My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I rounded this up from 3 1/2 stars to 4 stars.
This is a very sweet tale of the Christmas following the Easter after Darcy's proposal at Huntsford. However, a couple of things were changed. Elizabeth did not accept and read Darcy's letter, and the two did not meet at Pemberley during the summer. Darcy and Bingley did not return to Hertfordshire. So, now, at Christmas, it has been a year since Bingley left Netherfield, and Darcy has not seen Elizabeth since Easter.
Lady Catherine has invited the entire Bennet family for Christmas to Rosings Park. In addition, although originally planning to stay in London for Christmas, Darcy has a problem he must resolve with Lady Catherine and changes his mind. He will also be at Rosings for Christmas. Being the person she is, Miss Bingley outright asks Darcy to include the Bingleys in the invitation. The Bennets do not know this party will be joining them, and Darcy and his group do not know the Bennets will be present. What will happen when they all meet? In addition, Lady Catherine has a big set of plans for the holidays. Why did she invite the Bennets?
The author indicates this is the first JAFF story she has written and I did see a couple of issues. I certainly enjoyed the story, but the author missed some great opportunities had she but increased the length of the story. Lady Catherine has invited a very large party of people to Rosings for the holidays. Although several new characters were introduced, I think much more could have been done with this. For example, this would have provided a great opportunity for Darcy and Bingley to experience some real competition for the hearts of their love interests. In addition, the development of relationships could have been spelled out in more detail. We heard about people falling in love, but we never saw it ourselves. I would have liked to have seen Bingley struggle to get Jane's attention. What about what was going on with Anne? Let's see some of it. And, even Darcy and Elizabeth seemed to have gone awfully fast in their resolution. Show us how this happened, don't just tell us. We need some loving and emotional scenes. Again, I would just say the author could have generously increased the length of the story by adding in some love scenes and some falling in love scenes. And, finally, on this issue, what about Kitty and Mary? Couldn't there have been at least something starting for either of them?
Then, there are some errors. Although Lydia has only aged one year, Georgiana, who in canon is slightly younger, has aged three years and is now turning eighteen. I would suggest the author would have been better to leave her unattached in this story and focus on some of the other couples. Anne is not given the title of Lady by Austen. There are several things not explained in the story that make you wonder how various characters got their information. And, the story really needed more proof reading. I amuse myself by sending in corrections to Amazon from my Kindle. I don't know if they go anywhere, but would like to see some of them updated in the text. To be honest, the thought crossed my mind the author might not be a native English speaker.
But, I hate to dwell solely on the issues. This was a sweet story and shows the author has great potential. I can hardly wait to see what she writes next. I do hope she has a beta helping her to explore some more depth in her writing. Despite the issues, I do recommend this lovely little Christmas romance to other Austen JAFF readers.
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