How will a marriage proposal from Mr. Collins change the course of Darcy and Elizabeth’s relationship?
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
Source: I was provided an ARC of this book from the author for a fair and honest review.
From the pages of “On Oakham Mount”
When Mr. Bennet insists that Elizabeth marry the odious Mr.Collins, she dashes off in tears to seek refuge on Oakham Mount. There she encounters Mr. Darcy, seeking distraction from his own concerns. In a moment of emotional turmoil, they turn to each other and Mr. Darcy is moved to offer a solution to Elizabeth’s dilemma: A marriage of convenience. But when this engagement is broken almost before it has begun, why do the two feel so bereft? Could there be more between them than a simple arrangement? Can these two proud, strong-willed individuals overcome all the obstacles that seem determined to keep them apart? More importantly, can they open their hearts to each other and to love?
From its breathtaking cover, to its skillfully crafted storyline, “On Oakham Mount,” by Sophia Meredith, is a “Pride and Prejudice” variation that delivers a Regency Era romance that remains true to the tastes and the values within Austen’s time period. Ms. Meredith’s debut novel, which is the first in her Pemberley Departures series, focuses on how the demands placed upon Elizabeth to marry Mr. Collins by Mr. and Mrs. Bennet, shape the course of her relationship with Fitzwilliam Darcy.
Beginning right after the Netherfield Ball, this variation takes us through Darcy and Elizabeth’s own personal voyages, as they both attempt to decipher and reconcile their true feelings towards each other. As Ms. Meredith demonstrates her wonderful command of Regency language, she transports us back in time and allows us to reimagine how Darcy and Elizabeth’s relationship could have unfolded differently as various external and internal conflicts force them to confront the expectations of their families, while they also face the oppressive social structures found within their society.
As they prepare to put these plans in place, an engagement occurs for another Bennet sister. Now Elizabeth must decide whether or not she can go along with the plan she has agreed to with Mr. Darcy. Once she makes her decision and informs Mr. Darcy about her decision, the couple finds themselves at a crossroads. How will her sister’s engagement affect her relationship with Mr. Darcy?
I loved the idea of Darcy and Elizabeth agreeing to an engagement early on in their relationship and then breaking it off, because, in canon, I believe they both have a strong attraction to each other that they both initially fight against. From this point, the story requires that they truly reflect upon their deepest feelings and examine their motives towards each other through the painful separations of time and space. This story stays close enough to canon to include the themes and the characters we love to explore while Ms. Meredith adds enough departures from Austen’s original story that will resonate with readers who love to explore subtle, yet significant variations in Austen’s story.
I found Darcy to be quite charming in this story. He was kind and humble, especially once he realized his true heart. He was also confident and manly in a way that came across as attractive and a bit reserved. I had fun reading Ms. Meredith’s twist on the infamous confrontation with Lady Catherine de Bourgh and I had a huge smile on my countenance as I played that scene in my head!
The epilogue was a great wrap-up for this book! It was wonderful how Ms. Meredith wrapped up so many loose ends, like a giant present for us. Her epilogue resembles Ms. Austen’s final chapter in canon, leaving readers with a good sense about how our characters’ lives would play out for them in the future.
Ms. Meredith should be commended as a new author for her attention to detail, specifically regarding her precise word choices and her careful construction of Regency Era language throughout her story. There were a couple of places where the plot developed a bit slowly, and perhaps more attention in those places was given to the authenticity of her language development and less so to moving the plot along at a brisker pace. However, these are minor quibbles that didn’t prevent me from savoring the beauty of her writing and delighting in the simply touching romance that remains at the center of her story.
I’m elated to tell my readers that Sophia Meredith has brought two ebook copies of “On Oakham Mount” for my Just Jane 1813 readers. Please leave a comment on this post by midnight ET on April 7th. The winners will be announced on this blog on April 8, 2016.
I want to thank Sophia Meredith for her generous giveaways for my readers and for crafting a new JAFF series for readers too! Please note that in this book, Ms. Meredith shares a few chapters from her next book in this stand-alone series that is titled, “Miss Darcy’s Companion,” which will be released this summer.
“On Oakham Mount” will be released for publication on April 1, 2016.
To connect with Sophia Meredith, explore the following links:
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This book is also available through KindleUnlimited.