Today I am simply honored to have Sheila Majczan here at Just Jane 1813 as my first guest reviewer. Sheila is here to share with my readers her review for Caitlin Williams’ book, “The Coming Of Age Of Elizabeth Bennet.”
Sheila was the first person to write a review on Amazon for Caitlin’s debut book, “Ardently,” as well as for this book too. I am grateful to her for introducing me to Caitlin’s work and for her continuous support of JAFF and of Just Jane 1813.
Thank you, Sheila, for sharing this review with my readers. I love the details you bring to life here in your review and your reference to “the ugly duckling.” You really captured the essence of this epic story here for us in your review!
Rating: 5 stars out of 5
Source: I received an ARC of this story from the author for a fair and honest review.
Hooray for Caitlin, she’s done it again! This story was so captivating, amusing and in the end, sweetly romantic. Watching “the ugly duckling” change over the course of five years from a skinny tomboy (who frolics with a neighboring farm boy and chops off her hair due to the plans her dear father has arranged for her) to a beautiful, “accomplished” and a captivating woman kept me turning pages. The author sure does a swell job! LOL
Being Mr. Bennet’s favorite does not mean Elizabeth gets everything to go her way. And when Mr. Bennet arranges with an old friend, George Darcy, to take over guardianship of 15-year-old Elizabeth upon his death…well, she is just not going to take that lying down. Why should she? Jane is going to live with the Gardiners and the other sisters are to stay with her mother in Meryton. So Elizabeth bolts in panic. But Fitzwilliam Darcy is not about to let her scamper about the countryside. Eventually, he finds her and then rescues her from a robbery and worse. But in doing so and in attempting to get them back on the road to Pemberley they are observed by…yes, a lady who has been scorned. And I don’t have to tell you how that lady might take the opportunity to wreak her revenge on the man who is responsible. So a word dropped here or there and with gossip columnists having an ear to the ground, Darcy is forced to act with honor.
Darcy finally gets Elizabeth back to Pemberley where his father has returned with Georgiana and her governess. But as the story unfolds Darcy “finds” business to conveniently keep him away, first in Scotland for a year. Then he’s back for a short time due to his father’s death. Subsequently, he is off to the (West) Indies and so asks the Colonel, who is now retired due to an injury, to stay and guard both his sister and Elizabeth. This time, he is gone for years. You can imagine how Elizabeth changes during that amount of time.
There is no correspondence between the two; they barely speak when they are in each other’s presence. Elizabeth does write her family. But she continues to have her moments of rancor towards him: he has refused to allow her to visit her sister in London. She also overhears remarks (again) by Darcy to Richard about her. Then there was this incident before his departure with some handkerchiefs she had embroidered for him.
While he is away Elizabeth does form friendships with the governess, Miss Temple, and with Richard and becomes a dear sister to Georgiana. Meanwhile, Darcy has met and befriended Charles Bingley in the Indies.
It broke my heart to read of the maidservants gossiping about her wardrobe. Darcy had no thought about that and it is not until her mourning clothes are too short that anyone thinks to procure new clothes. Richard makes his own decision to remedy some of this situation but when he allows a visit to Meryton he didn’t expect Wickham to be in the neighborhood.
And then there are all those birthdays to which Darcy pays no attention. Could it get any sadder? You may be surprised…
Darcy invites Charles Bingley and his family to Pemberley. There his relationship to Elizabeth has many an arched eyebrow. He just keeps bumbling in his thoughts and remarks as to her acts & her place in his home. He learns from a maid that Elizabeth is not abed but busy with estate affairs early in the morning. When did she take up the reins of household management?
In this story there are some other happenings with secondary characters: Richard is smitten, Miss Temple tells of her lost love, Charlotte offers advice and Elizabeth solicits Lady Catherine for some help.
Yes, Mr. Darcy was going to place our Elizabeth at Pemberley and she was going to be forgotten basically like an annoying gnat. Funny how all that changed with her “coming of age”.
I want to reread this and soon. I did so enjoy it.
“Good God, Elizabeth, let me into your world, just a little. I know I do not deserve it, I have done you a thousand wrongs, but be generous, please.” Oh, Darcy, what have you done?… sigh.
Caitlin Williams lives in Kent, England, with her family. She fell in love with all things Regency as a teenager, but particularly admires the work of Jane Austen and the way she masterfully combines humour and romance, while weaving them through such wonderful stories and characters.
Pride and Prejudice is Caitlin’s favourite novel and she finds Mr Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet so deliciously entertaining that she likes to borrow them from Ms Austen and enjoys the challenge of putting them in different places and situations.
Her debut novel, Ardently, was written as a hobby, usually with her laptop balanced on the kitchen worktop, typing with one hand, a glass of wine in the other, while she also attempted to cook dinner and keep her children from killing each other. The success of Ardently was as much a surprise to her, as it was to anyone else, and she has been thrilled and genuinely thankful for the positive responses and reviews it generated.
Her second novel, The Coming of Age of Elizabeth Bennet, is a portrait of a much younger Elizabeth, who is thrown into an extraordinary set of circumstances due to the premature death of Mr Bennet, and she hopes you all enjoy it very much. Visit my interview with Caitlin Williams’ for a more in-depth look at her life and work. Her follow-up vignette to “Ardently,” can be found here and is titled, “Even More Ardently.”
Connect with Caitlin at:
This weekend launches the release of the paperback version of “The Coming Of Age Of Elizabeth Bennet,” and Caitlin Williams is eager to offer one Just Jane 1813 reader a paperback copy of this book. This giveaway is also available as an international giveaway!
To enter a chance to win this paperback book, please leave a comment on this blog by midnight, ET, by August 9th. The winner will be announced on this blog on August 10, 2016.
I’d like to thank all of my Just Jane 1813 readers who have read this book, and who supported the blog tour for this story. I also want to thank Sheila for her thoughtful review of this book and Ms. Williams’ for her generous giveaway to my readers. With 110 reviews on Amazon and a 4.6-star average rating, I know this book received a great deal of support and love from readers throughout the JAFF community, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for enjoying this story with us!
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