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

She was adrift, without direction or inspiration. And for what? For the loss of something which had ever been hers? For envy of her beloved Jane, or disappointment over Lydia? A flash of anger rose in her eyes — the only life to spark back from her mirror. No! She swiped her hand over the flame, quenching it with a quick, stinging pinch of her fingers. There must be more.

(from These Dreams)

Nicole Clarkston’s These Dreams, a variation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, is a novel I was forced to savor because of my busy schedule, but really I wanted to devour it in one sitting. This was one of the most creative — and angsty — variations I’ve ever read. I loved all the twists and turns, and even though it was hard to see my favorite characters brought so low, Clarkston does a fantastic job getting into their heads.

These Dreams opens as Mr. Darcy is orchestrating the marriage of Lydia Bennet and Mr. Wickham, except he doesn’t show up for the wedding, which pains Elizabeth at a time when she thought they would have a second chance. Darcy is brutally captured as part of a complex scheme dating back generations, and his family and friends believe him to be dead. Both Darcy and Elizabeth are in dark, hopeless situations, grieving what might have been.

Meanwhile, Colonel Fitzwilliam finds himself in charge of Darcy’s estate and sole guardian of Darcy’s sister, Georgiana, who is heartbroken at the loss of her brother and pulled every which way by family members who believe they have her best interests — and that of the Darcy name and estate — at heart. Fitzwilliam enlists the help of Elizabeth to bring some light back into Georgiana’s life and help her take the reins as mistress of Pemberley, which makes it possible for him to investigate his cousin’s death and unravel the many threads to the conspiracy that ultimately rips the bandage off his wounded heart.

Clarkston did a great job crafting a multilayered story with chaos and possible scandal at every turn. It was impossible to know who to trust, and she handles the healing of these damaged souls in a tender and realistic manner. I loved how Clarkston forged a special bond between Elizabeth and her newly married sister Lydia, allowing them to find some common ground amid their trauma and giving more depth to a character who is usually written off as foolish and unrepentant. There also were plenty of intriguing original characters, especially Amália, who reminded me so much of Elizabeth in her outspokenness and strength.

I absolutely loved These Dreams, even though the pain she caused Darcy and Elizabeth was like a punch to the gut at times. I had no idea how it was going to play out, so I just went along for the ride, and it was so worth it. Trust me, Clarkston doesn’t make you suffer too, too long, and all that pain makes the outcome so much sweeter. Definitely a contender for my Best of 2017 list!

****

About These Dreams

An abandoned bride
A missing man
And a dream that refuses to die…

Pride and patriotism lend fervor to greed and cruelty, and Fitzwilliam Darcy is caught at the centre of a decades-old international feud. Taken far from England, presumed dead by his family, and lost to all he holds dear, only one name remains as his beacon in the darkness: Elizabeth.

Georgiana Darcy is now the reluctant, heartbroken heiress to Pemberley, and Colonel Fitwilliam her bewildered guardian. Vulnerable and unprepared, Georgiana desperately longs for a friend, while Fitzwilliam seeks to protect her from his own family. As the conspiracy around Darcy’s death widens and questions mount, Colonel Fitzwilliam must confront his own past. An impossible dream, long ago sacrificed for duty, may become his only hope.

Newly married Lydia Wickham returns to Longbourn — alone and under mysterious circumstances. Elizabeth Bennet watches one sister suffer and another find joy, while she lives her own days in empty regrets over what might have been. Believing Darcy lost forever, she closes her heart against both pain
and happiness, but finds no escape from her dreams of him.

Goodreads | Amazon U.S. | Amazon U.K.

****

About the Author

Nicole Clarkston

Nicole Clarkston is a book lover and a happily married mom of three. Originally from Idaho, she now lives in Oregon with her own romantic hero, several horses, and one very fat dog. She has loved crafting alternate stories and sequels since she was a child watching Disney’s Robin Hood, and she is never found sitting quietly without a book of some sort.

Nicole discovered Jane Austen rather by guilt in her early thirties―how does any book worm really live that long without a little P&P? She has never looked back. A year or so later, during a major house renovation project, she discovered Elizabeth Gaskell and fell completely in love. Her need for more time with these characters led her to simultaneously write Rumours & Recklessness, a P&P inspired novel, and No Such Thing as Luck, a N&S inspired novel. Both immediately became best selling books. The success she had with her first attempt at writing led her to write three other novels that are her pitiful homage to two authors who have so deeply inspired her.

Nicole was recently invited to join Austenvariations.com, a group of talented authors in the Jane Austen Fiction genre. In addition to her work with the Austen Variations blog, Nicole can be reached through Facebook at http://fb.me/NicoleClarkstonAuthor, Twitter @N_Clarkston, her blog at Goodreads.com, or her personal blog and website, NicoleClarkson.com.

Connect with Nicole: Website | Goodreads Author Page | Goodreads Blog | Facebook | Amazon Author Page | Twitter

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Giveaway

Please click here to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway, where 10 ebook copies are up for grabs. This giveaway is open internationally.

Terms and Conditions:

Readers may enter the drawing by tweeting once a day and daily commenting on a blog post or review that has a giveaway attached for the tour. Entrants must provide the name of the blog where they commented. Remember: Tweet and comment once daily to earn extra entries.

A winner may win ONLY 1 (ONE) eBook of These Dreams by Nicole Clarkston. Each winner will be randomly selected by Rafflecopter and the giveaway is international.

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09/19   So little time…; Guest Post, Excerpt, Giveaway

09/20   My Jane Austen Book Club; Vignette, Giveaway

09/21   From Pemberley to Milton; Review, Giveaway

09/22   Interests of a Jane Austen Girl; Review, Excerpt, Giveaway

09/23   Just Jane 1813; Review, Giveaway

09/24   My Vices and Weaknesses; Excerpt, Giveaway

09/25   Babblings of a Bookworm;  Guest Post or Vignette, Giveaway

09/26   Diary of an Eccentric; Review, Giveaway

09/27   Half Agony, Half Hope; Review, Excerpt

09/28   Darcyholic Diversions; Author Interview, Giveaway

09/29   My Love for Jane Austen; Charcter Interview, Giveaway

09/30   Margie’s Must Reads; Guest Post, Excerpt, Giveaway

10/01   Savvy Verse and Wit; Review, Giveaway

10/02   Austenesque Reviews; Character Interview, Giveaway

10/03   Obsessed with Mr. Darcy; Review, Giveaway

10/04   From Pemberley to Milton; Guest Post, Giveaway

Disclosure: I received a copy of These Dreams from the author for review.

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