The Love Triangle Gets a New “Angle.”
Rating: 5 stars out of 5
After enjoying both new books by Carolyn Whyte, “Darcy’s Denial” and “The Longbourn Will,” I knew I had found another favorite JAFF author. Her writing closely follows canon, while her writing style contains phrases and terms consistent with Austen’s own tone. Example: “Colonel Fitzwilliam had been severely wounded in his right leg when the reconnaissance party he was leading had surprised a platoon of French fusiliers.”
I really enjoy JAFF books that delve into the Darcy/Elizabeth/Colonel Fitzwilliam triangle. They’re fun, engaging and often quite humorous! I enjoy witnessing Darcy’s actions (and his inner dialogue) to see how he gets himself out of his way, by trying to get back into Elizabeth’s good graces.
After reading numerous JAFF triangles, I experienced “Darcy’s Denial” as one of the best written and one of the most plausible of these triangles. With that said, it took me until about 30% of the book to get really pulled in by the plot. Yet, once I was hooked, I devoured the book and walked around my house in that “Why can’t I get this story out of my mind,” fog.
Ms. Whyte begins her story with a simple, yet powerful plot twist, starting at the Meryton Assembly. Here, Elizabeth meets Mr. Bingley’s party, which now includes a wounded, yet ever amiable, Colonel Fitzwilliam. After Darcy makes his infamous “She is tolerable…” statement, Colonel Fitzwilliam delivers a small save of his own, and the course of the evening takes an amusing turn from canon. Colonel Fitzwilliam and Elizabeth become well acquainted with each other, yet they leave the assembly knowing that their circumstances prohibit them from making a suitable match.
I enjoyed how Ms. Whyte moved the plot along through letters between various characters, such as Elizabeth and her aunt, along with Darcy and his sister, Georgiana. These letters offered glimpses into the characters’ feelings and motives, while moving along the well-known events of Austen’s book that Ms. Whyte chose to include in her story.This deliberate decision by Ms. Whyte allows us to enjoy some familiar events within Austen’s book at a faster pace, while we also learn how the familiar and the newer parts of this variation are affecting the characters.
After the Netherfield ball, Darcy receives news that calls him back to Derbyshire, with the intention to “excise Elizabeth from his life before it is too late,” though we get a pretty strong sense that he is already too late in saving his heart from Elizabeth. From here, a life-altering event occurs that changes Austen’s story just enough to send our characters along a path filled with surprising plot twists, thus creating a love triangle that is both painful and gripping in its intensity and its development.
As we return to Kent, I loved how Darcy and Colonel Fitzwilliam battled over Elizabeth! I loved watching them try to capture and “seduce” her, as they employed sonnets (think Shakespeare) and romantic gestures in their battles of the heart. What made this struggle even more bittersweet was how Darcy and Colonel Fitzwilliam held an animosity towards each other that also paralleled their great love and respect for each other… What a web of angst, heartbreak and obstacles for our dear characters!
I loved how so many unpredictable events occurred up until the very end of this book. I didn’t see where certain angles were heading and even though this was quite a challenging read in many places, I wouldn’t have changed a thing within this story. This book turned out to be a really pleasant surprise because it offered a completely original premise for our characters who were caught in this triangle, while also adding some nice dimensions to the other relationships within the book.
Ms. Whyte’s writing style is purposeful and engaging. As a reader, I enjoyed her use of witty dialogue, descriptive language, and her well-paced plot lines. I was gripping my kindle until the very last swipe of my virtual page, savoring the twists and turns of this highly original JAFF triangle, until I read the very last words… ” Oh well, that ship has sailed,” I said to myself, as I closed the cover on this story and started counting the months until book 2. This story stayed deeply within the crevices of my heart and mind all week long.
Now, I am anxiously counting the days for the publication of the second and final book of this series. I have NO clue how this story can really have a satisfying conclusion, but I trust that Ms. Whyte will work this all out for us… What a delicious feeling for a reader!