Can't Stop Reading P&P Variations…

The Good, the Bad, and the ?!??!?!?!?!

Archive for the month “November, 2018”

Darcy’s Ultimatum // by Jennifer Joy

Type: Variation

Setting:  Regency

Read Via: Kindle

Overall Rating:  3.0/5.0

Characters True-to-Original Rating:  4.0/5.0

Copyright:  2015

Pages: 264

Clean Rating: G – nothing objectionable

Synopsis (via Goodreads): 

When Fitzwilliam Darcy’s arranged life falls to pieces, his father, Mr. George Darcy, gives him an ultimatum: Marry by the end of the London Season or risk disinheritance. Can Darcy cast aside society’s frigid attitude toward marriage and find true love? Or will his desire to honor his deceased mother’s memory hold him back?

Elizabeth Bennet faces the greatest challenge of her life: Find a husband by the end of the London Season or be forced to marry the heir apparent of her family home, Mr. Collins. A romantic at heart, will Elizabeth find a gentleman to meet her high expectations?

After a disastrous meeting, Darcy and Elizabeth determine not to like each other.
But, the London Season has only begun…

Review:

In this version, Darcy’s father is still alive (although Mrs. Darcy is not) and is getting impatient with his son’s reluctance to marry.  Finally, he lays down the law and tells Darcy that he has to get married by the end of the Season, or face disinheritance.  Darcy trots off to Rosings to confirm his engagement to his cousin Anne, but is shocked when she actually turns him down.  Completely unsure what he should do next, Darcy meanders off to Hertfordshire with Bingley and runs into a completely unsuitable young woman with fine eyes.  Back in London, fate decrees that they should continue to cross paths.

Jane and Elizabeth are getting ready to spend the Season in London with the Gardiners, who are in trade but are nonetheless well-to-do.  Before the girls leave, however, Mr. Collins shows up, determined to land a wife.  Elizabeth manages to convince her mother to let the girls have their Season, but the deal is that if she doesn’t find a man in London, she has to come back and marry Mr. Collins after all.  The pressure of the hunt is on!

This version was fine, just rather boring.  I was kind of anticipating the whole “Darcy has to get married OR ELSE” to play into the story a lot more, but instead he only seems moderately bothered by it, rather than pressured.  Elizabeth is kind of the same way.  So while the synopsis acts like there is going to be more or less a marriage of convenience, they don’t really seem super fussed.

The majority of the book doesn’t follow the real story at all, so it’s really more of just an alternative story with some of the same character rather than a true variation.

I think part of the reason that this book felt a little disjointed is that it is the first in a trilogy.  The second book is about Anne, and the third about Colonel Fitzwilliam.  Consequently, there are times that the author is setting things up for the next book, but sometimes it feels a little abrupt, and leaves some things disconnected.

This was a perfectly harmless story, but overall just wasn’t terribly interesting.  I started the second book, but only read the first few chapters before realizing that I really didn’t care all that much.

No spoilers for this one – it’s a straightforward read.  Comfortable, but somewhat bland.

Sketching Mr. Darcy // by Lory Lilian

Type: Variation

Setting:  Regency

Read Via: Kindle

Overall Rating:  3.5/5.0

Characters True-to-Original Rating:  4.0/5.0

Copyright:  2015

Pages: 406

Clean Rating: Mature – fairly clean for the first 2/3 or so, then a few intimate scenes between the married couple

Synopsis (via Goodreads): 

The morning after the Netherfield Ball, Fitzwilliam Darcy is ready to leave Hertfordshire, taking his friend Bingley away from the lady of his choice and distancing himself from her sister, who has disturbed his tranquility for weeks.

The path, meant to lead him away, unexpectedly brings him close to the person he most wants to avoid, and saving Miss Elizabeth Bennet’s life becomes not only his immediate goal but also a decision that affects his future.

A strong and powerful yet forgotten bond from their past—combined with startling events in the present—brings Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy into a marriage not planned but accepted by both, forcing them to break the barriers between them in order to build their future happiness.

Review:

This variation actually had a lot going for it for the first probably 80-85%.  Then, for some reason, the author decided to tack on this strange kidnapping sequence that made the whole story spiral out of control and brought my overall rating down from a 4* to 3.5*.

This version separates from the original the morning after the Netherfield ball.  In the original, Bingley and Darcy head back to London first thing in the morning.  Here, Bingley isn’t ready to leave first thing (which actually does seem to fit his character!) and Darcy goes for a ride to kill time.  Meanwhile, Mr. Collins has proposed to Elizabeth, who has turned him down and escaped out of the house for a walk to clear her mind.  While out, she slips and falls into a pond, leaving her cold and muddy, which is when Darcy finds her.  Concerned for her health, as it is getting colder outside, he escorts her home on his horse, talks with Mr. Bennet for a few minutes, and then heads on his way, as determined as ever that Elizabeth is an ineligible match, although he does send his personal doctor to check on her when he gets back to Town.

In London, a younger cousin of Darcy’s, James, is still friends with Wickham.  Through Wickham and James, who is a notorious gossip, rumors begin to spread about Darcy ruining a country girl, and sending his doctor to take care of a much more personal issue than a mere cold.  As is usual with rumors, things swiftly spiral out of control, and when Elizabeth’s name gets out, Darcy decides that the best way to resolve the situation is to marry her.  To his surprise, his aunt and uncle (Colonel Fitzwilliam’s parents) are actually on board with the whole idea, so Darcy heads back to Hertfordshire to propose.

Darcy is, of course, due for another surprise when Elizabeth initially turns him down.  He has to talk her into marrying him!  Shocked to realize that Elizabeth not only isn’t in love with him, but doesn’t even really like him, Darcy doesn’t reveal his feelings – instead, he emphasizes the importance of quelling rumors, etc. and reassures her that he believes they will make a good match.

What I really liked about the majority of this book was that it wasn’t full of ridiculous drama.  Instead, it’s just Darcy and Elizabeth getting to know each other.  They have some arguments and misunderstandings, but – here’s a concept – they actually talk things through and it was honestly fantastic to read about a couple who have conversations instead of just wondering what the other person is thinking.  So even though there were a couple of times where one or the other blew the other one off instead of listening, it never took them very long to come back, apologize, and then listen.  Throughout the story, I really felt like Darcy and Elizabeth were building a healthy relationship by learning both to share and to listen.  Of course, in this version the Hunsford proposal, and its subsequent letter, never happened, so the issues raised there now are left to unfold through natural conversation and interaction.

I was honestly set to give this book a 4* rating based on the excellent communication between the couple, but the ending of this book kind of went off the rails.  Elizabeth gets kidnapped and rescued, Darcy gets all wound up about it, they go chasing about the countryside, the villain makes basically no sense – then when that finally got wrapped up, Lilian proceeds to meander around for another couple of chapters in a sort of elongated epilogue that wasn’t particularly interesting.

There are a few sex scenes, although the first probably 2/3 of the book is basically clean, other than meaningful touches and kisses and the like as Darcy and Elizabeth slowly get to know each other.  It’s definitely not a version that is all about the shagging.

The other weird thing that happened in this book is in the prologue, a young Elizabeth is rescued from drowning in the sea by a mysterious and unknown young man who, no surprise here, turns out to be Darcy.  At one point, Elizabeth is telling this story (they had never found out who the rescuer was) and Darcy realizes it was himself, but doesn’t tell Elizabeth until later.  When he does tell her, she acts super weird about it??  It seemed like a very strange and unnatural reaction to me.  Like I can understand thinking it’s super weird and coincidental, but I couldn’t figure out why she was acting all miffed that he hadn’t told her before.  It was a weird scene.

All in all, a fun read, especially if you’re into versions where Darcy and Elizabeth actually believe in talking with each other.  The last 20% of this book could have been cut to make a much more concise and well-written read, but it was still enjoyable.

If you’re interested in some exclamation points + spoilers concerning the end of the book, look below the cut…

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

Read more…

Post Navigation