In that state of mixed emotions and befuddled thoughts, she closed her eyes against the bright light and thus was unaware of Darcy leaping to catch her as she swooned.
(from Pride, Prejudice & Secrets)
Quick summary: Pride, Prejudice & Secrets, C.P. Odom’s latest variation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, imagines what might have happened if Elizabeth Bennet fell ill while staying with Mr. and Mrs. Collins at Hunsford, and when Mr. Darcy proposes to her, albeit it in a nicer fashion, her foggy-headed response is taken as a yes. Elizabeth still views him as the last man in the world she would ever marry, but as she regains her physical and mental strength, she realizes breaking the engagement may not be as easy as she’d hoped. And as she observes Mr. Darcy more closely and gets to know his sister, she begins to think that maybe she had been too hasty in her harsh judgments. Odom takes readers along for the ride as Elizabeth and Darcy’s relationship grows, showing how the secrets they keep from each other change the lives of their family and friends.
Why I wanted to read it: I’ve been wanting to read more of Odom’s work, since I loved his last novel, Consequences, so much.
What I liked: Odom is a great storyteller, and I loved how he made the wars with France and America take on a greater role in this variation. It gave more depth to a novel that remains, at its core, a love story. And in that vein, I enjoyed how Odom heated things up between Elizabeth and Darcy without being too descriptive or stepping too far outside the bounds of propriety. But most of all, I loved how Odom made Mr. Collins more likeable; took several characters down different paths, including Jane Bennet, Mr. Wickham, and Caroline Bingley; introduced another Darcy cousin, Captain Fitzwilliam; and even let Elizabeth and Darcy play matchmaker for Colonel Fitzwilliam.
What I disliked: The only think I disliked was that the story had to end, but a detailed epilogue provided a very satisfying conclusion.
Final thoughts: Pride, Prejudice & Secrets is the perfect Austen variation for readers who want a happily ever after for Darcy and Elizabeth but want something different when it comes to the secondary characters. Odom is not afraid to take risks and shake things up in his Austen variations. (His last one even made me cry!) I’ve read a lot of sweet and enjoyable Pride and Prejudice variations, but this was the first one in a long time that really wowed me and made me stay up late to find out what would happen next.
Thanks to Leatherbound Reviews for having me on the tour for Pride, Prejudice & Secrets. To learn more about the book and follow the tour, click the banner below.
Disclosure: I received Pride, Prejudice & Secrets from Meryton Press for review.
© 2015 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.