How would Mr. Darcy’s chances with Elizabeth fare if he found himself trapped in Mr. Collins’ body after being struck by lightning?
Rating: 5 stars out of 5
I have never met Laura Hile; not once, not ever. But after reading her first “Pride and Prejudice” variation titled, “Darcy By Any Other Name,” I can tell you that I bet she’d be a lot of fun to hang around with because not only was this a gripping read, it had me laughing out loud late into the night. I don’t mean some chuckles sprinkled here and there; I’m talking there were places where I was laughing off the edge of my couch!
I shouldn’t have been surprised; after all, the premise here is particularly humorous. During the Netherfield ball, and a short time after Mr. Collins’ horrid dance with his cousin Elizabeth, he finds himself struck by lightning in the garden alongside the august Mr. Darcy. In an effort to save Darcy’s life, Collins is toppled by the broad-framed gentleman and both are left unconscious for an extended period of time. When they finally come to their senses, they soon realize a body-swap of sorts has taken place, leaving them to reside within each other’s body. Oh, the horrors!!
And yet, the horrors of this bizarre situation are felt most keenly by these two gentlemen since no one else realizes this exchange has taken place between them. So Darcy, who now appears at Longbourn as the absurd and dreaded Mr. Collins, must come to terms with his new situation. As a gentleman formerly extolled for his sophisticated manners, haughty reserve, and discerning mind, he has now been reduced to being seen as a silly and idiotic “man of the cloak”, whose recent behaviors in Meryton have demonstrated that he has frequently acted without regard for the feelings and needs of other people. Yet, Darcy soon learns that his own reputation around Meryton, as well as with the residents of Longbourn isn’t held in much greater esteem than Collins’ reputation… So, if he doesn’t have a chance with Elizabeth as Fitzwilliam Darcy, how can he ever earn her love and respect as the odious Mr. Collins, and is the calculating Mrs. Bennet about to become his greatest ally?
The ladies at Longbourn are a delight to be around! I’ve always wanted a chance to spend some more time at Longbourn with Elizabeth and her sisters; the fact that Darcy is also living there as Mr. Collins is a splendid addition to this situation. To his utter dismay, Darcy soon learns how a man’s wealth and status can actually work against him, which forces him to find other ways to increase the Bennet family’s regard for him. The situation becomes increasingly amusing when the officers pay regular visits to Longbourn and spend time with the Bennet sisters, where Darcy is able to spend significant amounts of time witnessing Elizabeth’s reactions to Mr. Wickham’s presence. Can she truly be falling in love with his nemesis?
Meanwhile, the residents at Netherfield are left to decide the best course of action for dealing with Mr. Darcy’s altered condition. Will he ever regain consciousness again, and if so, will he be a changed man? And then there’s poor Mr. Bingley left to contend with the precarious situation of handling Mr. Darcy’s illustrious family members… What will Lady Catherine do when she learns her dear nephew may be six feet under before her beloved daughter is installed as the next mistress of Pemberley? From the very bewildered servants to a cloying and cunning Caroline Bingley, the scenes at Netherfield are filled with delightful dialogue and plenty of drama! The words teacart and Caroline left me with some of my funniest recollections at Netherfield.
Thoughtful, well-paced and peppered with surprising plot twists, Laura Hile pens a paranormal story that touches upon many of the most important truths that a mere mortal can stumble on; how do our actions and values merge with our own physical appearance in ways that reflect our true selves to other people? The majority of the story takes place within a fortnight and brings to light many of the themes from Austen’s own story, which are told through the development of her characters, the obstacles they strive to overcome and the connections to religious scriptures that she weaves throughout this story with a delicate hand. Mrs. Hile also recommends this as a beach time read, but I just couldn’t wait for the weather in New York to cooperate with this suggestion. I dove into this story right after its release and I am certainly glad that I didn’t wait to for the summertime to read this entertaining and utterly romantic JAFF story!
Laura Hile has brought a generous giveaway to my Just Jane 1813 readers. To enter a chance to win an ebook of “Darcy By Any Other Name,” please leave a comment on this post by midnight ET on May 29. One lucky winner will be announced on this blog on May 30, 2016.
I’d like to thank Laura Hile for her generous giveaway opportunity and for writing a book that made me laugh and swoon throughout her story. She certainly took a chance writing a “Pride and Prejudice” variation using the premise of a body-swap and I’m thrilled she carried it off with such grace and charm!
Laura Hile is also visiting us today in a separate post at Just Jane 1813, where she explains her work as a writer along with what helped her craft such realistic scenes as these two proud men struggle to persevere within each other’s bodies.
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