Sunday, September 27, 2015

The Return: A Pride and Prejudice StoryThe Return: A Pride and Prejudice Story by Timothy Underwood

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Return: A Pride and Prejudice Story is a very fun read. Although it has its share of angst, the premise of the story eliminates some of the angst appearing in the original Austen story.

In this version, Bingley just does not believe Darcy and his sisters when they tell him Jane doesn't love him. He returns to Longbourn to question Jane directly and find out the truth of the matter. Jane assures him of her love, so the couple are engaged only a few days after the ball at Netherfield.

Now to Darcy and Elizabeth. Both stand up with Jane and Bingley at the wedding. They are then seated at a table together. They proceed to have their "Hunsford" moment during the wedding breakfast entertaining all attending to an obvious argument.

Prior to the wedding, Caroline Bingley told some pretty obvious lies to Elizabeth about Darcy's treatment of Wickham. Darcy is simply hurt and amazed that Elizabeth would believe the concocted story. Thus he leaves Hertfordshire with less regret than in the original story, but Elizabeth is much more chagrined at her behavior and belief in Darcy's guilt.

Now when they meet again in Kent they are both in very different mindsets than in the original. Darcy is once again struck by Elizabeth's charms, but he is not under any illusion about her feelings for him. He knows he has to woo her. Elizabeth is painfully aware of how unfair she was in her estimation of Darcy and is determined to apologize, thus making her more receptive to his advances.

This is a very charming variation. I so enjoyed the banter between the couple, as well as between Darcy and Bingley. It is always interesting to read a male author's take on the story. Austen admitted she was uncomfortable writing about male interactions when women were not present. Timothy Underwood shows us this perspective and does a great job.

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Doubts and DilemmasDoubts and Dilemmas by Evita O'Malley

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this variation. This is Darcy and Elizabeth after the wedding. Darcy faces a serious accusation and is determined to protect Elizabeth by not telling her. This results in a strain on their marriage, but all is resolved.

This is a unique take on the couple and I found it very compelling. Many readers like to see Darcy portrayed as the perfect man, but this story is truer to the time period and to Darcy's fears of losing Elizabeth.

The only real negative with the story is the ending. It feels a bit rushed, and the tragedy mixed with joy at the end feels uncomfortable and unresolved. Yes it is probably more realistic, but there is no mention of the Darcys reaching out to the family. That feels odd given the large portion of the book given to their kindness to the child Maria.

The author makes note at the end that she hesitated in publishing the story, but I think she made the right choice. This is a nice addition to the world of JAFF.

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Monday, September 14, 2015

Yours Forevermore, Darcy, by KaraLynne Mackrory

Yours Forevermore, Darcy

Yours Forevermore, Darcy 

by KaraLynne Mackrory

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

One of the best

After reading a couple of hundred P&P sequels, prequels and variations, just this week I had the thought that maybe I had read enough and the authors had exhausted all the possibilities. Luckily for me KaraLynne Mackrory has proven me wrong. Yours Forevermore, Darcy grabbed me from the start and gave me a wonderful day and a half of romance with my favorite couple.

I swiftly read through the familiar tale seeing it again from a fresh perspective. Of course you can tell from the very beginning that at some point a letter will arrive accidentally, but it happens in such a beautiful and happy way as to make it feel feasible.

I love a humble and romantic Darcy with just a slight bit of awkwardness, and Mackrory certainly carried it off well. Elizabeth was her usual spunky, impertinent self.

A very enjoyable read that I recommend to all JAFF lovers. Keep a hanky handy.

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