on December 6, 2016
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In this “what if?” variation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet find true love in a story that starts off with our dear couple happy and hopeful.
Until, that is, two villains – each for their own reason – launch a plot to separate them.
Darcy is broken-hearted and sure he has lost Elizabeth, but things are not always as they seem. It is up to Darcy’s loyal cousins to unravel the mystery and reunite our dear couple.
As they do, a long-hidden family secret is revealed to explain why Elizabeth is her mother’s least-favoured child.
Familiarity with the original Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen is necessary to comprehend the story and Jane Austen’s characters, but this story itself is NON-CANON. *Please note that this is a novella, not a full-length novel.*
Can we ever truly know the people that we love?
Desperate Hearts is Anna Kate Suton’s debut novella and from the very start of her story she sets Darcy and Elizabeth on a very different path as the two meet and fall in love rather quickly when the wealthy gentleman meets Elizabeth and her family on his visit to Hertfordshire with Charles Bingley. As Charles and Jane prepare to announce their engagement, Darcy makes plans to propose to Elizabeth as well.
However, when he returns to London for a brief visit, events conspire against him and he uncovers some rather disturbing knowledge about Elizabeth Bennet. Heartbroken and filled with self-recrimination, he can’t find it in his heart to learn more about her, dare he fall into greater despair.
Something doesn’t feel right though, and Colonel Fitzwilliam seeks to assist his cousin in any way that he can to resolve his dilemma. Determined to believe the best about Elizabeth, even in the face of such damaging evidence, the Colonel begins to unravel the mysterious identity of Elizabeth Bennet, the gently bred lady of Longbourn from Hertfordshire. What is eventually uncovered will change Elizabeth’s life in more ways than one. Can Darcy and Elizabeth still plan for a future together after the treatment they have received by his family and friends?
This is a rather quick read at under 150 pages and the ensuing twists and turns within the plot make it a story easily worth sticking with from beginning to end. The writing style is simple and engaging; Ms. Suton captures the era throughout most of the story without sacrificing the pacing or the plot of her story. The resolution is handled in a manner that is pretty unique in JAFF and for readers looking for something new in this subgenre, this story is worth their time.
Yet, for readers who enjoy stories where Darcy and Elizabeth spend a lot of time together, this is not a story where you will find them spending much time together. The mystery around Elizabeth Bennet is the focus of the plot, which makes the story more action-driven than character-driven. I also had to allow myself to believe that Darcy wouldn’t be domineering in his pursuit of information, which became difficult at times because I believe he is typically a man of action, who would take matters related to the mystery in this story more into his own hands.
Readers who are looking for a brief, low-angst novella with an original premise centered on the actions of some manipulative and scheming characters will enjoy time spent with this story. Congratulations, Anna Kate Sutton, on the release of your first book!
I’d like to thank Ms. Suton for providing me with an eARC of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Meet Anna Kate Suton:
In a previous life I was a computer instructor, and wrote training manuals and courseware. This story is my first venture into fiction – much less JAFF. Originally from New York, my East European husband of more than twenty-one years and I relocated in 2005 to South Carolina, where we share our home with several rescue cats and a rescue akita. I love gardening and cooking, especially with our own homegrown vegetables, and have followed a vegan diet for most of my life. I love to read, and I also love tea, especially Darjeelings and Taiwan oolongs. My favourite Jane Austen story is Northanger Abbey, and I have to admit that as much as I love Pride and Prejudice, Elizabeth Bennet is one of my least favourite Austen Heroines.
Ms. Suton shares her inspiration for this story below:
One sleepless night I found myself pondering why Elizabeth was Mrs. Bennet’s least-favoured daughter. It’s easy to attribute it simply to her being her father’s favourite, but I was sure there had to be more to it. Finally, I hit upon the reason, and began to build a story around that reason. Desperate Hearts is the result.
Ms. Suton is offering an ebook of Desperate Hearts to one Just Jane 1813 reader. To enter this giveaway, please leave a comment on this blog post no later than midnight, ET on February 19th. The winner will be announced don this blog on February 20, 2017.
Thank you, Ms. Suton, for sharing your debut novella and your generous giveaway with my readers!
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