Her breath came easier after the first hundred yards as the strenuous pace she kept worked its magic, just as it always did. She might well be Mrs. Darcy now, but she would not lose sight of Elizabeth Bennet. And Elizabeth Bennet did not sit moping and blaming the world for all her troubles. She would make the best of what she was given, and make haste about it, too.
(from Mr. Bennet’s Dutiful Daughter)
Joana Starnes’ latest novel, Mr. Bennet’s Dutiful Daughter, is a variation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice that takes readers on an emotional journey, imagining what might have happened had Mr. Darcy interrupted Elizabeth Bennet and Colonel Fitzwilliam’s stroll at Rosings Park before the colonel tells her about Mr. Darcy’s interference in her sister’s relationship with Mr. Bingley. In Starnes’ tale, Darcy brings Elizabeth news that her father has fallen ill, and he acknowledges that while his timing is bad, he loves her and wishes to marry her. Making this disclosure immediately is meant to bring a bit of calm to the chaos, with Mr. Collins seeking to swoop in and take over Longbourn before Mr. Bennet is even gone. Knowing that marrying Mr. Darcy will provide security for her mother and sisters in the event of Mr. Bennet’s death, Elizabeth agrees, taking some comfort in the fact that Mr. Darcy is indeed a much better man than she’d originally believed.
Elizabeth has a hard time coming to terms with the extent of Mr. Darcy’s feelings for her, but she doesn’t have the heart to tell him that she doesn’t return those feelings. Still, she approaches their marriage with courage and kindness, but eventually the reality of their situation — namely the differences in their backgrounds — can no longer be ignored. Her family’s impropriety and connections in trade and his family’s outrage over the rushed and ill-suited match put a damper on their relationship, and misunderstandings conspire to separate them for good, just when Elizabeth believes they have found real happiness.
Mr. Bennet’s Dutiful Daughter is a beautifully written novel, with just the right amount of angst to move me to the brink of tears without making me put the book down in despair. Starnes has a knack for putting Elizabeth and Darcy in impossible situations, delving deep into their souls, and keeping readers on the edge of their seats as they wonder how a happily ever after will be achieved. I loved the pacing of the novel, and Starnes does a wonderful job evolving their relationship through many ups and downs as they navigate the challenges posed by their families and themselves.
I’ve loved all of the novels by Starnes I’ve read so far (The Subsequent Proposal, The Unthinkable Triangle, and Miss Darcy’s Companion — all 5-star reads!), and her stories and her writing get better with each book. Starnes has easily become one of my favorite authors, and I can’t wait to see what torturous situation she puts Darcy and Elizabeth into next! 😉
About Mr. Bennet’s Dutiful Daughter
When Colonel Fitzwilliam’s disclosures are interrupted by the bearer of distressing news from Longbourn, Miss Elizabeth Bennet is compelled to consider an offer she would have otherwise dismissed out of hand. An offer of marriage from the all-too-proud Mr Darcy.
Yet how is she to live with a husband she hardly knows and does not love? Would she be trapped in a marriage of convenience while events conspire to divide them? Or would love grow as, day by day and hour after hour, she learns to understand the man she married, before she loses his trust and his heart?
About Joana Starnes
Joana Starnes lives in the south of England with her family. A medical graduate, in more recent years she has developed an unrelated but enduring fascination with Georgian Britain in general and the works of Jane Austen in particular, as well as with the remarkable and flamboyant set of people who have given the Regency Period its charm and sparkle.
Joana is generously offering an ebook copy of Mr. Bennet’s Dutiful Daughter to one of my readers. To enter, simply leave a comment and include your email address. This giveaway will close on Sunday, December 4, 2016. The winner will be chosen randomly and announced in the comments section of this post. Good luck!
Follow the blog tour
November 17/ My Jane Austen Book Club/Launch Post & Giveaway
November 18/ Pemberley to Milton/Book Review & Giveaway
November 19/ Obsessed with Mr. Darcy/ Book Review & Giveaway
November 20/ A Covent Garden Madame Gilflurt’s Guide to Life/Guest Post & Giveaway
November 21/ Margie’s Must Reads/ Book Review & Giveaway
November 22/ Babblings of a Bookworm/ Book Review & Giveaway
November 23/ Diary of an Eccentric/Book Review & Giveaway
November 24/ Happy Thanksgiving
November 25/ So Little Time… So Much to Read/ Excerpt & Giveaway
November 26/ Just Jane 1813/Interview with Joana Starnes & Giveaway
November 2 / My Kids Led Me Back to Pride and Prejudice/ Guest Post & Giveaway
November 28/ More Agreeably Engaged/ Vignette & Giveaway
December 1/ My Vices and Weaknesses/ Book Review & Giveaway
December 2/ Austenesque Reviews/ Excerpt & Giveaway
Disclosure: I received Mr. Bennet’s Dutiful Daughter from the author for review.