Published by White Soup Press Buy on Amazon
What if Mr. Darcy decided to inform Elizabeth and Mr. Bennet of Wickham’s heinous character before the Bennet ladies had the opportunity to become enamored with the scoundrel?
Source: I received an eARC of this book from the author for a fair and honest review.
From the very beginning of Leslie Diamond’s newest release, Particular Intentions, I gained a sense that this variation would offer readers a new look into some of our favorite characters, and this turned out to be a highlight of this reading experience for me.
As Charles Bingley decides to lease Netherfield Park, it becomes apparent that he has decided to no longer ignore his sister Caroline’s shenanigans and has made several decisions to curtail her interference in his life, as well as Darcy’s life. Go Charles!
The gentlemen attend the Meryton assembly, where they meet the Bennet ladies and it soon becomes apparent that while Jane has taken an interest in Mr. Bingley, Elizabeth has found his friend, Mr. Darcy, to be a proud and arrogant man. Yet, when the sisters find themselves staying at Netherfield Park after Jane catches a trifling cold, Elizabeth and Darcy begin to reexamine their first impressions of each other; can it be that they both misinterpreted one another’s intentions?
At this point, it became evident that Mrs. Diamond intended to have a little fun with one of Austen’s infamous words and poke a little humor into her story:
“If I may speak plainly, I believe neither of us wish for a forced marriage, Mr. Darcy. I could not live my life resented for circumstances beyond my control. After all, my dreams would also be forfeit in such a situation.”
“But your mother…”
A groan escaped her lips. “My mother may be on a determined pursuit of husbands for her daughters, but how amenable we are to her wishes is another matter. She may push and mortify us to the end of our wits, but Jane and I shall not bow to her demands unless they match the sentiments of our hearts.”
“Brave words in today’s world. If you do not marry, your life would be changed irrevocably upon the passing of your father.”
“Truer words have never been spoken, but my Uncle Gardiner has promised to aid us should that day arrive.”
She bit her lip as she considered the man before her for a moment. “Both of us should find spouses we find more than tolerable, I believe.” (Location 757)
Well done, Leslie!
Once the ladies return to Longbourn, Jane and Elizabeth’s interests in the two gentlemen continue to grow and once their cousin, Mr. Collins, appears at Longbourn to find a bride, they both hope he will set his sights far away from both of them! As Darcy and Elizabeth continue to spend more time in each other’s company, it becomes apparent that their attraction is mutual; but can Fitzwilliam Darcy of Pemberley marry the daughter of a country squire?
Over time, Darcy and Elizabeth confide to one another their feelings towards each other, but when a misunderstanding threatens to put a halt to their future plans, they find themselves at a standstill. After time and space come between the couple, will their misunderstandings ever be resolved to their mutual satisfaction or does Darcy’s family have another lady in mind for him in order to further his uncle’s political connections?
What I enjoyed most about this variation are the significant, yet realistic revisions to some of Austen’s characters that Mrs. Diamond created in her variation. I believe readers will enjoy spending time with a more confident, assertive, and yet, kind-hearted, Charles Bingley. And really, what JAFF reader hasn’t wished that Mr. Bennet would finally attempt to take hold of Lydia’s and Mrs. Bennet’s behaviors and require them to comport themselves with more restraint and discipline? Not that this will be an easy task for him, but watching Mr. Bennet attempt to be a better father always makes me a happy reader!
I had some questions about Elizabeth’s character in this variation. I prefer when she is portrayed as a bit of a stronger person, who doesn’t allow her mother’s negative criticism to get the best of her. Yet, I did enjoy that she wasn’t portrayed as some sort of a superwoman either. Mrs. Diamond explores some possibilities within Elizabeth’s character from canon that also had me reexamining some of my own well-established impressions about her character.
While Darcy and Elizabeth’s relationship is the main focus in this story, I also enjoyed the way Mrs. Diamond created some original paths for some of her other characters, including one that I haven’t seen before in JAFF. The Gardiners also play substantial roles in this story, which I typically enjoy too, since they both serve as trustworthy and respectable “surrogate” parents for Elizabeth. There’s also a unique twist on their ties to a certain character, which I also found to fit well into the story.
Mrs. Diamond’s story also navigates that tender balance between writing a JAFF story filled with romance and one filled with angst. She skillfully includes some lovely moments of romantic tension where Darcy and Elizabeth reveal themselves and share themselves with one another, both emotionally and physically. However, I would have liked to see both of them experience a little more internal angst within themselves and within their relationship in order to cause them to work a little harder to get to the point in their relationship where they came together as a couple.
Throughout the story, Darcy and Elizabeth face a few external obstacles that helped them test the strength of their commitment to each other. These obstacles kept me engaged in the story and helped to develop the storyline; yet, there were a few storylines that I would have liked to have seen receive a little more development in their execution, such as Georgiana’s dealings with Wickham during the aftermath of Ramsgate and the background story of the other couple who are fighting in this book to be together. I would offer more details here, but then that would be a spoiler.
With this said, I recommend that JAFF readers, especially ones who savor a JAFF story with a very sweet and strong Darcy, get themselves a copy of Particular Intentions to enjoy for themselves!
To make finding the book on Goodreads and Amazon easier, you can use the links at the beginning of this review.
Leslie Diamond has brought a very generous giveaway today for my readers. This giveaway is for one lucky Just Jane 1813 reader and the giveaway is open to international winners! Wow, that’s pretty amazing, isn’t it?
Pictured above are the following items for this giveaway:
- One Pink “Novel Journal” (Pride and Prejudice)
- One “Guinea Pig Pride and Prejudice.”
- One 5×7 card with artwork of Royal Crescent.
- One 5×7 card of an Ackermann’s Repository fashion plate.
- One 2.5×3 note card of fashion plates
- One packet of 5 – 3×4 note cards with JA quote and fashion plate
- One 4×6 Austen Variations Postcard with JA quote and fashion plate
- One Earl’s Conquest bookmark
- One Austen Variations bookmark with JA quote
- An ebook of Particular Intentions (not pictured) (All cards are blank on the inside and measured in inches.The Austen Variations bookmark, postcard, and note cards are what were given out at Jane Austen Regency Week and what will be given out at the Brooklyn Book Fair.)
To enter this giveaway, please leave a comment on this blog post by September 2nd. The winner will be announced on this blog on September 3, 2016.
I’d like to thank Leslie L. Diamond for writing a JAFF variation that offers us some new glimpses into our favorite characters and for taking the time to drop by this week for an interview for my readers!