Do the Fitzwilliam family jewels contain a curse which will irrevocably alter the course of their lives?
Rating: 5 stars out of 5
Source: I received an ARC of this book from the author, for a fair and honest review.
Readers, please note that this book is the second book in this series, “Darcy’s Denial,” which I also reviewed last fall. Therefore, the following review contains several spoilers for readers who haven’t read the first book.
I have a confession to divulge…
Last fall, after many heartbroken readers watched Fitzwilliam Darcy sail away to the Americas, and started counting down the days until the publication of this sequel, I felt a bit apprehensive about whether or not Carolyn Whyte would write a sequel that lived up to our expectations.
I’m more than happy to state that as I read the final pages of “Darcy’s Deliverance,” I felt confident that I was holding a book that readers will ardently admire and love from cover-to-cover. Readers who enjoyed Ms. Whyte’s other books will find themselves once again savoring her writing style and her skills as a wordsmith.
In a story that takes place over the course of nearly five years, Ms. Whyte transports her readers from the opening pages to July of 1812, as Darcy conjures up the painful memory from when Elizabeth shared with him her acceptance of Colonel Fitzwilliam’s marriage proposal to her. Still berating himself as he recalls the very list of actions which he knows have caused him to lose Elizabeth to Richard, he sets his eyes on the Americas to chart a different course for himself in the New World.
At the same time, back in England at Kingston, amongst their overgrown orchard, Lord and Lady Preston discuss their plans for their new lives together while they also prepare for their full-time guardianship of Georgiana. Their growing love and passion for each other are evident during this honeymoon period.
Correspondences are penned and exchanged through mail packets sent between Darcy and Georgiana, as they must depend on the less-than-reliable overseas mail delivery system to carry their letters. As readers are privy to their personal communications, these letters also serve to narrate the events taking place in their lives.
During this period, Kitty Bennet joins the family for an extended visit and from Kingston, Richard, Elizabeth, Georgiana and Kitty all journey together to Pemberley. As they arrive at Pemberley, Georgiana feels torn between her conflicting emotions. While she witnesses Elizabeth’s joy as she openly compares Pemberley to Rosings Park during this first sighting of Pemberley, she also recalls her despondent brother’s own personal struggles. At the same time, Richard attempts to deal with his own private concerns.
The scene below is one of the several poignant depictions of the characters’ parallel, internal struggles, which Ms. Whyte skillfully weaves throughout her story in an attempt to communicate the inherent tensions and emotions that organically develop over time.
“Whereas Pemberley, fitting so elegantly into its surroundings, already seems warm and welcoming,” Elizabeth added, turning again to the view. “I wonder that your brother could bear to leave it, Georgiana.”
Georgiana looked away for a moment lest Elizabeth or Kitty see the sadness that suddenly crossed her face. He left it for you, Elizabeth, she could not help thinking. He wished to be with you at your first sight of Pemberley—to bring you here as his bride. Now he has gone and you are here, but as the wife of my cousin instead of my brother.
Richard continued to stand a little way behind the ladies, watching his wife as she continued to admire his cousin Darcy’s magnificent home. And of this place you might have been mistress, he thought, unable to repress a tinge of jealousy at the thought. In his heart he knew that Elizabeth was no Miss Bingley, to be influenced by the material possessions of a man; yet while Elizabeth had been pleased with Kingston, she had not praised it as she now did Pemberley.
And why should she? Richard thought, his jealousy giving way to bitterness. Neither Kingston nor even his father’s estate at Matlock, though a fitting residence for an earl, could compare with Pemberley’s breathtaking setting. Suddenly ashamed of himself, he let the three ladies talk for some minutes longer while his abrupt flare of ill-temper drained away.
As Darcy continues to be absent from the lives of his family members, he longs for a sign from Elizabeth in Georgiana’s letters; a sign that will allow him to return home. Yet, with the receipt of each letter, his hopes begin to fade away.
The plot moves forward at a steady pace, with each chapter marking a new date as time marches on for the Fitzwilliam family. Their fates are marked by good fortunes as well as family tragedies that throw new duties and responsibilities into their lives. As a new landowner who has quickly acquired multiple estates to manage, Richard benefits from the hard work and the collective wisdom of Georgiana and Elizabeth.
Yet, as their marriage is blossoming, and most of their extended families continue to find happiness in their own circumstances, Richard seems haunted by memories from long ago; particularly those memories connected with his service in the war. Struggling to bring comfort to her husband, Elizabeth comes to believe she has finally found a way to offer Richard a path to their own shared happiness when now, nearly two years later, Darcy also acquires the intelligence he needs to return to England. Can his return to England finally afford Richard the solace he secretly craves or are the members of the Fitzwilliam family cursed by a long-standing family feud involving the family jewels?
Once back in England, Darcy is enthusiastically welcomed back into the lives of his family and friends. After accepting an invitation to visit with Richard, Elizabeth and Georgiana, he attempts to find happiness as he lives alongside his family.
As time moves forward, Darcy becomes concerned that the shades of Matlock may have become darkened throughout his extended absence. Lady Matlock even becomes agitated by rumors swirling around amongst the servants at Matlock regarding the “curse” of the Fitzwilliam family. In her attempt to absolve Matlock of these rumors, her actions put into place a chain of events that will have repercussions for future generations.
Feeling his despair deepen, Darcy senses that something may be amiss with his cousin. Will his intuition serve to propel his actions forward in time to alter the fates of the Fitzwilliam family or will an old foe’s actions turn the family curse on its head once again?
Once again, the twists and turns in the plot made me feel at times like I was sitting on the edge of my seat. Every time I thought I knew where the story was headed, I was taken in a new direction. I loved how Ms. Whyte portrayed Austen’s characters very true to canon, while at the same time, she constructed scenarios that were not only distinctive, but that were also quite viable. I found myself afterward reflecting on the characters’ actions and thinking about how their actions in this story closely aligned with how Austen also sketched their own personalities in her work. I really enjoyed how Darcy and Elizabeth in this story were still the very same strong-willed, yet caring people that we came to know and love from “Pride and Prejudice.”
Throughout the text, Ms. Whyte cleverly manipulates Austen’s very own words to bring humor and wit to a story she has truly turned into her own! She leaves her readers feeling grateful not only for Austen’s own works, but also for the numerous other authors, such as herself, who have taken their pens to paper to compose JAFF that delivers to readers storylines centered around close familial bonds that are welded together with a timeless romance that would leave Austen herself smiling at the execution.
I am happy to share Carolyn Whyte’s very generous giveaway offer for my Just Jane 1813 readers, as she is offering two readers the opportunity to win a copy of this ebook. Please leave a comment on this post by midnight ET on February 6. Both winners will be announced on this blog on February 7, 2016.
I want to thank Carolyn for allowing me to support her book, first through hosting my blog’s very first book cover reveal and secondly, by writing this memorable story to read and review here for my readers. Finally, I also want to thank her for her generous giveaway offer for my Just Jane 1813 readers. The journey she created for her characters is filled with many ups and downs, as we travel the waves of love, despair and deliverance.
Enjoy my interview with Carolyn Whyte that was published last fall.
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