Can't Stop Reading P&P Variations…

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Archive for the month “February, 2016”

The Falmouth Connection // by Joana Starnes

23451845Type:  Variation

Setting:  Regency

Read Via: Kindle

Overall Rating:  4.5/5.0

Characters True-to-Original Rating:  4.5/5.0

Copyright:  2014

Pages:  303 (per Kindle)

Clean Rating:  PG.  Some hardcore kissing and a bit of daydreaming, but nothing unseemly.

Synopsis (via Amazon):  

Just as Mr. Darcy finally decides to propose to the enticing Miss Elizabeth Bennet, she is summoned to Falmouth, to met a relation she never knew she had.

Thus, the ill-starred Hunsford proposal is avoided – but before he could even begin to understand his luck, adverse circumstances hasten to conspire against him, and Fitzwilliam Darcy is compelled to follow the woman he loves to the far reaches of Cornwall, into a world of deceit and peril where few – if any – are what they seem to be…

Review:

Despite the rather hokey synopsis, this book was thoroughly enjoyable.  I really felt like the author captured the personalities of Elizabeth, Darcy, Bingley, and the Bennets fairly well.  I also really enjoyed watching Darcy realize many of his failings throughout the story – failings that traditionally were pointed out by Elizabeth during the Hunsford proposal.

Darcy and Elizabeth have some really good conversations, and their love story seems natural and good.  There is still plenty of excitement, with some crazy smugglers thrown into the mix, so some of the drama was a bit unrealistic, but still, all in good fun, right?

The ending felt a little rushed – like we had spent a lot of time getting things squared away and suddenly in the middle of a chapter we go from just the story to the epilogue, and it really seemed like there could have still been a little more story.

All in all, while not a perfect tale, this was still a really enjoyable read, and I am already starting another one of Starnes’s variations.  😀

Spoiler Review:  (complete with capital letters, exclamation points, and question marks)

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A Summer in Brighton // by Jann Rowland and Lelia Eye

513lPfCHxPL._SX330_BO1,204,203,200_Type:  Variation

Setting:  Regency

Read via:  Kindle

Overall Rating:  3.1/5.0

Characters True-to-Original Rating:  3/5 for the characters that did overlap… this was one of those variations where a lot of the characters from the original never showed up in this story.

Copyright:  2014

Pages:  268 (per Kindle)

Clean Rating:  PG.  There was one scene of random violence that kept this book from being a complete G-rating, but there are zero sexy-time scenes, and it’s an overall very clean story.

Synopsis:  (via Amazon):

When Elizabeth travels to Brighton with Harriet Forster in lieu of visiting Derbyshire, she does not expect to befriend a mysterious widow.  Nor does she expect her cordial treatment by Mr. Wickham to be replaced by expressions of malice.  And the greatest enigma of all is the sudden appearance of Mr. Darcy in Brighton.  How could Elizabeth’s simple vacation have become so complicated so quickly?

Review:

This book begins directly after Elizabeth’s arrival home from Kent.  Darcy proposed there, per canon; Elizabeth refused, and later received Darcy’s letter.  This book diverts from the original at the point where, in the original, Elizabeth leaves with the Gardiners for Derbyshire.  In this book, Elizabeth instead goes to Brighton: it is Elizabeth, not Lydia, who is close friends with Harriet Forster, and thus Elizabeth, not Lydia, receives the invitation to travel with the militia and spend the summer on the coast.

Overall, this was a decent read, but there just wasn’t enough plot to really drive the book.  Darcy doesn’t even show up on the scene until almost halfway through.  Up until that point, it’s just Elizabeth and Harriet, wandering around Brighton while Elizabeth tries to convince Wickham that she really isn’t into him any more.

Elizabeth and Harriet also befriend this random woman, Blanche, who is a widow (possibly in her 30’s??) and one of the main centers of Brighton’s social scene.  Blanche is initially introduced as more-or-less a Catherine de Bourgh character, except where Lady Catherine is obnoxious, Blanche is supposedly kinder and genuinely interested in the greater good for those she befriends.

Blanche was a slightly confusing character to me, because we never really got a very good idea of her age.  Initially comparing her to Lady Catherine made her seem a lot older, but then later Elizabeth is jealous of Blanche’s interactions with Darcy, so apparently Blanche is actually quite a lot younger.  It also didn’t really seem fair that Blanche could constantly demand that Elizabeth confide in her, but never returned the favor – any time Elizabeth asked Blanche questions, Blanche would sidestep, and we would get something along the lines of “Elizabeth didn’t pursue her questions, knowing that what Blanche decided to keep secret would stay secret.”  It just seemed weird to have Elizabeth perfectly willing to confide in this random woman, even knowing that this supposed friend would not return any confidences.

Throughout the book, although it is written in third person, we only ever get Elizabeth’s perspective.  We never see what is going on with any other characters.  Sometimes this can make a story feel more personable, but in the case it just made the story feel very narrow, especially since there were times where Elizabeth felt decidedly obtuse.

There will be more details in the spoiler section below, but there was a definite build-up to a dramatic event.  Then it felt as though the authors wanted the book to be longer, so they just tagged on some extra scenes at the end that didn’t really add anything to the story.  It made the whole thing feel even more choppy.

On the whole, while this was an alright one-time read, I can’t really recommend it.  While there were some enjoyable conversations and characters (I especially liked the interactions between Harriet and her husband), the story just didn’t have a good flow.  The authors arbitrarily killed off a character in a manner that felt unnecessary, Wickham went off the rails, and then there was this boring chapter at the end that I kept wondering why it was even in the book.

More details in the spoiler section, if you dare!

Spoiler Review:  (with lots of capital letters, exclamation points, and question marks)

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