Are the reckless behaviors of a wealthy gentleman more easily remedied than ones by a poorer man?
Rating: 5 stars out of 5
“In every life story, including our own, decisions are made in haste that determine the course of eternity.” Liz Curtis Higgs
It’s a joyful find indeed when another talented debut author steps into the JAFF community and quickly captures the attention of JAFF readers. As I perused Amazon and read several of the early reviews for this book, I became curious to take my own glimpse into this story and I came away wishing I could keep turning those virtual pages on my Kindle because this is a story I wanted to continue reading for a few more hours.
What begins with a very intense and very mature adult scene in the first chapter, eventually settles into a character-driven story that describes the events that took place between Darcy and Elizabeth during the Netherfield ball, which has led them to enter into a hastily arranged marriage. Since both of them have contributed to the scandal that unfolded at Netherfield, which I just loved because typically in these scenarios it’s the gentleman who only lacks restraint, there’s little room for blame once they both start to examine their own motives for their reckless behaviors.
Once they are married and return to London as husband and wife, a new life awaits both of them. Darcy’s family is eager, but certainly not happy, to meet his new country bumpkin of a wife and we soon learn that Ms. Morland has sketched a very different relationship between Colonel Fitzwilliam and Darcy. Gone is the carefree, playful banter that is often associated in JAFF with their relationship! I loved this grittier and more formal strain between these cousins, with Colonel Fitzwilliam acting as a more severe and sterner version of himself, as he expresses his disappointment and distaste for Darcy’s thoughtless and careless behavior towards Elizabeth in Hertfordshire. Their relationship throughout the story evolves in an interesting manner and I found that I really enjoyed seeing Colonel Fitzwilliam as a more formal and distant cousin, who eventually carries out for himself what he claims he must do in Austen’s own story.
Once Elizabeth’s verbal swordplay involves a well-known member of the ton, it’s apparent that the difficulties that the Darcys will face regarding their marriage will extend beyond Darcy’s own inner circle of family and friends. A decision is made for the couple to leave London with Georgiana and head to Pemberley for the holidays, where their life eventually settles into a more regular routine. The comfort they find in their roles as master and mistress of Pemberley allow them to develop some more confidence in their own relationship, and yet, there’s still a tendency for both of them to keep each other at an arm’s length away in regards to their more intimate emotions, such as love and trust. Misunderstandings continue to occur between them, while at the same time, unspoken words seem to hang on the edge of their tongues, like an apprehensive diver leaning forward to make that all-important thrust into the water; both appear unwilling to risk being rejected by the other one and are unable to take that all-too-important leap into the unchartered waters of trust and love.
Georgiana plays a major role in this story and her character is also a bit less playful and innocent as she typically is in many JAFF stories. As her character serves as a bridge of friendship and understanding between Darcy and Elizabeth, she also struggles with her own feelings of shame and indecency associated with her prior actions with Wickham. Georgiana’s actions in the story, as well as her maids’ actions, kept me intrigued throughout the story and Ms. Morland ties in this storyline in a unique and believable manner. I don’t need the Wickham/Georgiana/Lydia storyline to enjoy a “Pride and Prejudice” variation, but this one was well done and allowed the characters to reflect and grow in ways that were vital to this story.
This is one of my favorite kinds of JAFF stories; insightful into the characters’ natures and motives, heavily character-driven, and filled with tenderly crafted passion between Darcy and Elizabeth. Ms. Morland’s dialogues are quite true to each characters’ personalities from canon and also served to move the story at a steady, yet gradual and even pace. I loved the parts of Darcy’s and Elizabeth’s characters that Ms. Morland created for her story that were original and which felt right in place with their characters. Not only did they help to knit together their relationship, they also served to flesh out these characters into three-dimensional characters who embodied the complexities and the nuances we loved about them in Austen’s story.
While I am posting a 5-star review for this book, there were a few quibbles I had with the story. I don’t need to know how everything pans out for the rest of Darcy and Elizabeth’s lives, but I did feel certain things were left unsaid between them that I wanted to hear them resolve with each other. I also had some mixed feelings about the way the Darcy/Bingley/Jane/Elizabeth storyline was resolved too, as I wanted more closure with this storyline. However, I truly enjoyed and loved the story, as well as Ms. Morland’s writing style, too much to allow me to give this book less than a 5-star review from me. It’s one that I highly recommend for JAFF readers who enjoy a gradually developed, character-driven love story!
I would like to offer my Just Jane 1813 readers a chance to win an ebook of “A Remedy Against Sin.” Please leave a comment on this blog by midnight ET on August 6th. The winner of the ebook will be announced on this blog on August 7, 2016.
Thank you to Ms. Morland for writing such a tender and beautiful love story. I certainly look forward to reading more JAFF stories from you!
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