Will their own families drive a wedge between Darcy and Elizabeth as they try to create a family of their own?
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
Source: I received an ARC of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
“Dearest, Loveliest Elizabeth” is a “Pride and Prejudice” sequel where the characters and events resemble canon in a lot of its tone and style. As the story unfolds, we learn that the Bennet family is visiting the Darcy family, as Elizabeth is planning her first dinner party as the Mistress of Pemberley. Naturally, Mrs. Bennet has schemes to see her remaining daughters get married, while all peace is soon disrupted by the arrival of an uninvited guest at Pemberley. Soon, sparks are flying and bitter words are exchanged, leaving Darcy and Elizabeth at odds with one another. Can there ever be cordial relations between all of these parties?
From here, we learn about how life has been unfolding for the main and supporting characters from “Pride and Prejudice.” Lydia and Wickham are as shallow and as self-centered as ever. Jane and Bingley are kind and good-natured to all, which means they also find themselves frequently in the company of Mrs. Bennet and the Wickhams. Therefore, they have come to Pemberley not only seeking to visit the Darcys but also seeking Darcy’s help in locating a suitable estate for themselves in Derbyshire.
However, plans change once again with the unexpected arrival of Aunt Catherine. We soon learn that she has come to Pemberley with the hopes of stirring up trouble between Darcy and Elizabeth. Will her schemes come to fruition, as she sets her plans in motion to humiliate Elizabeth and make Darcy regret his marriage to Elizabeth?
Never one to be easily placated, Elizabeth finds herself frustrated by her husband’s blatant hypocrisy. How can he accept his aunt’s condescending behaviors towards Elizabeth, yet scrutinize her own family for their behaviors? Does Darcy truly believe that Aunt Catherine’s social status allows her the right to act in such a way?
Georgiana also receives her own storyline here, as she finds herself developing romantic feelings for a new Darcy family “friend.” As this new friend is able to spend more and more time at Pemberley, Georgiana finds herself attracted to this charming man. Frustrated by Darcy’s skepticism, as well as his reluctance to approve of this match, Georgiana finds herself acting out of character in her attempt to find true love. Torn between her husband and her new sister, Elizabeth tries to carefully navigate the situation so that both parties remain open to her advice. However, she can’t predict how desperate events will turn out, and she finds herself the victim within a dangerous game of cat and mouse.
The plot moved steadily and kept my interest throughout the story. Some parts of the story were predictable, as we know these characters well from “Pride and Prejudice.” Georgiana’s storyline was quite predictable and borrowed many elements from Austen’s own story. However, the story kept its focus and didn’t get sidetracked by unnecessary subplots.
Darcy and Elizabeth are found to be very much in love, yet are still the opinionated and outspoken people we fell in love with in “Pride and Prejudice.” I enjoyed having this glimpse into their married life and found their interactions to be romantic and sweet.
There were several places where events were recapped from “Pride and Prejudice” and I found these recaps to slow down the flow of this story. I believe that most people reading a “Pride and Prejudice” sequel are already familiar with the pertinent plots points and do not require reminders of past events from the original text.
“Dearest, Loveliest Elizabeth,” is an enjoyable “Pride and Prejudice” sequel that is romantic and engaging, with a plot that is steady, yet somewhat predictable throughout most of the book.
P.O. Dixon has offered our Just Jane 1813 readers an opportunity to enter a giveaway for an ebook copy of “Dearest, Loveliest Elizabeth”. To enter this giveaway, please leave a comment on this post. All comments should be submitted by January 12th. The giveaway winner will be announced on this blog on January 13, 2016.
I want to thank P.O. Dixon for writing a “Pride and Prejudice” sequel that allowed us to witness these family dynamics within a sequel that JAFF readers will find enjoyable and engaging. I also want to thank her for her wonderful giveaway for my Just Jane 1813 readers!