Will the secrets surrounding Darcy and Elizabeth’s relationship lead them to obstacles that they can’t overcome?
Rating: 5 stars our of 5
When I finished this book last spring, I remember berating myself for taking so long to read this book because this was another “Pride and Prejudice” variation that I just couldn’t put down!
Over Ms. Kincaid’s last three variations, I’ve become a fan of her ability to draw me into new and often humorous situations between Darcy and Elizabeth. Being someone who also has a visit to Paris high on her own bucket list, this book’s setting was an additional treat for me. (Feel free to check out my Pinterest board for more inspiring images of Paris.)
The book opens up as Darcy is facing the consequences of his disastrous marriage proposal in Kent, which is a great place for this variation to begin because once Elizabeth knows what Darcy is about and Darcy knows what Elizabeth is about, there can’t be any more secrets surrounding them. Or can there be?
Well, that’s where the story really became such fun to read. No sooner is Darcy wallowing in his grief, when he finds himself agreeing to go to Paris with Colonel Fitzwilliam, in an attempt to forget that impertinent country Miss from Hertfordshire. Since Paris has been recently deemed a safe place to visit due to a recent peace agreement, the two gentleman travel to with the Colonel’s friends to Paris. No sooner is Darcy settling into “enjoying” himself at a ball, when he finds himself staring into the eyes of the lovely Elizabeth Bennet. Since her visit to the Lake District with the Gardiners has been canceled, Elizabeth is also visiting Paris, with the Gardiners as her chaperones.
So, yes, we now have Darcy and Elizabeth in Paris, oh my! Once the surprise wears off, Darcy turns into the reformed suitor, in an attempt to win Elizabeth’s heart during this second chance. Low and behold, he finds he has some competition for her affections and finds himself as determined as ever to change her opinion of him. The following scene with Colonel Fitzwilliam sets the stage for Darcy’s plan in Paris:
“May I make a suggestion?” Richard asked. “You need to court her.”
“Court her? How?”
Richard shook his head in exasperation. “You are too accustomed to women throwing themselves at you.”
“Miss Bennet does not-”
“Yes, I know she does not. Which is precisely my point. Most men must take at least a few actions to make themselves pleasing to a woman. Take her for walks. Give her compliments. Bring her flowers. Write her poetry.”
“I cannot write poetry!” Darcy exclaimed.
Maybe not, but it would be amusing to see you attempt it!”
Thus, begins a “proper” courtship between Darcy and Elizabeth, with a side of mischief thrown in by Lord Lennox, who is a perfectly eligible suitor with something to offer Elizabeth that Darcy can’t … a title. So, armed with his cousin’s advice and a jealous streak in him aimed at Lennox, Darcy sets his mind to becoming a proper suitor and the manner in which he courts Elizabeth is just heartwarming.
Yet, just when we think her heart has thawed due to Darcy’s attentions towards her, the Treaty is broken, putting an abrupt end to the peace in Paris. Darcy and Elizabeth soon find themselves dealing with the unrest of a nation who is once again at war. Since returning to England is the safest alternative for them, they quickly begin their journey to England. When a terrible illness along the way forces them into a highly unusual situation, can they truly plan to return to their “normal” lives back in England, or will the secrets that are now between them alter their lives forever?
Once they are back in England, Darcy and Elizabeth must contend with their family and friends as they manage their secret. While Darcy’s aunt is busy playing matchmaker to Darcy and Elizabeth is trying to find the right way to broach a difficult subject with her own father, Darcy and Elizabeth find their secrets even more difficult to keep from everyone. Is there a path to happiness for them to travel upon once they settle themselves back into their lives in England?
This is one of those stories I could read quite a few times because the humor and the romance set a fun and easy-going tone between Darcy and Elizabeth. The action-packed scenes also bring a suspenseful, engaging quality to the story, which had me turning those virtual pages at a rapid pace. This is definitely a new spin on our dear couple courtship and the way the war impacted them really brings to mind the realities that many people faced during this time period. I thought it was so clever the way Ms. Kincaid was able to incorporate this period of peace in Paris into such a romantic, gripping and humorous story!
The transitions between some of the scenes are a bit abrupt, but the pace does remain steady and the writing is tight, keeping the reader engaged with the plot throughout the story. The bantering between Darcy and Colonel Fitzwilliam and Darcy and Elizabeth is a real strength in this story. The contrast that is shown through the descriptions in the setting and the characters’ actions, which are written to show the comparisons between Paris during a lovely time of peace and then as a city filled with people thrown brutally into violence and disarray, set the stage for an adventure filled with angst, uncertainty and wild adventures.
Victoria Kincaid has offered our Just Jane 1813 readers an opportunity to enter a giveaway for an ebook of “The Secrets of Darcy and Elizabeth.” To enter this giveaway, please leave a comment below this post. All comments should be submitted by February 20th. The giveaway winner will be announced on this blog on February 21, 2016.
I want to thank Victoria Kincaid for writing such a playful and utterly romantic variation set in Paris. I also want to thank her for her continuous support of this blog, as well as for her generosity with this giveaway offer for our Just Jane 1813 readers!
I also look forward to sharing her latest novella with my readers next week.