An Unpleasant Walk // by C. Rafe
Read Via: Kindle
Overall Rating: 3.5/5.0
Characters True-to-Original Rating: 4.0/5.0
Clean Rating: PG – the whole point is Elizabeth is assaulted (although not raped) right at the beginning of the story – other than that, there is nothing objectionable sex-wise.
Synopsis (via Goodreads):
Elizabeth Bennet thinks she is a great judge of character. However, when Colonel Fitzwilliam decides to take her as his mistress, despite her feelings on the matter, Elizabeth is forced to reconsider. Though not fully violated, she knows that his attack would be the ruination of her entire family. Mr. Darcy, who she had judged to be arrogant, disdainful, and ill-tempered, offers his support and assistance in a gentle and caring manner.
Elizabeth must come to terms with her feelings of guilt and shame, conquer her fears, and learn to trust again.
Okay, first off, confession time. Since May 17 I have read eight P&P variations (and am working through #9). A combination of factors have led me to this place, but the truth is that I regret nothing. Sometimes you just have to go on a binge of virtually mindless reading.
This variation was decent but not amazing. Here, Colonel Fitzwilliam is the villain. While walking with Elizabeth near Rosings, he asks her to be his mistress. When she refuses, he assaults her and tells her that he will be coming to finish what he started that evening. Terrified and in shock, Elizabeth stumbles back towards the parsonage, only to meet Darcy on the way. He pieces together the story and realizes that his cousin is to blame for her situation.
Of course, this means Darcy doesn’t propose, but through a series of events, he and Elizabeth still have a conversation about Wickham. Meanwhile, he also arranges for Elizabeth to be spirited away back to London to the safety of the Gardiners. With the pieces in place, Darcy and Elizabeth’s relationship continues to grow.
While this wasn’t a bad read, it was just simply boring in places. I have a real soft spot for the original Colonel Fitzwilliam, so I’m always biased against variations that make him into a bad guy. It also felt weird that this meant that both of Darcy’s best friends from childhood turned out to be basically the same terrible person, which seemed unlikely. In some ways, this story may have made more sense if Wickham had been the villain instead of the Colonel. Also, while I understand that what Elizabeth went through was very traumatic, it also felt like her reaction to it was a bit over-the-top in that her entire character changed. Instead of being grateful that nothing worse happened and that everything had worked out well, she just moped about for way longer than she needed to.
I really did like the way that Mr. Bennet stepped up and took responsibility – I always like that twist, where the overall family ends up better and stronger in the end.
No real spoilers or rants for this one – although I have to say that “unpleasant” seems like a vast understatement.