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Archive for the tag “L.L. Diamond”

An Unwavering Trust // by L.L. Diamond

Type: Variation

Setting:  Regency

Read Via: Kindle

Overall Rating:  3.5/5.0

Characters True-to-Original Rating:  4.0/5.0 (for the characters that survived…)

Copyright:  2015

Pages: 454

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?

Review:

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!

Rain & Retribution // by L.L. Diamond

Type: Variation

Setting:  Regency

Read Via: Kindle

Overall Rating:  3.0/5.0

Characters True-to-Original Rating:  2.75/5.0

Copyright:  2013

Pages: 410

Clean Rating:  Definitely mature.  Multiple sex scenes.

Synopsis (via Goodreads): 

When Elizabeth Bennet’s parents attempt to force her into a marriage of convenience for the sake of her family, she flees to make her own future. Will circumstances and their families conspire to keep Darcy and Elizabeth apart or will they unite to take them on together?

Review:

In this version, when Mr. Collins proposes to Elizabeth, Mr. Bennet doesn’t back Elizabeth up when she refuses.  Instead, he agrees that Elizabeth will marry Collins despite all of her protests.  Desperate, Elizabeth decides to run away from home, hoping that if she can make it to London, her aunt and uncle will help her.  The servants help her sneak out of the house and head towards the next town, where she intends to catch the post to London.  However, a sudden storm comes up and the carriage slides off the road and breaks something important, leaving Elizabeth a bit stranded as if she walks back to Meryton, her fate is sealed.

Just when all seems lost, Mr. Darcy appears on the horizon, on his way back to London as well in his own comfy carriage.  He ends up stopping and giving Elizabeth a lift.  She doesn’t really want to get stuck with Mr. Grumpy-pants, but feels she has no choice.  Unfortunately for Elizabeth, the rains continue and they are forced to take shelter in an inn.  Of course, the inn is stuffed full of people, so they have to share a room.  Stranded for three days together, they slowly are able to learn more about each other and correct misunderstandings.  When Elizabeth confesses her dilemma, Mr. Darcy offers to marry her, and does so as soon as they arrive in London.

There was actually a lot to like about this story.  It was an interesting twist, and I really liked both Darcy and Elizabeth.  However, the story did drag in places, and there were way too many scenes with Mature Content.  There were also a few characters who are nice people in the original (and most variations), who were not particularly nice in this story, and I didn’t really care for that.  I was especially sad that Elizabeth is never reconciled with her parents.  As I’m thinking about it, part of the reason this story was kind of boring was that there wasn’t any character development at all.  Things happen to people but no one really changes because of it.

Overall, decent for a one-time read, but not one that I want to return to again.

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

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