A delectable collection of “Pride and Prejudice” short story variations that deliver a dash of mystery, romance and a bit of whimsy.
Rating: 4 stars out of 5, which is based on the entire anthology.
I received an ARC of this book from the author for a fair and honest review.
“Words in the Wind”
This short story finds Elizabeth as the recipient of some rather lovely poetic phrases that have been placed along her path as she walks from Longbourn and throughout Meryton. “Can these be from a recent admirer?” she ponders to herself. This story is filled with a bit of mystery and dose of romance, as Elizabeth searches for the author of these lyrical phrases.
I found myself immediately engaged with this story and not only did I enjoy solving the mystery with Elizabeth, I enjoyed the poetry that led her down this unexpected path, along with the way she discovered her secret admirer.
“A Fine Stout Love”
This is a companion piece to the first story in this collection. Given Elizabeth’s statements below in “Pride and Prejudice,” this story has an interesting twist where she is now acting as the poet when she writes some words about a particular gentleman that she hides in a book. As fate would have it, the gentleman comes to read her private musings in a most unusual way.
These two vignettes offer a twist on Darcy and Elizabeth’s words from Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice,” as shown below:
“I have been used to consider poetry as the food of love,” said Darcy.
“Of a fine, stout, healthy love it may. Every thing nourishes what is strong already. But if it be only a slight, thin sort of inclination, I am convinced that one good sonnet will starve it entirely away.”
In these tender vignettes, we read this exchange from both Elizabeth and Darcy’s perspectives, which offered a really nice balance of romance and humor. It was fun to see what occurred at Longbourn before the poetry became windswept, as well as the conversation that took place between Darcy and Bingley when they were on their way to visit the Bennet sisters. Of course, it was also fun to see Elizabeth humbled when her former words regarding poetry seem to no longer stand true for her, especially where a certain gentleman is concerned!
“Neither Slumber Nor Sleep”
Mr. Darcy has been delayed returning to Hertfordshire after Bingley’s proposal to Jane, leaving Elizabeth to wonder about his intentions towards her. As Elizabeth, who is recovering from a recent illness, arrives in Meryton to shop with Jane for items for her wedding, she finds herself a bit tired and she decides to take a rest in a church pew. As she falls asleep, her dreams take over her mind. When she wakes up, she attempts to determine what was really a dream and what may have passed in real life, as she still hopes for a chance to share her future with Mr. Darcy.
This was a story that I really enjoyed because it was fun trying to figure out what parts were Elizabeth’s dream and which parts of the story actually happened to her in real life. I thought the way that the storyline unfolded felt realistic, and then when some whimsy was thrown in along with a comical accident between Darcy and Elizabeth, the story was even more enjoyable!
“Gold, All Gold”
This story is another story that alternates between a mystical experience and a real life event. Elizabeth is rescued by Darcy in the woods. Together, they experience a new intimacy between them and find their relationship quite altered after their time together in the woods.
This was a story that I found somewhat interesting, and the language evoked some very powerful images for me, but it wasn’t my favorite read within this collection. It was quite a short read and I never really became very engaged with the story. It was also a little hard to decipher what was going on, as the dreamlike sequences and the real life sequences weren’t as well distinguished as in her former story, “Neither Slumber Nor Sleep.”
This was my absolute favorite story in this collection. Poor Darcy ! Somehow, he decided to write some very lovely and somewhat intimate passages for his fiancée, but before they are placed in Elizabeth’s hands, his written expressions take a trip around Longbourn, where several roving eyes get a glimpse into his rather private thoughts and feelings.
I had to laugh at this situation. Can you imagine anyone other than Elizabeth reading Darcy’s very intimate feelings and thoughts regarding their relationship and their upcoming marriage? Can you imagine how these words arouse certain feelings among the residents of Longbourn after they’ve been “accidentally” shared within the Bennet family?
Not only was this story quite humorous and utterly charming, it was also handled with a beautiful delicacy that allowed it to stand out as a very memorable short story that will remain a favorite of mine during Darcy and Elizabeth’s engagement period. I loved the words that Darcy eventually shares with Elizabeth and I loved the decision she made about reading his passage to her.
Overall, I found this collection to be a light-hearted and well-written collection of low-angst “Pride and Prejudice” short stories. They were filled with romance and some of them had an ethereal quality to them. The first and the last stories were my favorites, but I did find that each story added a new take on “Pride and Prejudice” that I enjoyed. I look forward to seeing what Ms. Beyea has planned next for her upcoming collection of “Pride and Prejudice” short stories! Check out her website post for a glimpse of this next collection, where you can also download a holiday “Pride and Prejudice” short story and subscribe to her website to receive for a free modern “Pride and Prejudice” short story.
Book Blurb for “A Fine Stout Love”
Discover what happens when Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy meet fancy and fantasy in this novella-length ensemble of Regency stories.
– What if two inexplicable trails of words led to the Meryton churchyard on the same blustery morning?
– What if Darcy stumbled across suggestive lines of verse following Elizabeth’s stay at Netherfield?
– What if a rumored engagement so thoroughly shocked Lady Catherine that she could not interfere?
– What if Elizabeth learned the last man she would ever marry was the only man she could marry?
– What if every Bennet family member read the love poem Darcy intended only for his bride?
With all the intimacy and lyricism of a chamber concert, these five whimsical shorts will inspire the heart, prompt a smile, and entice readers to many happy returns.
Renée Beyea holds an undergraduate writing degree from Taylor University and a Master of Divinity from Fuller Seminary. She serves as a full-time wife, mother to two sons, and ministry partner with her husband, an Anglican priest, and chaplain. Her free time is devoted to crafting stories and composing poetry that delight the senses and touch the soul. (Photo attached separately.)
AUTHOR CONTACT and SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS
5/2: Excerpt & Giveaway at From Milton to Pemberley
5/3: Guest Post & Giveaway at So Little Time…
5/4: Excerpt & Giveaway at Half Agony, Half Hope
5/5: Review & Giveaway at The Calico Critic
5/6: Guest Post & Giveaway at Austenesque Reviews
5/7: Guest Post & Giveaway at Babblings of a Bookworm
5/8: Review & Giveaway at Delighted Reader
5/9: Review & Giveaway at Austenesque Reviews
5/10: Interview & Giveaway at Savvy Verse and Wit
5/11: Review & Giveaway at Diary of an Eccentric
5/12: Review & Giveaway at Just Jane 1813
5/12: Excerpt & Giveaway at Laughing with Lizzie
5/13: Review & Giveaway at Book Girl of Mur-y-Castell
5/14: Excerpt & Giveaway at My Kids Led Me Back to Pride and Prejudice
5/15: Excerpt & Giveaway at Best Sellers and Best Stellars
5/16: Review & Giveaway at Margie’s Must Reads
I’d love to hear from my readers about your thoughts and comments about this book, along with any other Austen-inspired short story anthologies that you have enjoyed in the past. Have you enjoyed Ms. Beyea’s collection yet?
Renée Beyea’s blog tour has included some wonderful companion posts about short stories and why she was inspired to write these variations based on “Pride and Prejudice.” Please check out these wonderful posts from Renée Beyea and the bloggers on this tour.
Please click the link below to enter the Rafflecopter international giveaway for a chance to win one of the 8 copies of this book being offered through this blog tour.