Can Elizabeth allow Darcy to have another chance to prove his love to her?
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
I received an ARC of this book from the author for an honest review of this book.
Reading new JAFF authors is always an experience I cherish because I admire the way another writer approaches Austen’s work to create a story that is truly their own. I also love finding a new JAFF author to follow and one that I will look forward to reading more books by in the future. Even though Ola Wegner has written several JAFF books, this was the first one I have read by her. After reading “One More Chance” in one sitting, I am pleased I gave this author a chance to impress me with her very sweet and emotional journey that she created in this story between Darcy and Elizabeth.
As we begin this story, we are privy to reading the journal entries of Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy. Amongst these pages, we read his private, intimate musings as he describes his unpredictable, yet growing attraction for the young, country miss named Elizabeth Bennet. These entries, written during his first stay at Netherfield, were such a great lead into this story, because while we are often made aware of Darcy’s feelings for Elizabeth in many JAFF books, reading these journal entries felt a bit more up close and personal, since they almost read like they were personal letters. Oh, how he struggled with his feelings in this part of the story!
Following canon, Darcy and Elizabeth meet again in Kent, where Elizabeth is staying with the Collinses and Darcy is with Colonel Fitzwilliam, visiting his family at Rosings Park. Once again, struggling to gain control over his feelings towards Elizabeth, Darcy convinces himself to deliver his ill-fated proposal of marriage to Elizabeth, and just like in Austen’s book, he is turned down by Elizabeth, which leaves him quite upset and frustrated. This time, however, both of them remain in Kent and find themselves, once again, in each other’s company. Can Darcy manage to redeem himself in Elizabeth’s eyes, or will he continue to allow his overwhelming feelings for Elizabeth to overrule his good sense? Before leaving Rosings, they take part, once again, in a tumultuous conversation, where Darcy tells Elizabeth, “We shall marry.” Never one to be willfully controlled by another, she tells him that not only will she not marry him, she hasn’t even read the letter he gave her… Good-bye, Mr. Darcy!
Once they return to their own homes, cooler heads seem to prevail, as Darcy and Elizabeth reconsider their actions in Kent. After spending time away from each other, they reflect upon their relationship and start to head towards their own separate futures. For Elizabeth, this means taking a trip during the summer with her aunt and uncle Gardiner, where they eventually wind up Derbyshire. During this time, Lydia also goes away, traveling to Brighton as the guest of Colonel Foster and his wife, while Jane remains at Longbourn with her
Once in Derbyshire and visiting with Mrs. Gardiner’s friends, Elizabeth finds herself enchanted with this breathtaking county and its picturesque landscapes. After Mrs. Gardiner decides to return home, Elizabeth chooses to stay with Mrs. Gardiner’s friend and deepen their own friendship. This doesn’t mean she winds up visiting Pemberley and becoming reacquainted with Darcy again, does it?
I really enjoyed the way both Darcy and Elizabeth struggled to redeem themselves in each other’s eyes. While they were both confident and strong individuals, they both also showed a certain vulnerability towards each other that added to the story’s tender and loving tone. Having Elizabeth stay in Derbyshire allowed their relationship to continue to develop in a gradual manner. Yet, they still faced obstacles and misunderstandings that keep them apart from each other. As they unraveled their misunderstandings with each other, the path to their future seemed to become clearer. Could Elizabeth’s feelings ever grow into the type of love that Darcy yearns for and will they be able to establish a love built on trust, hope and shared intimacies?
Throughout the story, there were a few subplots that added interest to the overall story. However, the storyline involving Anne de Bourgh and her mother, Lady Catherine de Bourgh, was just a bit too cruel for me to enjoy in this book. I thought the relationship Anne had with her cousins and her role in their lives was well done, but I usually don’t enjoy when Lady Catherine’s actions are truly evil towards her own daughter.
I enjoyed the journal entries throughout this book and how these entries were interwoven throughout the text to bring an additional point of view into the story. The letters exchanged between the characters was also a nice touch, as I believe this decision allows a variation to feel a bit truer to canon. The inclusion of letters was a keystone in Austen’s own work, as they played an important role in developing the structure of Austen’s texts. Austen knew the value of conveying key elements of her plot through letter writing and how her character’s letters could be included within a story to clear up misconceptions and reveal a person’s true nature.
“One More Chance” was a variation that played well upon many parts of Austen’s own story, yet it was infused with enough of its own originality to feel like its own story. With the exception of Lady Catherine, I felt the characters were amiable, especially the characters of Darcy and Elizabeth. The book also contained a lot of interactions between Darcy and Elizabeth, which I typically prefer when I read a variation.
Ola Wegner would like to offer Just Jane 1813 readers an opportunity to win an ebook of “One More Chance.” Please leave a comment in the post below before midnight ET on January 15th. The winner will be announced on this blog on January 16, 2016.
Thank you to Ola Wegner for writing this heartfelt and tender story about Darcy and Elizabeth’s journey. Also, thank you for your generosity with this giveaway for my readers. I certainly look forward to reading more of your books in the future.