Mr. Darcy’s Letter // by Abigail Reynolds
Read Via: Kindle
Overall Rating: 3.5/5.0
Characters True-to-Original Rating: 4.0/5.0
Clean Rating: Mature, mostly due to one very descriptive scene
Synopsis (via Goodreads):
A lady’s reputation is a fragile thing. If anyone discovered Miss Elizabeth Bennet had received a letter from a single gentleman, she could be ruined… or forced to marry a man she detests. In this “Pride & Prejudice” variation, Elizabeth chooses the safe course and refuses to read Mr. Darcy’s letter of explanation. Returning home unaware of Wickham’s true nature, Elizabeth confesses everything to him, putting both Mr. Darcy and herself in grave danger from Wickham’s schemes.
In this version, Elizabeth is even more set against Darcy than in the original. When he gives her his letter, she is determined not to read it, believing that he is just trying to use this as an opportunity to force her into a marriage with him. Because Elizabeth doesn’t gain the critical information within the letter, she continues to be prejudiced against Darcy – and to believe that Wickham is telling the truth.
There were a lot of things about this version that I liked, the main one being the way that Lydia’s story played out. I also enjoyed the concept of an Elizabeth still vulnerable to Wickham’s schemes. When Darcy and Elizabeth eventually overcome their confusion, I liked them as a couple. Most of the characters from the original felt true to themselves throughout the story.
However, there were a lot of places where the story felt rough. Sometimes characters were kind of forgotten (at one point, Georgiana is abandoned by everyone at Netherfield… and would she even have been staying there without her brother in the first place??). Bingley was sooo annoying, waffling even more than ever (if I had been Jane, I would have sent him off with a flea in his ear!). Elizabeth is far too prone to listen to what other people are saying instead of listening to Darcy (hello? He is standing right in front of you trying to explain and you’re just blowing him off??).
Still, on the whole the story came together pleasantly enough. I could have done without the passionate anticipation of vows, which seemed unlikely, but most of the rest of the story was pretty G-rated. Good for a one-time read, and maybe even one I’ll pick up again in a few years when I’ve forgotten exactly how it went.
Spoiler Review: (complete with capital letters, exclamation points, and question marks)…
Mainly about Lydia… I loved how her problem was resolved. Having Wickham have a brother who ends up marrying Lydia was delightful in so many ways, not least of which is that Lydia still gets to be a part of her family, and her new husband helps her grow into a better person. I loved how this Wickham at first was just marrying her for the money, but by the time he runs into his brother, he’s already fond/protective enough of Lydia to give George Wickham a good punch in the face. Yes!
The whole bit with the gossip sheet and Darcy rescuing Bingley and Bingley being engaged to someone else and blah blah blah was just sooo boring and convoluted. I was just seriously OVER Bingley in this version. He was even more tentative and waffle-y than he normally is, and the way that he went back and got Jane’s hopes up AGAIN and then abandoned her AGAIN just blew my mind. What a jerk! Even if I was still in love with him, at that point I don’t think I could ever have trusted him enough to marry him.
I really felt like Elizabeth’s connection to Wickham could have been played up a lot more. Instead, Wickham himself plants some seeds of doubt concerning his story, and that seemed unlike him. I really think that Wickham would have been a great deal more manipulative than he was.
There were a lot of things about this version that I liked, but weirdly it was Bingley who annoyed me the most this time around. So random.