Will the secrets between Hunsford and Rosings Park conspire to keep Darcy and Elizabeth apart for the rest of their lives?
Rating : 4 stars out of 5
Source: I received an ARC from the author for a fair and honest review of this book.
When I saw that Jennifer Joy was in the process of publishing her fifth novel, I was looking forward to reading this book based on all of the positive feedback her other books have received from other readers. After reading “Accusing Elizabeth,” I can say that once again, I am glad to add another talented JAFF author to my collection of go-to reads.
“Accusing Elizabeth” is a sweet, and clever mystery filled with a good amount of suspense, which is written at a steady pace, and that mainly sticks to the events and the characters from Austen’s own text. The story opens up in the midst of the infamous Hunsford proposal scene between Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet. Yet, instead of leaving Kent, Darcy agrees to extend his visit after Colonel Fitzwilliam seeks him out and requests this favor.
Meanwhile, Darcy has written a letter to Elizabeth in an attempt to defend his actions to her, but unlike in canon, he decides against immediately delivering her the letter, preferring to find a time that he deems as more suitable for the exchange of this information. As Darcy attempts to use his additional time in Kent to revise Elizabeth’s opinion of him, Elizabeth experiences conflicting emotions of her own towards Darcy. Knowing that she finds parts of him rather attractive and desirable as a possible suitor, she spends time trying to sort out what is truly happening between them. Why does this man have to affect her in such a way and what can he mean by making that insulting proposal of marriage to her?
Events quickly take a mysterious turn at Rosings, when Anne de Bourgh’s diamond earrings go missing after being seen earlier by Elizabeth, Maria Lucas, Anne, Mrs. Jenkinson and Anne’s own maid. Always one to jump to conclusions and attempt to mold them to fit her needs, Lady Catherine vows to uncover the thief and bring him/her to justice, while at the same time directing her suspicions towards Elizabeth and Maria. She also looks upon this time as the perfect chance to find numerous opportunities to convince Darcy to honor his “duty” and finally marry Anne. Has Darcy’s aunt hidden the earrings in an effort to make these overbearing demands to him? Now that both Darcy and Elizabeth find themselves in these unnerving situations, Darcy is even more resolved to find the thief and exonerate Elizabeth from any wrongdoing.
As circumstances continue to unravel, and a strange man takes up temporary residence at a local inn, it becomes clear that Elizabeth and Maria aren’t the only guests that had access and an even greater motive to steal Anne’s earrings. Yet, why would any of these possible suspects truly risk their reputations, as well as their freedom in the name of acquiring these jewels? Once Darcy realizes who may truly have the strongest motive for stealing these earrings, is he willing to investigate this mystery to its final conclusion?
At the same time that everyone is attempting to locate Anne’s earrings, readers can imagine how Mr. Collins relishes the opportunity to put his cousin Elizabeth, and her belongings, under a most critical and intimate inspection, using his very own “fine-toothed comb” methods as the search at Hunsford is handled under his authority. Then, to add insult to injury, Maria Lucas makes a careless error, which also places her under several suspecting eyes. We also can’t forget that there’s poor Charlotte to consider, as she’s terribly affected by this whole mess! Not only does she have our sympathies because she’s married to Mr. Colins, but now her sister and friend may bring unspeakable shame and irreversible consequences to her life. What a disaster to behold!
Overall, the storyline takes place within a relatively short period of time and stays centered around this time in Kent, without the addition of many new characters. I believe that Ms. Joy’s characterizations of Austen’s characters will feel very true to canon for her readers. I especially enjoyed that she created Lady Catherine to be the same domineering and greedy person that Austen created without turning her into a truly mad and sinister character. Ms. Joy ties her story together with lively, playful dialogue exchanges between her characters, humorous scenes, including one that allows us to see the staid and proper Mr. Darcy during what may be his dirtiest moments ever, while inserting plenty of suspenseful points in the text that encourage us to play detective alongside her characters.
I would have liked to have read more romantic interactions between Darcy and Elizabeth and to explore more of their newly developed connections with each other. At certain points in the text, I felt the information inserted into the story to fill in the background information surrounding the events and characters from “Pride and Prejudice” was unnecessary, especially for a reader who would choose to read this type of a book. However, these are minor criticisms that did not interfere with my overall enjoyment of this story.
The way Ms. Joy wraps up her ending is done in quite a sparkling manner! Not only does everyone come to terms with the events surrounding this mystery, our characters are brought together in a way that allows their actions to demonstrate their love and goodwill towards each other. All things considered, this book is another light and shiny gem amongst the many JAFF jewels published in this treasured genre.
Jennifer Joy has a very generous giveaway offer for Just Jane 1813 readers, as she is offering four readers the opportunity to win a copy of this ebook. Please leave a comment on this post by midnight ET on February 5. All four winners will be announced on this blog on February 6, 2016.
I want to thank Jennifer for her very generous giveaway offer for my Just Jane 1813 readers. It’s been a pleasure for me to have the opportunity to read my first JAFF book by Ms. Joy and to be able to share this mystery with my readers. I also want to thank her for stringing together a JAFF mystery that will keep readers intrigued as they unravel the mystery surrounding the de Bourgh family jewels.
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