When Elizabeth is delayed returning home several months after Darcy’s proposal at Hunsford, how will she manage a way to safely return home to England?
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
“Darcy’s Journey” turned out to be a delicious page-turner that kept me up way too late into the night, as I tried to keep up with all of the dangerous adventures of Darcy and Elizabeth, across picturesque Italian cities and waterways and then all of the way back to the pastoral English landscapes of Jane Austen’s Regency England. I must say, it was quite an escapade!
The adventure opens several months after Darcy’s proposal at Hunsford when Elizabeth Bennet rejected his hand in marriage, along with his hastily composed letter the following day, and Darcy finds himself still harboring amorous feelings for her. When he later gains knowledge that she has traveled to Italy with her recently married friend, Lady Regina Havers, and her new husband, Sir Ambrose Havers, whose younger brother is an acquaintance of Darcy’s from his days at Cambridge, Darcy feels confident that she is safely enjoying her travels in Italy.
Yet, he can’t help but wonder if she received the news from home about Lydia’s patched-up marriage to George Wickham and the role he played in bringing them together. Eventually, he is informed that Mr. Bennet has received a rather cryptic letter from Elizabeth, stating that Sir Ambrose is seriously ill with cholera in Italy and Darcy grows fearful for Elizabeth’s safety. How can he uncover the evidence he requires to believe that she is being properly taken care of in Italy? Before he can even set a clear course of action, he informs Mr. Bennet of his desires to locate information regarding Elizabeth’s whereabouts in Italy. What he doesn’t know is that he’s about to embark on the journey of a lifetime…
Arriving in Venice with Sir Havers’ younger brother, Darcy shocks Elizabeth with his appearance in Italy, leaving her to imagine all kinds of reasons for his trip across the continent. Has Darcy decided to savor the pleasures of Italy’s cultural beauties? Did he travel here to support his friend during a difficult time? Has he crossed hundreds of miles to be assured of her safety in Venice? Now that he has informed her of Lydia and Wickham’s marriage, he can’t be here to resume his pursuit of her, could he?
After they reestablish their acquaintance, Darcy decides that there’s no reason for him to worry about her in Italy; however, he can’t shake an uncomfortable feeling he has when he’s in the presence of Elizabeth with Regina’s brother, Gabriele, an egotistical Italian artist. Once Elizabeth is taken along on a “cultural visit” with Gabriele and Regina, he finds himself trailing behind them to assess the situation. It’s only a matter of time before he must decide how to pursue this situation…
Along their travels, Darcy and Elizabeth confront the substantial physical and emotional barriers between them, which left me hanging on the edge of my seat the entire story. I loved the twists and turns that they encountered along the way, I loved the way the Italian landscapes were part of this story, as well as the riveting historical events that shaped their story throughout their journey. As Europe is in disarray, waiting for Napoleon’s next moves, citizens far and wide are attempting to keep themselves and their loved ones safe from harm. But, with the news and post traveling across the continent at inconsistent rates, how can anyone be certain where the next battle will take place and who will be personally involved in this terrible war?
The emotional journey taken by Darcy and Elizabeth is equally compelling. There’s plenty of angst in this area as well since neither is willing to give up what he/she truly desires from this journey. Misunderstandings and arguments become lively and carry that same wonderful bantering nature I love in a “Pride and Prejudice” variation. The humorous parts are equally well done, including one of my favorite scenes when they both dress in disguise, attempting to remain anonymous in large crowds. They are very much to me here the Darcy and Elizabeth that I have come to know and love.
You’re probably asking why I haven’t given this story 5 stars, and this is something I thought about frequently since I’ve finished this story. The story had everything I love in a “Pride and Prejudice” variation, except for one essential ingredient; I found it lacking in the romance department. When I say that here, what I mean to say is that for all of the gallant behavior present in this story, I kept waiting for those sparks of chemistry to ignite between Darcy and Elizabeth, especially given that there were plenty of places in the story to light that fire between them, and except for one brief moment, I felt the story needed more romantic moments between them.
Would this lack of romance stop me from rereading this story? No, it’s a wonderful adventure and it takes us through events and places that I haven’t been to during any other “Pride and Prejudice” variation. The supporting characters are also very well done and they certainly leave a lasting impression on Darcy and Elizabeth for the rest of their lives. The epilogue was also a memorable glimpse into their lives, taking us several years after their return to England, where we come to see how this journey still affects both of them. I venture to say that once you pick this book up, the hardest part will be having to put it aside before you’re finished with it.
I would like to offer my Just Jane 1813 readers the opportunity to win an ebook of “Darcy’s Journey.” Please leave a comment on this post by midnight ET on April 30, 2016. The winner will be announced on this blog on May 1, 2016.
The places throughout this story felt so beautiful through their descriptions, that I created a Pinterest board that was inspired by the events, the characters, and the places from this story. Wherever possible, I have attempted to include historically accurate images.
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