“Okay, I know he’s been an ass to you, but I think he’s closed himself off to everyone for so long…”
“Don’t go making excuses for him,” said Lizzy, parking the car. “Yes, I feel bad about what happened with his family and that it’s just him, but it doesn’t excuse the way he behaves. He’s not a child, and he should know common courtesy.” She turned off the engine and pulled out the key, pausing before she got out of the car. “I don’t want to argue with you about him. He’s Charles’ friend, and yours as well, but it doesn’t mean that I have to like him.”
(from A Matter of Chance)
A Matter of Chance is a contemporary retelling of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. L.L. Diamond puts the characters in the U.S. South, turning Longbourn into an Antebellum home. Lizzy Gardiner — having cut ties with the Bennets — inherited the home from her great aunt and lives alone with her two-year-old daughter and overprotective dog, Bear. She teaches art at a local college and prides herself in not depending on anyone for anything — not since she showed up at her sister and brother-in-law’s home two years ago after fleeing her abusive husband, Greg Wickham.
Things aren’t easy for her, but life gets more complicated when she meets her brother-in-law Charles Bingley’s best friend, William Darcy, the CEO of a multi-million-dollar conglomerate who has returned to Mertyon after running to England three years ago following the accident that killed his father and sister. He is immediately drawn to Lizzy, but his intense stares, arrogant attitude, and thoughtless remarks make her uncomfortable and ultimately angry. As William begins to move on after his loss and let Lizzy into his heart, she is determined not to allow him to help her. Her fierce independence could prevent her from finding happiness, and the past catching up to her could destroy them both.
This was my first L.L. Diamond book, but it definitely won’t be the last. (And I sincerely apologize to her for taking so long to read and review this book!) She does an amazing job bringing Darcy and Elizabeth into the present and into a different setting. The characters are beautifully flawed, their losses and their fears making them hesitant. I loved how Diamond turned the Bennets (aside from Jane, of course) into such obnoxious, shockingly bad people and Mrs. Reynolds into the kindest, most generous lady ever. I enjoyed watching Will and Lizzy’s relationship evolve. Lizzy’s daughter, Melanie, is a sweetheart, and her bond with Will is melt-your-heart adorable. At times I felt the progression of their relationship could’ve been tightened up and more time could’ve been spent on Lizzy’s ex, Greg, and Will’s stalker, Caroline Bingley. But none of that interfered with my enjoyment of the novel, as Diamond does a fantastic job throwing obstacles in Will and Lizzy’s path and making them work for the strength to overcome them.
A Matter of Chance is a well-written retelling of Austen’s beloved novel, and while it could stand on its own without the connection to Darcy and Elizabeth, I was delighted to follow them into another place and time. Diamond captures the essence of Pride and Prejudice in these pages, showing how timeless the plot and characters truly are.
Disclosure: I received A Matter of Chance from the author for review.
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