An Unwavering Trust // by L.L. Diamond
Read Via: Kindle
Overall Rating: 3.5/5.0
Characters True-to-Original Rating: 4.0/5.0 (for the characters that survived…)
Clean Rating: Mature
Synopsis (via Goodreads):
Two strangers with no one to turn to but each other…
Fitzwilliam Darcy is in a difficult situation. His father is pressing him to propose marriage to the last woman in the world he would wish to take as his wife. With a fortnight to announce his betrothal, he makes the acquaintance of Elizabeth Bennet, who is in a predicament of her own.
Could Darcy be willing to consider Elizabeth as a solution to his problem and to hers? And can Elizabeth ascertain enough of Darcy’s character to trust him upon nothing but a first impression?
In this version, Darcy’s father didn’t die. Still alive, but rather embittered after the death of his wife several years earlier, Darcy Sr. and Darcy Jr. tend to have some collisions concerning Darcy Jr.’s future. At the beginning of the story, Darcy Sr. lays down an ultimatum to force Jr. to go propose to his cousin Anne. As he leaves Pemberley, Darcy stops to talk with his sister, who encourages him to follow his heart rather than their father’s dictates. A few days later, Darcy stops at an inn in Hertfordshire for a meal. There, he overhears a dastardly plot between two men – he gathers that they are co-guardians of an innocent young woman, and one of them wants to sell her off in order to pay some debts! The other fellow is definitely against this, but doesn’t know what to do. Darcy determines that he should step in and see if he can help, so he finds the nice guy and offers his assistance. Once Darcy meets the niece and hears more about her situation, he does something entirely crazy – he proposes! After all, if he’s already married, his father can’t force him to marry someone else!
Readers will be unsurprised to learn that the niece is a Miss Elizabeth Bennet. Her entire family died in a tragic carriage accident several months earlier (really, the Bennets shouldn’t travel en masse, apparently) and Elizabeth has been left to the guardianship of her uncles Phillips and Gardiner. Sadly, in this version Gardiner is the villain (he went off the rails after the death of his fiancee several years earlier) and she has been living with the Phillipses since the accident. With virtually no options, Elizabeth agrees to the marriage, and Darcy takes her away to stay with his grandmama in London.
I actually really did enjoy this version a lot. It was kind of pointless to make it a P&P variation in many ways since the majority of the original characters had already been killed off. But to make up for it, Diamond gives us lots of very friendly and entertaining Fitzwilliam relatives instead. Overall I also liked Darcy’s grandma, although she did get a little bossy sometimes and kind of reminded me of that annoying Cassandra in another variation I read recently. But in this case, having a bossy and interfering female in Darcy’s life made sense, because this one was a relative and much older than him.
It was also really fun to have Darcy’s father still be alive. This meant that there was a lot more closure with different aspects of the Darcys lives, including getting everything ironed out with that dreadful Wickham.
There were definitely a few things that didn’t work for me, mostly things that got a little bit too melodramatic/angsty. In some ways, the story was a boring in places because Elizabeth and Darcy, after some initial complications, live in almost perfect harmony from there forward. There is also this weird side plot concerning the guy who was going to buy Elizabeth from Gardiner… like I really had no idea why we were even reading about him, because he had nothing to do with the rest of the story at all, so that felt awkward and strange.
Overall, this was a mostly enjoyable read, although readers beware of several intimate scenes.
No spoilers for this one as it was pretty free of completely ridiculousness!