Elizabeth looked at the tall, handsome figure silhouetted against the window and repressed a shiver. From his hard countenance to the cold determination in his eyes, he presented a formidable picture. Mr. Darcy was not a man to be crossed.
(from The Netherfield Affair)
Quick Summary: The Netherfield Affair is the first book in Penelope Swan’s four-part Dark Darcy Mystery series of Pride and Prejudice variations. This installment opens after Jane Bennet has traveled to Netherfield Park on horseback in the rain. The stormy weather provides the perfect atmosphere for Lydia’s stories about the haunting at Netherfield and Wicked George the Highwayman. Although Elizabeth doesn’t believe in ghosts or in romanticizing highwaymen, these are the thoughts that fill her head upon her arrival to Netherfield to care for her ill sister. With strange noises, a ghostly face in the attic window, missing valuables, messages passed through flowers, and a stranger in the night, Elizabeth must piece together a puzzle in order to prove her innocence. Meanwhile, she must contend with the servants’ gossip, the high and mighty Miss Bingley, and the dark and mysterious Mr. Darcy.
Why I wanted to read it: Pride and Prejudice and a mystery? Enough said! Also, I really enjoyed the first book I read by Penelope Swan, Darcy’s Christmas Wish.
What I liked: I liked the atmospheric storytelling and the mix of elements from Austen’s novel and Swan’s unique touches. I enjoyed the original characters (the naive maid and the sleazy thief taker), the mystery, and especially how it brought Elizabeth and Darcy together as amateur sleuths.
What I disliked: It was too short, ending when the Bennet sisters leave Netherfield to return to Longbourn with expectations of Mr. Bingley hosting a ball. However, the mystery was wrapped up, leaving me satisfied on that front.
Final thoughts: The Netherfield Affair is an intriguing start to the Dark Darcy Mystery series. It’s short enough and exciting enough to be read in one sitting. Just make sure you have the next installment ready to go because you’ll want to dive right in. I’ve fast become a fan of Swan’s Pride and Prejudice variations, and I can’t wait to read the rest of this series.
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Disclosure: I received The Netherfield Affair from the author for review.
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