“All families have their secrets, most people would never know them, but they know there are spaces, gaps where the answers should be, where someone should have sat, where someone used to be. A name that is never uttered, or uttered just once and never again. We all have our secrets.”
Cecelia Ahern, The Book of Tomorrow
How will the discovery of a 200 year-old journal alter the present-day lives of Darcy and Elizabeth’s descendants?
Rating: 5 stars out of 5
Source: I received an ARC of this book from Meryton Press for a fair and honest review.
A year after the publication of her first JAFF book, Jenetta James is back with her second release, titled “The Elizabeth Papers;” a powerful story that seamlessly transports readers between two distinct time periods, as readers become privy to the haunting personal recollections from Elizabeth Darcy’s own personal journal, harking back approximately 200 years ago. Between these pages, she describes in her raw and unguarded stream-of-conscious entries, an unfortunate turn of events that took place during Elizabeth and Darcy’s marriage, which could have terrible, unintended consequences to the present-day benefactors of the Darcy Trust.
Told from multiple perspectives, each chapter in “The Elizabeth Papers” alternates between the 19th century and modern-day England; readers shift from reading the private personal documents of Fitzwilliam and Elizabeth Darcy, and then back to modern-day London, where Charlie Haywood, an ambitious private investigator has agreed to help Cressida Carter determine the validity of a family trust that was set up nearly 200 years ago by her great-great-great-great-great-grandfather, Fitzwilliam Darcy. Ms. Carter believes that the whispers shared amongst her ancestors provide her with the evidence she needs to pursue the paternity of two of the beneficiaries of the trust; if she can prove these claims, the trust will be redistributed in her favor.
How does one pursue a 200-year-old rumor when the only way to unearth the truth may be ensconced within the very grounds of Pemberley itself? This question becomes the focus of Charlie’s work, which quickly leads him to investigate Cressida’s distant cousin, Evie Pemberton; a beautiful, young artist whose legitimate connections to the Darcy family and its trust fund, has come under recent scrutiny. As Mr. Haywood delves deeper into Evie’s current life, he grows more uncertain about how to proceed with his investigation. What heartrending affair could have unfolded within the Darcy family all of those years ago to cause their descendants to question the paternity of Victoria Darcy, the fourth daughter of Fitzwilliam and Elizabeth Darcy?
Ms. James’ latest story is as absorbing as her first book; Mrs. Darcy’s private journal, which is affectionately referred to as the Elizabeth papers, is written in the same crisply-honed first-person narrative that she employed in “Suddenly Mrs. Darcy.” As readers become immersed in the memories meticulously captured in Elizabeth Darcy’s own hand, they become intimate with the inner-workings of Elizabeth’s psychological struggles as she begins to falter under the expectations placed upon her as the mistress of Pemberley; first as a mother awaiting the birth of her third child, and then finally, as a more established mother who must decide if she can successfully navigate herself between the shadows lurking in her life.
By the time the journal is completed, readers will have traveled through some pretty rough terrain with the Darcys. Wealth and status can only secure so much in our lives; what is left to nature and fate must be endured regardless of our stations. This universal truth brings to life the very essence of how as human beings we are all connected by the power our hopes and fears.
The modern-day story involving Charlie and Evie has a dual purpose in this book; first, it serves to provide the impetuous for Charlie and Evie’s decision to search for Elizabeth’s journal, which allows readers to uncover the truth about Victoria’s heritage alongside them, and then eventually Charlie and Evie’s relationship transforms into its own significant storyline. Between the chapters that take us back to 19th century England, is a tender and romantic story that alternates between Charlie and Evie’s points of view. The inclusion of these multiple perspectives brings readers a story that feels up close and personal, while at the same time offering readers the opportunity to feel deeply invested with each character throughout this journey.
I believe that this second book by Jenetta James displays her talents for not only writing JAFF stories that are poignant, stirring and beautifully crafted, this latest story also demonstrates her ability to bring a fresh and compelling angle to a JAFF story and turn it into a mesmerizing page-turner that readers will be unable to set down until reading the very final pages. This book will certainly be a contender for a spot on my list of 2016 Just Jane 1813 Reviewer’s Favorites, which will be announced in December 2016. Until then, I must consider which category on this list would truly do this book the justice it deserves!
Dear readers, we would love to read your thoughts about this story! Have you read it yet? If so, what did you think of this story within a story? If you haven’t read it yet, do you have it on your TBR list? Please share with us your plans for reading this story. Don’t forget to also check out the brilliant blog tour that Meryton Press and Jakki Leatherberry have created for this book. I have loved every post so far and this tour also has a contest and several giveaways too!
From the Pages of “The Elizabeth Papers:”
“It is settled between us already, that we are to be the happiest couple in the world,” said Elizabeth Bennet at the conclusion of “Pride & Prejudice”—but was it true?
Charlie Haywood is a London-based private investigator who has made his own fortune—on his own terms. Charming, cynical, and promiscuous, he never expected to be attracted to Evie Pemberton, an independent-minded artist living with the aftermath of tragedy. But when he is hired to investigate her claims to a one hundred and fifty year old trust belonging to the eminent Darcy family, he is captivated.
Together they become entwined in a Regency tale of love, loss, and mystery tracing back to the grand estate of Pemberley, home to Evie’s nineteenth-century ancestors, Fitzwilliam and Elizabeth Darcy. As if traveling back in time, a story unfolds within their story. All was not as it seemed in the private lives of Mr. and Mrs. Darcy, but how can they ever uncover the whole truth?
How could they know that in 1817 Elizabeth Darcy began a secret journal? What started as an account of a blissful life came to reflect a growing unease. Was the Darcy marriage perfect or was there betrayal and deception at its heart?
Can Evie and Charlie unearth the truth in the letters of Fitzwilliam Darcy or within the walls of present-day Pemberley? What are the elusive Elizabeth papers and why did Elizabeth herself want them destroyed?
“The Elizabeth Papers” is a tale of romance and intrigue, spanning the Regency and modern eras, reminding us how the passions of the past may inspire those in the present.
Jenetta James is a mother, lawyer, writer, and taker-on of too much. She grew up in Cambridge and read history at Oxford University where she was a scholar and president of the Oxford University History Society. After graduating, she took to the law and now practises full-time as a barrister. Over the years, she has lived in France, Hungary, and Trinidad as well as her native England. Jenetta currently lives in London with her husband and children where she enjoys reading, laughing and playing with Lego. She is the author of “Suddenly Mrs. Darcy” which was published by Meryton Press in April 2015. “The Elizabeth Papers” is her second novel.
Connect with Jenetta at the following places: