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After her father's tragic demise, Elizabeth Bennet must find a position to support herself and her family. Miss Georgiana Darcy, it so happens, requires a companion and the normally quiescent girl stubbornly decides that none but Miss Bennet will do despite her brother's strong objections. As Miss Darcy begins to blossom under Elizabeth’s guidance, Mr. Darcy finds that he, too, is drawn to this fascinating and impertinent young woman. As their own relationship deepens Darcy wonders what charming abuse the forthright Miss Bennet will heap on his head next and confused about why, far from insulting him, he finds her uniformly delightful.
But Darcy feels honor-bound to his cousin Anne, and he is not the only one captivated by Elizabeth's charms. Soon, an acquaintance from the past reappears in Georgiana's life, and a foolish mistake might cost her everything. As Darcy and Elizabeth work together to rescue Georgiana, both struggle with the oppressive demands of their class and family duty as they risk losing each other forever.
"Miss Darcy's Companion" is the second stand-alone novel in the Pemberley Departures series. The novel is inspired by the author’s love for the works of Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer. With an authentic Regency style, sparkling, laugh-out-loud dialogue, and an original storyline that still adheres closely to canon, this "Pride and Prejudice" fan fiction variation is certain to delight those who enjoy British Classics and Regency Historical Romance.
Will Georgiana’s relationship with Elizabeth lead Darcy to recognize with his own feelings for her newest companion?
I received an eARC of this story from the author for a fair and honest review.
Miss Darcy’s Companion is the second standalone book in Sophia Meredith’s Pemberley Departures Series, therefore this review doesn’t contain any spoilers for readers who haven’t read her first book in this series, On Oakham Mount.
This story opens up earlier than canon and takes the familiar governess and master storyline and aims to create it’s own unique story by combining Jane Austen’s characters and Georgette Heyer’s Regency-era style language. The result is a delightful Pride and Prejudice variation that’s filled with humor, plenty of verbal swordplay between Darcy and Elizabeth, and a storyline that manages to be unique and endearing in its execution.
Following the unfortunate passing of Mr. Bennet, the Bennet ladies find themselves in reduced circumstances and this event propels Elizabeth into service, thus driving the main storyline far from canon. Yet, in keeping with certain aspects of Austen’s story, Ms. Meredith keeps her characterizations close to canon and creates amusing new situations for them. From the beginning of the story, Lady Catherine attempts to introduce Elizabeth to Darcy, when she recommends Ms. Bennet as a lady’s companion for Georgiana. As the fiercely independent man that we love, Darcy does not immediately act upon his aunt’s suggestion and eventually he meets Elizabeth through another connection to the Bennet family.
Once Elizabeth becomes Georgiana’s governess, thanks to some artful persuasion from Georgiana, Darcy and Elizabeth find themselves frequently in one another’s company. Both of them are fully aware from the very beginning that a relationship between them is impossible due to Elizabeth’s reduced station, lack of fortune, and her lack of connections. Yet, as they spend a substantial amount of time together, their mutual attraction and respect for one another grow into something they both are slow to recognize. Can it be that they feel something more than mere friendship?
I loved the way Ms. Meredith found a new way to connect Darcy and Elizabeth through their love of books from the beginning of this story and then had their shared passion serve as a connection for them even further into the story. Their relationship and their feelings are built in a gradual and realistic manner, as they spend more and more time together, mainly in Georgiana company, recognizing one another’s finer qualities. When they do come to spend some considerable time apart from each other, they come to recognize the nature of the complex relationship that is growing between them.
The banter between them carries a wonderful amount of humor and a good deal of rapier wit, which makes the dialogues between Elizabeth and Darcy resemble the archness delivered in parts of Austen’s own story, but also with a strong influence of Georgette Heyer’s own writing style. The overall construction of the language in this story is simply splendid! I found myself rereading several passages just to savor the beauty of the language again and again.
The relationship developed between Elizabeth and Georgiana is also well done, as Georgiana matures and develops more grace, confidence, and skills as a gentlewoman under Elizabeth’s constant tutelage. I loved that Georgiana had a bit of cheek in her character from the start of the story, since it added additional interest to her character and helped to propel the story forward. As a close observer of their relationship, Darcy starts to see Elizabeth as the woman who could turn Pemberly into the warm and inviting home that he desires for his future, yet his conflicting thoughts about duty and privilege cause his emotions to play havoc with his heart’s desires.
The characters we love to hate are also present in this story, with Caroline Bingley displaying the sharpest claws towards Elizabeth. George Wickham also plays a role in the story, but his storyline thankfully doesn’t take over the story. I also found great amusement in the storyline with Mary, Charlotte, and Mr. Collins, as it offered a new twist on their “situation.” There’s even a male guest appearance that inserts some additional playful humor into the story. Overall, this story is a delightful balance of Jane Austen, Georgette Heyer, and Sophia Meredith, artfully blended into one lovely Pride and Prejudice variation! My only quibble about this story is that the pacing felt a bit uneven, as the last few chapters moved at a slower pace for me than the rest of the story.
Please note there’s an excerpt from Ms. Meredith’s next book at the end of this book, which is titled Plate & Party, a Modern Pride and Prejudice, as well as an excerpt from Victoria Kincaid’s Chaos Comes to Longbourn.
Sophia Meredith is offering an ebook of “Miss Darcy’s Companion” to one Just Jane 1813 reader. Please leave a comment on this post by November 3rd. The winner will be announced on this blog on November 4, 2016.
I’d like to thank Sophia Meredith for writing such a beautifully crafted story and for her generous giveaway for my readers. I certainly will keep my eyes open for her next JAFF story, Plate & Party!
You can connect with Ms. Meredith at her website at: http://sophiameredith.com/