Is it a truth universally acknowledged, that a single lord, in possession of a grand estate, must be in want of an heiress?
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
I have the most thoughtful blog readers. Not only do they send me kind emails and generous expressions of our friendships, they also recommend really great stories for me to read; stories that may go unnoticed by me in the hustle and bustle of my daily routines.
Last week a very dear reader (you know who you are!) recommended Cheryl Bolen’s new series of sequel novellas based on “Pride and Prejudice,”and so I eagerly preordered and read the first book in this series titled, “Miss Darcy’s New Companion.” I usually prefer to read full-length novels, however, I have to say this book was a delightful surprise!
Ms. Bolen, a New York Times, USA Today best-selling author of more than two dozen Regency-set historical romance novels, is releasing her three novella’s a week apart from each other, with book two being released on July 5th and book three being released on July 12th. When I reached for my phone early in the morning this past Tuesday and saw her first novella downloaded on my Kindle app, I gladly read the story from start to finish, as I was eager to discover how the story would resolve itself. When I finished the story, I had an ear-to-ear grin on my face!
This story had just enough dashes of Darcy and Elizabeth to satisfy a “Pride and Prejudice” fan, such as myself, while Ms. Bolen spun her story off into a new direction. Her story artfully combined Ms. Bolen’s own new characters, such as the intriguing Miss Lucy Wetherspoon and the charismatic Lord Fane, with some of Austen’s well-loved and familiar characters, such as Georgiana Darcy and Charlotte Collins. Set in Derbyshire, at the great estate of Pemberley, JAFF readers will feel “right at home” while reading this story.
As the Darcys prepare for their departure from Pemberley to explore the gorgeous sights found in Italy during their highly anticipated honeymoon, Darcy hires a new companion for Georgiana, in the hopes that her companion will help Georgiana shed a bit of her shyness in preparation of her own coming out, which is planned to take place within the upcoming year.
No sooner is Darcy heading off to Italy with his new bride when he reveals some match-making plans of his own; he has asked his good friend and neighbor, the highly esteemed and eligible suitor, Alexander Farrington, the Earl of Fane, to check in regularly at Pemberley to make sure that Georgiana is faring well during his absence. As Lord Fane begins his duty and visits Pemberely for this purpose, he soon finds himself asking the same questions that Darcy pondered when he recently hired Georgiana’s newest companion; why isn’t the attractive and articulate Miss Lucy Wetherspoon already married and what is her “story?”
As Lord Fane spends more and more time with the ladies at Pemberley, it becomes clear that the path to love and happiness is not a straight and clear path for anyone! When he starts to unravel the many layers of Ms. Wetherspoon’s “accomplishments,” he comes to find that the more time he spends time with Lucy, the more enamored he is with her… But how can a Lord, whose estate coffers are in need of an heiress, let that named heiress slip away from him? Along with that concern, what will his close friend Darcy do if he returns from Italy to find out that Lord Fane’s plans don’t coincide with his duty to his friends, his family and Bodworth House, his ancestral estate?
Ms. Bolen is an experienced historical romance writer and her talents show throughout this novella! Her engaging writing style beautifully flows throughout this story. There wasn’t a scene I didn’t enjoy or a conversation I didn’t relish. Her dialogues feel authentic, her use of Regency era language is well done and her plot has a lovely mixture of light humor and romantic tension. She packs some nice surprises within her story too and even though this is a shorter read, it was quite satisfying. My only disappointment was the way Ms. Bolen wrapped up her story. While I enjoyed the ending, I had hoped for an ending that was a bit more developed. Nonetheless, it was a great read overall and if you’re wondering what I’ll be reading for the next two Tuesdays, look no further than Ms. Bolen’s next two “Pride and Prejudice” novellas!
I would like to offer my Just Jane 1813 readers a chance to win an ebook of “Miss Darcy’s New Companion.” Please leave a comment on this blog by midnight ET on July 12th. The winner of the ebook will be announced on this blog on July 13, 2016.
Thank you to Ms. Bolen for writing such a fun and engaging JAFF novella. It’s a pleasure to have you writing JAFF stories for us!
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