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Posts Tagged ‘pride and prejudice’

understanding-elizabeth

Source: Review copy from author
Rating: ★★★★☆

What I once spurned, I would now give all my wealth and status to have. … Through my own stupidity, I have thrown away my best chance of happiness.

(from Understanding Elizabeth)

Robin M. Helm’s latest novel, Understanding Elizabeth, is a variation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice told entirely from the point of view of Mr. Darcy. The novel opens at Netherfield, with Elizabeth Bennet in residence as she cares for her sister, Jane, whose illness is more serious than originally believed. When Darcy stumbles upon Elizabeth’s journal entries tucked into a book, he succumbs to the temptation to read her thoughts and get to know her better.

Unfortunately, he learns that Elizabeth, her family, and all of Mertyon are aware of the insulting words he said about her to Mr. Bingley at the Meryton Assembly, and he wishes he could take them back, especially as he has come to appreciate Elizabeth’s beauty and intelligence. As he fights an interior battle between wanting love and doing his duty to his family and estate, he is given the opportunity to secure his heart’s desire, but there is a serious price to pay, and Darcy must learn what it truly means to love someone in order to make the right choice.

Understanding Elizabeth follows a similar timeline as the original novel, but there are plenty of differences to hold readers’ interest. I especially enjoyed seeing Darcy balance his desire for Jane to recover with his frustration at a potential rival for Elizabeth’s affections in Dr. Stedman, and bringing Mr. Bennet to Netherfield for the duration of Jane’s illness gives him a chance to tease Darcy and observe his true character and his changing opinion toward the Bennets.

Helm does a great job bringing the secondary characters to life, creating a more steady and observant Bingley and a more confident, take-charge Georgiana, and there were several intriguing original characters, my favorite being Watkins, Darcy’s perceptive valet. There was plenty of drama involving Darcy’s otherworldly offer and, of course, Wickham, and plenty of tender moments with Elizabeth. But where the novel shines is in its first person narrative, as readers get to experience Darcy’s realizations of his perceived character, his efforts to change those perceptions, his weakness amidst a feeling of hopelessness, and his determination.

I felt like I really got to know and understand Darcy, but Helm also does a good job of letting readers get to know Elizabeth through Darcy’s close observation of her. There were so many scenes that brought a smile to my face, from the chess games with high stakes to Darcy’s soul-bearing conversations with Georgiana and Richard. Understanding Elizabeth is a thought-provoking take on Pride and Prejudice and the lengths people are willing to go to find love and happiness.

****

Giveaway

Robin is generously offering 2 copies of Understanding Elizabeth to my readers: a Kindle copy (international/domestic) and a print copy (U.S. only). To enter, please leave a comment on this post with your email address and your desired format should you win. This giveaway will close on Sunday, February 26, 2017. The winners will be chosen randomly and announced in the comments section of this post. Good luck!

Disclosure: I received Understanding Elizabeth from the author for review.

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answered-prayers

Source: Personal library
Rating: ★★★★☆

“My brother-in-law is celebrated for his wit and intelligence, and Elizabeth is her father’s daughter. She gives as good as she gets.”

“Yes, I found that out the hard way — through personal experience.”

“Both of you are being overly generous in your praise,” an embarrassed Lizzy answered. “In your statements, there is the impression that being a wit is akin to being wise. However, you can be both witty and wrong.”

(from “Darcy and Elizabeth: Answered Prayers”)

“Darcy and Elizabeth: Answered Prayers” is one of three short stories by Mary Lydon Simonsen inspired by Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice that re-imagine Darcy and Elizabeth’s meeting at Pemberley following her rejection of his proposal at Hunsford. (Check out my reviews of “Darcy and Elizabeth: Lost in Love” and “Darcy and Elizabeth: Behind Pemberley’s Walls”)

In this story, Darcy arrives at Pemberley after riding through a storm that has sickened his manservant. He learns there are visitors touring Pemberley and hopes they will not be stranded there when the skies open up again. However, when Darcy realizes the visitors are Elizabeth Bennet and the Gardiners, he delays their departure by having his staff give them refreshments. Meanwhile, Elizabeth keeps insisting to her aunt that they should leave, having realized her judgment of Darcy was mistaken since rejecting his proposal.

This was my favorite of the three stories about second chances, mainly because there was more detail about how both Darcy and Elizabeth have changed since Hunsford and more interaction between them. In particular, I enjoyed the scene where Darcy and Elizabeth meet in his study that night to discuss his letter despite the impropriety of them being alone together. Like the other stories, “Darcy and Elizabeth: Answered Prayers” ended on a hopeful note, and my only complaint is that it felt too short. Even so, it was a satisfying read that can be enjoyed in one sitting.

Disclosure: “Darcy and Elizabeth: Answered Prayers” is from my personal library.

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behind-pemberleys-walls

Source: Personal library
Rating: ★★★★☆

From this spot, the Master of Pemberley had a panoramic view of the manor and gardens — a view with the power to heal. And he was in need of a cure from the wounds he had suffered at the hands of Elizabeth Bennet. Not only had Elizabeth refused his proposal of marriage, she had made it clear that she wanted nothing further to do with him. He had hardly anticipated rejection, no less banishment. But the thought of never seeing her again…it was simply too much to bear.

(from “Darcy and Elizabeth: Behind Pemberley’s Walls”)

“Darcy and Elizabeth: Behind Pemberley’s Walls” is one of three short stories by Mary Lydon Simonsen inspired by Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice that re-imagine Darcy and Elizabeth’s meeting at Pemberley following her rejection of his proposal at Hunsford. I reviewed “Darcy and Elizabeth: Lost in Love” a few years ago, and my review of “Darcy and Elizabeth: Answered Prayers” will be posted tomorrow.

In this story, Darcy is still heartbroken from Elizabeth’s unexpected refusal when he returns to Pemberley on the same day Elizabeth is touring his estate with her aunt and uncle. With the help of his butler, Darcy eavesdrops on Elizabeth as she views the portrait gallery and confides in her aunt Gardiner about what happened between them.

“Darcy and Elizabeth: Behind Pemberley’s Walls” is a sweet story about second chances. I enjoyed the humor as Darcy confides in Jackson and spies on Elizabeth, and Elizabeth and Darcy’s eventual meeting as she is trying to get the Gardiners to quickly leave Pemberley was a cute touch. Simonsen’s stories are great for when you’re in the mood for something short and sweet while drinking a cup of coffee or tea. My only complaint is that it ended too soon, though one could easily imagine the couple achieving their happy ending.

Disclosure: “Darcy and Elizabeth: Behind Pemberley’s Walls” is from my personal library.

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donwell-abbey-cover

Source: Review copy from author
Rating: ★★★★★

There seemed to be only one option. It would break her heart, but it would protect the man she loved. And wasn’t that the very definition of love? Doing what’s best for the other person, in spite of your own desires?

(from Darcy’s Hope at Donwell Abbey)

Darcy’s Hope at Donwell Abbey is the sequel to Darcy’s Hope: Beauty from Ashes, a novel inspired by Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and set during the Great War. While Darcy’s Hope at Donwell Abbey can be read as a standalone book, I think it’s important to read them in order for a richer experience.

Picking up where the first novel ended, Captain Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet have expressed their love for one another and are hopeful about being reunited in a matter of months. However, while waiting for Darcy at his home, Pemberley, Elizabeth receives some terrifying information that prompts her to flee without a trace. Meanwhile, Darcy and his cousin, Colonel Fitzwilliam, are working to solve a mystery involving a conspiracy when he learns that Elizabeth has disappeared, dealing him a crushing blow that is only the beginning of his pain.

Ginger Monette does a fantastic job painting a picture of wartime, from the trenches to battle to the hospitals, and crafting characters traumatized by their experiences but still open to finding love and happiness. There is plenty of action to keep readers’ attention from the very first page, but Monette also provides plenty of food for thought about the physical, mental, and emotional impact of war. My heart ached for Darcy and Elizabeth, but it rejoiced with them as well. I loved how Monette worked in characters from Emma, with Darcy’s connection to the Knightley family, Hartfield, and Donwell Abbey, as well as Sense and Sensibility, and I especially appreciated how she stayed true to Austen’s beloved couple even while putting them in a different time and more difficult circumstances.

****

About Darcy’s Hope at Donwell Abbey

1917. Amidst the chaos of WW1, Captain Fitzwilliam Darcy has won the heart of Elizabeth Bennet. Finally.

Then she disappears.

Still reeling from the loss, Darcy is struck by a battlefield tragedy that leaves him in a dark and silent world.

Sent to Donwell Abbey to recover, he's coaxed back to life by an extraordinary nurse. A woman whose uncanny similarities to Elizabeth invite his admiration and entice his affections.

His heart tells him to hold on to Elizabeth. His head tells him to take a chance with his nurse.

But Donwell Abbey holds a secret that just might change everything.

Check out Darcy’s Hope at Donwell Abbey on Goodreads | Amazon | other retailers

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About the Author

Ginger Monette

Ginger Monette

The teacher always learns the most. And in homeschooling her children, Ginger Monette learned all the history she missed in school. Now she’s hooked—on writing and World War I.

When not writing, Ginger enjoys dancing on the treadmill, watching period dramas, public speaking, and reading—a full-length novel every Sunday afternoon.

Her WW1 flash fiction piece, Flanders Field of Grey, won Charlotte Mecklenburg Library’s 2015 Picture This grand prize.

Ginger lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, where she happily resides with her husband, three teenagers, and two loyal dogs.

Connect with Ginger Monette via website | Facebook | Amazon author page

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Disclosure: I received Darcy’s Hope at Donwell Abbey from the author for review.

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a-valentine-for-darcy

Source: Personal library
Rating: ★★★★☆

Bingley blinked in astonishment. “I can hardly believe it. This is not like you, Darcy.”

“No, I have been a boring stick in the mud for years. But I have been reborn. I am a lover now.” He laughed at his own foolishness.

(from A Valentine for Darcy)

Jane Grix’s A Valentine for Darcy is a novella variation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice that I couldn’t resist reading for Valentine’s Day. In London after the Netherfield Ball, Mr. Darcy receives a valentine that he is sure is from Elizabeth Bennet. In all of his excitement to return to Hertfordshire to ask for Elizabeth’s hand, he doesn’t realize the valentine is from Caroline Bingley, who isn’t about to give up her quest to become Mrs. Darcy so easily.

Meanwhile, Elizabeth is shocked when Mr. Darcy arrives with a besotted Mr. Bingley, and even more so when he asks to speak to her father. But she has seen a change in his manner, so she is willing to hear him out. However, when her sister Lydia goes missing just before Jane and Bingley’s wedding, Elizabeth and Darcy are forced apart just as her feelings toward him are softening.

A Valentine for Darcy is a sweet tale featuring a more romantic Darcy who is willing to go after his heart’s desire. There’s still a bit of arrogance and pride in him, but he doesn’t have as many sharp edges. I enjoyed the romance and the humor, and Grix even manages to insert some drama and tension with Caroline, Lady Catherine, and Wickham. Despite the quick resolution, I felt completely satisfied at the end, though I would’ve loved a full-length novel that developed the Caroline and Wickham aspects of the story a bit more. I’m definitely looking forward to reading more from Grix!

Disclosure: A Valentine for Darcy is from my personal library.

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mr-darcy-loves-elizabeth-bennet

Source: Review copy from authors
Rating: ★★★☆☆

She had never considered that perhaps Mr. Darcy and Mr. Bingley were more of a blind-leading-the-blind tragedy. If she and her sister were not the lasses tangled up in this mess of beaus, why Elizabeth would have enjoyed sharing this mess of matchmaking with her father on any afternoon in his study!

(from “Much to Conceal,” by Elizabeth Ann West)

Mr. Darcy Loves Elizabeth Bennet was a limited edition box set featuring short stories inspired by Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Each of these stories is now being published separately (more information below). Two of the stories are set during the Regency era, and two are modern-day variations.

“Darcy and Lizzie’s Wedding Breakfast” is an installment in Barbara Silkstone’s Mister Darcy Series of Comedic Mysteries, in which Lizzie recounts how she and Darcy met and the trials of his secret life. Lizzie is a bit disappointed when Darcy’s Templar business forces them to cancel their wedding breakfast, but of course, Darcy finds a humorous way to make it up to her. I’ve only read the latest book in the series, Mister Darcy’s Maltese Falcon, so I was able to follow the story. However, if you haven’t read any of the books in the series, you might want to save this story for later.  (Barbara is currently posting the story in installments on the Mister Darcy Series Facebook page.)

“An Accidental Assignation” by April Floyd (now available on Amazon) is set during the Regency era and involves Darcy accidentally compromising Elizabeth outside the Meryton Assembly when he attempts to apologize for his insult. Mr. Bennet witnesses the scene and demands that Darcy marry his daughter. There is an immediate, intense passion between Darcy and Elizabeth, and despite it being a fairly short story, Floyd manages to insert plenty of drama and humor involving Mr. Collins and Lady Catherine.

“Much to Conceal” by Elizabeth Ann West (now available on Amazon as part of another box set) also is set during the Regency era and has Jane Bennet conspiring with her aunt Gardiner to get Elizabeth and Darcy together after his failed proposal. Elizabeth shows Jane the letter from Darcy, and Jane takes action, which culminates in a hilarious dinner at Darcy House.

“Honeymoon Postponed: A Mr. & Mrs. Darcy Adventure” by Kristi Rose (now available on Amazon) is a short story in the Meryton Matchmakers series that finds a modern-day Darcy and Elizabeth outrunning tornadoes and other calamities on what is supposed to be their honeymoon. Because I haven’t read any of the installments in this series and know nothing of the back story, I felt a little lost at first, but I was able to enjoy the story in the end. There is a lot of “what can go wrong will go wrong” here, and it definitely was amusing.

Mr. Darcy Loves Elizabeth Bennet offered a great way for me to get a feel for each author’s writing style and enjoy lighthearted, romantic stories featuring Darcy and Elizabeth. The stories are a bit rushed and underdeveloped, but that’s to be expected with short works. Some of the events are a bit over the top, but I was willing to overlook that because the theme of the collection is love and love often makes people do outrageous things. Plus, these were simply feel-good stories meant to be enjoyed in little bits of free time and not to be taken too seriously. I finished the collection thinking I’d like to read more by each of these authors, so I’d call that a win!

Disclosure: I received Mr. Darcy Loves Elizabeth Bennet from the authors for review.

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best-part-of-love-front-cover

Source: Review copy from Meryton Press
Rating: ★★★★★

“I would be far happier with half of your heart than the whole of anyone else’s,” he added softly.

(from The Best Part of Love)

The Best Part of Love by A. D’Orazio is a variation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice that is so very delightfully different from the original novel but maintains the traits of the characters we know and love. In this variation, Elizabeth Bennet is Lady Courtenay, widow of Henry Warren, Earl of Courtenay. The conspiracy surrounding her husband’s death force her to be separated from her young son, and after two years of hiding and mourning, Lord and Lady Matlock impress upon her the importance of finding a second husband, one who can protect her son and his inheritance. She returns to her family’s home in Hertfordshire, where she seeks refuge for a few months before the London season, coming to terms with the reality of her new life and finding comfort in simply being Elizabeth Bennet once again.

Then Mr. Darcy accompanies the Bingley party to Netherfield, and unaware of Elizabeth’s true identity, he immediately falls in love with her. However, his seemingly endless ability to insult her at every turn and his duty to marry someone of a higher social standing pose major obstacles to his happiness, and things aren’t made any easier when he learns she is Lady Courtenay, someone worthy of his notice. Darcy embarks on a mission to improve her opinion of him and become a better man, one worthy of her notice. Meanwhile, Elizabeth must learn how to move on with her life and understand the nuances of love. But soon the truth about Elizabeth’s marriage is revealed, and their newfound happiness is shattered.

Oh, how I loved this book! It is an emotional journey, and D’Orazio makes sure readers accompany Darcy and Elizabeth through all of the ups and downs. I teared up several times while reading this book, both tears of happiness and tears of sorrow. I felt like I was there as Darcy evolved into the best of men, accepting Elizabeth’s feelings for Henry and not expecting her to forget him — and when the truth left him tortured and alone. Elizabeth’s transformation from grief to sheer joy to despair was equally well done. D’Orazio also cleverly twists the characters to account for Elizabeth’s changed circumstances, with Mrs. Bennet looking down on Mr. Bingley due to his connections to trade and wanting Jane to make a better match, Jane storming off to Netherfield in the rain to follow her heart, and Darcy being accused of setting his sights on Lady Courtenay’s fortune.

The Best Part of Love hooked me from the very first page, and there was so much scandal, danger, romance, passion, and agony that it was hard to put down. D’Orazio takes her time developing Darcy and Elizabeth’s relationship, especially given his bad first impression and Elizabeth’s need to process her loss, but the novel is perfectly paced. Some readers may have a hard time with Elizabeth having been married to another man and having his child, but I urge them to put those feelings aside and dive into the book head first. The Best of Love is among the best of variations, and I expect it will have a place on my Best of 2017 list!

****

About The Best Part of Love

Avoiding the truth does not change the truth

When Fitzwilliam Darcy meets Miss Elizabeth Bennet he has no idea that she — that indeed, the entire town of Meryton — harbors a secret. Miss Elizabeth, a simply country girl from a humble estate, manages to capture first his fascination and then his heart without him ever knowing the truth of her past.

When she meets Darcy, Elizabeth had spent the two years prior hiding from the men who killed her beloved first husband. Feeling herself destroyed by love, Elizabeth has no intention of loving again, certainly not with the haughty man who could do nothing but offend her in Hertfordshire.

In London, Elizabeth surprises herself by finding in Darcy a friend; even greater is her surprise to find herself gradually coming to love him and even accepting an offer of marriage from him. Newly married, they are just beginning to settle into their happily ever after when a condemned man on his way to the gallows divulges a shattering truth, a secret that contradicts everything Elizabeth thought she knew about the tragic circumstances of her first marriage. Against the advice of everyone who loves her, including Darcy, Elizabeth begins to ask questions. But will what they learn destroy them both?

Check out The Best Part of Love on Goodreads | Amazon

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About the Author

Amy D'Orazio

Amy D’Orazio

Amy D’Orazio is a former breast cancer researcher and current stay at home mom who is addicted to Austen and Starbucks in about equal measures. While she adores Mr. Darcy, she is married to Mr. Bingley and their Pemberley is in Pittsburgh PA.

She has two daughters who are devoted to sports which require long practices and began writing her own stories as a way to pass the time she spent sitting in the lobbies of various gyms and studios. She is a firm believer that all stories should have long looks, stolen kisses and happily ever afters. Like her favorite heroine, she dearly loves a laugh and considers herself an excellent walker.

Connect with Amy D’Orazio via Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest

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Giveaway

Click here to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway to win a copy of The Best of Love!

Readers may enter the drawing by tweeting once a day and daily commenting on a blog post that has a giveaway attached for the tour. Entrants should provide the name of the blog where they commented (which will be verified).

Tweet and comment once daily to earn extra entries.

Each winner will be randomly selected by Rafflecopter. Paperback or ebook format will be randomly selected for each winner as well.

**NOTE: Paperback copies are available for continental U.S. winners! Ebook copies are available for all winners, including international winners! If more international winners are randomly chosen than the 4 allotted ebooks, then that will decrease the number of paperbacks. 8 books will be given away to 8 different winners.**

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Disclosure: I received The Best Part of Love from Meryton Press for review.

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