Reading the words of a woman in love did not cause those same feelings to blossom in her chest. She was in the peculiar state of both knowing herself, and not.
(from Side by Side, Apart)
Quick summary: Ann Galvia’s Side by Side, Apart is a unique take on Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. A sequel of sorts, the novel takes place 11 years after the marriage of Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet. However, an accident leaves Elizabeth without any memory of her marriage or her children. The last thing Elizabeth remembers is Darcy’s proposal at Hunsford, so she can’t possibly understand how or why she would have married him. Forced to be in his company, Elizabeth realizes the Mr. Darcy she married is nothing like the Mr. Darcy she once knew, and she must piece together the mystery of how she became Mrs. Darcy.
Why I wanted to read it: I can’t resist Pride and Prejudice variations, and the more unique, the better.
What I liked: Galvia’s clever plot drew me in from the first page. Elizabeth wakes up in an unfamiliar house, in her nightgown, and doesn’t understand why Mr. Darcy is in her room. Galvia does a fantastic job getting into Elizabeth’s head as she struggles to assume her role as mistress of Pemberley, and most importantly as a wife and mother. It was heartbreaking to see Elizabeth unable to feel what she should for Darcy and her children, but it was delightful to see Elizabeth’s feelings for this older, more mature Darcy evolve. I especially enjoyed how this novel took place more than a decade after the events of Pride and Prejudice, so there were numerous new characters, from Perry, Elizabeth’s maid, to the children, and I had no inkling of how things would unfold.
What I disliked: Absolutely nothing! Even though I wish the novel had been longer, it was entirely satisfying.
Final thoughts: Side by Side, Apart is definitely a contender for my Best of 2016 list, and if I were to compile a list of my favorite Pride and Prejudice-inspired stories, it would likely be toward the top. It’s definitely a novel to savor on a lazy afternoon with a cup of tea, though I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. I was so attached to Galvia’s Elizabeth and Darcy, as well as their children, that I would love to see her revisit them again in the future.
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Disclosure: I received Side by Side, Apart from Mertyon Press for review.
© 2016 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.