Will chaos reign when one ill-fated betrothal leads to series of unfortunate alliances throughout Meryton?
Rating : 5 stars out of 5
Source: I received a copy of this book from the author for a fair and honest review.
Jane Austen certainly had a well-developed sense of humor! Whether we stop to consider Mr. Collins’ hideous marriage proposal or enjoy the snarky intent behind one of Elizabeth Bennet’s responses to Caroline Bingley, we are reminded of Austen’s infamous wit and humor. Yet, I don’t think even she could have imagined the comedy of errors that could occur between the guests and residents of Meryton as they unfold in Victoria Kincaid’s newest story,”Chaos Comes to Longbourn!”
What begins as a well-known scene at the Netherfield ball with Mr. Darcy eyeing Elizabeth as a prospective dance partner, while he simultaneously frets over the fact that the greatest obstacle in his present situation lies his attraction to the unsuitable Elizabeth Bennet, quickly turns into a much worse situation than the master of Pemberley ever imagined for himself when he is unjustly accused of compromising Lydia Bennet in the Netherfield library. As a man with a well-developed sense of honor, he soon finds himself engaged to marry the silliest girl in all of Meryton; the dense and immature Lydia Bennet. How can the stodgy and “old” Mr. Darcy ever find happiness married to Elizabeth’s youngest sister?
This story would be entertaining if the calamity of unfortunate pairings ended with Darcy and Lydia, but what would an Austen variation be if other couples weren’t considering marriage for themselves? And consider marriage they certainly do, as they select one ill-suited partner after another! Before the gossips of Meryton even know it, four mismatched couples are headed to the altar, without any hope of cupid turning his arrow in the proper direction.
As she adheres to the proprieties and the sensibilities of the Regency era, Ms. Kincaid has spun a tale that is quite comedic, while she simultaneously manages to balance her story with the serious consequences contained within each couples’ own particular situation. I love that her plot never sags or wanes and that she also manages to develop Darcy and Elizabeth’s own budding relationship in the midst of all of this chaos. The inner musings of each of her characters are so well-written and reflect each character’s growing awareness of his/her own true feelings throughout each situation. I don’t think I could pick one single favorite character from this story, but I certainly enjoyed Darcy and Wickham’s lines as they both came to terms with the idea of living a lifetime married to Lydia Bennet… Need I say more?
Can Darcy make Lydia happy and move Peckerly closer to Longbourn? Will Charlotte be able to resist the charms of a clergyman while she’s engaged to a dashing officer? How will Jane survive attending a ball at Netherfield Park with her own fiancé while Charles is also engaged to marry another? And why is Elizabeth Bennet gaining a sense that Fitzwilliam Darcy may not be such an undesirous man after all? When you finish the last pages of Victoria Kincaid’s latest release, you’ll have all of this chaos under control!
Chaos Comes to Longbourn Book Blurb
While attempting to suppress his own desire to dance with Elizabeth Bennet, Mr. Darcy flees the Netherfield ballroom only to stumble upon a half-dressed Lydia Bennet in the library. After being discovered with her in a compromising position, Darcy is forced to make her an offer of marriage.
Fearing the Bennets will attempt a similar “trick” with their brother, Mr. Bingley’s sisters convince him to leave Hertfordshire without any intention of returning. After Elizabeth refuses Mr. Collins, a heartbroken Jane Bennet accepts his proposal.
Having resolved to propose to Jane, Bingley returns to Longbourn; but when he learns of her betrothal, he makes an offer to Elizabeth instead. She accepts, with the hope that Jane will change her mind if Bingley remains at Netherfield.
Meanwhile, Sir William Lucas is aware that Wickham had actually compromised Lydia in the Netherfield library and blackmails him into proposing to Charlotte Lucas, who is in danger of becoming an old maid.
Hertfordshire has become a tangled web of misbegotten betrothals.
Although Darcy yearns for Elizabeth, he feels honor bound by his promise. Elizabeth is also developing feelings for the master of Pemberley, but he has never seemed so far out of her reach. How can Darcy and Elizabeth unravel this tangle and reach their happily ever after?
From the Desk of the Author, Victoria Kincaid
People often ask me how I get the ideas for my stories and I often have trouble remembering. Usually by the time I put pen to paper (well, fingers to keyboard), a story idea has been knocking around in my head for so long that I cannot recall the exact moment that I had the original spark of inspiration.
Such is not the case with Chaos Comes to Longbourn. I remember the precise inspiration. Last summer I was reading a Facebook post by fellow JAFF author Joana Starnes. She wrote that she had played a game of Marrying Mr. Darcy with some friends which resulted in Mr. Darcy being married to Lydia, Caroline Bingley eloping with Wickham, Charlotte Lucas marrying Denny, and Elizabeth being a spinster. Joana wrote, “If this were a novel, I couldn’t read it!”
I laughed and wrote a response that she should write a novel in which that was the outcome. Joana replied that such was beyond her powers as a storyteller.
That should have been the end of it. However, the exchange got my novel-writing brain going. How could you make such a plot plausible? Of course, I didn’t want Elizabeth to be a spinster, but what if Darcy were engaged to Lydia? They’d get along as well as oil and water. The thought was delicious to contemplate.
But then what would happen to Wickham? And what impact would that engagement have on the other P&P characters? Eventually I had a plot which involved the four couples from P&P all being engaged to the wrong people. It was great fun and very amusing. Of course, then I had to figure out how to get them untangled….
Hopefully readers will think that is fun as well.
An Excerpt from “Chaos Comes to Longbourn”
Darcy turned to the disheveled, red-faced, sobbing fifteen-year-old. “Miss Lydia,” he said through gritted teeth.
“Y-yes?” She granted him a quizzical smile and a hiccup.
“Would you do me the honor of being my wife?” Darcy was proud he did not choke on the words. He did not have the slightest hope the chit would reject him; his fortune was too tempting.
“M-marry you?” Lydia laughed.
Darcy failed to see any humor in the situation. “W-why would I want to marry you?” She giggled, swaying a bit on her feet.
Was the girl touched in the head?
A frowning Mr. Bennet advanced on his daughter and took her arm. “Lydia, you must accept him,” he explained in a low voice. “Your reputation has been compromised.”
“But look at him!” She waved wildly at Darcy. “He’s so stuffy and formal and dull. And he does not even possess a red coat!” A couple of onlookers tittered. Even Mr. Bennet’s lips twitched. However, Elizabeth’s glare did not relent.
Darcy rubbed the back of his neck. This was a farce in every possible way.
“That may be true, my dear,” Mr. Bennet spoke gently to his daughter while staring daggers at Darcy, “but you must accept him anyway.”
“I don’t want to!” Lydia stamped her foot like a child denied a sweet.
“You must.” Mr. Bennet’s voice now held a hint of steel. “You would not wish to experience a decrease in your allowance for hats and gloves.”
Lydia glared at her father. “Papa, that is unfair!” He crossed his arms and regarded her sternly. Finally, she stepped backward and slumped into a chair with a huff. “Very well! Yes, Mr. Darcy, I accept.” Her face arranged itself in a very unattractive pout.
Darcy wondered if there had ever been a less romantic marriage proposal in the history of the world. However, if Lydia possessed that little enthusiasm, perhaps they could reach some sort of agreement which would not leave him leg-shackled. Never before had he been grateful for being considered dull! Of course, he had never before encountered a woman who thought ten thousand a year was dull.
Bingley began to direct guests—all chatting excitedly—toward the library door. Lydia returned to sobbing into her hands. With a scowl at Darcy, Mrs. Bennet swept across the floor to take the chair next to Lydia’s. “It will not be so bad, my dear. Mr. Darcy is very rich.” Standing next to Lydia, Elizabeth colored at her mother’s tactlessness.
Darcy closed his eyes. This could not possibly be happening.
“Rich?” Despite being muffled, Lydia’s tone was definitely interested.
“Yes!” Mrs. Bennet trilled. “You will have many fine dresses and carriages!”
Lydia peeked through her hands. “More than my sisters?”
“I daresay. They are not liable to find wealthier husbands!”
Lydia clapped in excitement. “La!” she squealed. “How droll!” She certainly recovered from her mortification quickly.
Darcy could almost see the hope for an agreement with Lydia slipping further away. Why would the girl accept a fraction of his fortune when she believed she was entitled to all of it?
But there was nothing he could accomplish tonight. Perhaps he could convince Lydia to break off their engagement tomorrow, once she had sobered. Darcy spun on his heel and strode toward the hallway.
He needed a brandy. Or two. Or ten.
Mrs. Bennet’s shrill tones followed him as he hurried away. “I daresay you will like being his wife. Mrs. Darcy! Oh, how well that sounds!”
“Yes, indeed!” Lydia agreed with a giggle.
Lydia might like being Mrs. Darcy, but Darcy could not conceive how he would survive Lydia.
Ms. Kincaid would like to offer Just Jane 1813 readers an opportunity to win an ebook or a paperback copy of “Chaos Come to Longbourn.” The winner can select either version of this story and this giveaway is open to international readers too!
To enter this giveaway, please leave a comment on this blog by midnight ET on July 13th. The winner will be announced on this blog on July 14, 2016. I’d love to hear from my readers your thoughts about this new story and/or your thoughts about another book you’ve loved by Victoria Kincaid.
I’d also like to congratulate Ms. Kincaid as one of the newest authors to join Austen Authors. You can read her debut post on their site, “Why Does Jane Get All the Fan Fiction?
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