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Source: Author ARC giveaway

Pledged is the first book in Rose Fairbanks’ Loving Elizabeth trilogy of novellas, and it is a delightful reimagining of Pride and Prejudice that greatly deviates from canon. Here, the Longbourn entail has been broken, as the Bennet sisters have an older brother, Samuel. He is in London with his father and sisters Jane and Elizabeth prior to his departure for a summer in Ireland with his school friends, Fitzwilliam Darcy and Charles Bingley. Elizabeth is just 16, but despite her youth, the 22-year-old future master of Pemberley is entranced. She can hold intelligent conversations, is not silly like Bingley’s sisters — but she is his friend’s sister, and one does not look toward a friend’s sister in a romantic fashion.

There’s a lot going on here for such a short book, and Fairbanks does a great job setting the stage for the next installments. Not only is there a growing attraction between Will and Elizabeth, there also is increasing tension between Will and his father over George Wickham. Meanwhile, Will is worried that Sam is involved with the wrong sorts of people, namely Lord Harcourt, whose attention to Elizabeth seems less than honorable.

Pledged ends with an important declaration, but most of the storylines will be resolved in the later installments. It’s a solid start to the trilogy, with a unique take on Austen’s beloved hero and heroine, intriguing original characters, and plenty of suspense regarding Wickham’s next move and Sam’s shady dealings. I only hope the next installments come out soon because I’m dying to know what happens next!

Disclosure: I received Pledged from the author’s ARC giveaway. While I have edited several of Rose Fairbanks’ books, I did not edit this one.

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