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Source: Blog giveaway

She hissed, “I am an excellent judge of character. I would know.” She realized how silly she sounded, but her pride would not allow her to admit her mistake.

“An excellent judge of character? When you would accuse me — if not for certain events of which we must not speak — of murder? You would not know a murderer if he confessed it to you,” Darcy scoffed, returning ire for ire loudly enough that Mr. Bingley turned around to look at them.

(from The Honorable Mr. Darcy)

The Honorable Mr. Darcy (A Meryton Mystery Book 1) was my first time reading a Pride and Prejudice variation by Jennifer Joy, and I was delighted from start to finish. When Mr. Wickham is found dead in his tent during the Netherfield Ball, the inhabitants of Meryton are quick to point fingers at Mr. Darcy. They have a poor opinion of him since he insulted Elizabeth Bennet at the Meryton Assembly, and he was seen leaving Wickham’s tent in anger. Elizabeth isn’t Darcy’s biggest supporter, but she knows he couldn’t have committed murder. However, explaining how she knows would tether her to the man forever.

Darcy doesn’t help his cause by refusing to say where he was at the time of the murder and why he had argued with Wickham, and Elizabeth’s perception of him begins to change as she realizes he is a man of honor. However, Darcy must contend with the cantankerous Mr. Tanner, Meryton’s innkeeper and constable, and Mr. Stallard, the magistrate, as they make it difficult for Darcy to prove his innocence while hiding secrets of their own. As Darcy and Elizabeth navigate their changing feelings for one another, Elizabeth finds herself determined to solve the crime and help Darcy clear his name, while he worries that danger may befall her as a killer continues to roam free.

Joy does a great job creating a sense of mystery and danger, and she stays true to Austen’s characters while dramatically altering events. I enjoyed how Darcy and Elizabeth worked together to uncover the truth behind Wickham’s death and how Darcy embraced Elizabeth’s inquisitiveness and didn’t expect her to change even while wishing she would be careful in her sleuthing. Joy adds several original characters, including the Bennet daughters’ new companion, Mrs. Yates, and the magistrate’s daughter, Miss Stallard, who liven up the plot. What I loved most was the fast pace and how I was able to piece some things together but was still surprised in the end. And Colonel Fitzwilliam, oh how I loved his dramatic entrance and take-charge attitude!

The Honorable Mr. Darcy is a solid start to an exciting series, and I can’t wait to read more. In fact, as soon as I finished this book, I immediately started book 2, The Indomitable Miss Elizabeth (stay tuned for my review). I have a feeling that this is a series I won’t want to end!

Disclosure: I received The Honorable Mr. Darcy from a blog giveaway.

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