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Shortly after Elizabeth Bennet refuses Fitzwilliam Darcy’s offer of marriage, he becomes convinced her reproofs were correct and determines to become worthy of her love. His attempt to arrange a “chance” meeting is successful and they cross paths in London.
Soon afterwards, Darcy sails for Virginia to retrieve his newly widowed cousin, who has found herself stranded in a country on the verge of war with her native land. Once there, he suspects her sights are set on him as her next mate. Even worse, his journal—which details his feelings about Elizabeth—is accidentally posted to Elizabeth. Can he return to England, convince her he has taken her opinions to heart, and win her love before she receives it?
The impulsive Elizabeth Bennet is injured while touring a Derbyshire estate with her aunt and uncle, and circumstances find her at the home of Georgiana Darcy while she recuperates. While there, Elizabeth realizes she is in love with Darcy, but will he arrive home and assume the worst about her after finding her living at his estate?
Do time and space afford Darcy and Elizabeth the opportunity to learn the hard lessons necessary to eventually bring them together?
Source: I received an eARC of this book from the author for a fair and honest review.
Last year I had the honor of reviewing Wendy Sotis’ JAFF paranormal story titled, All Hallow’s Eve, where I also shared an excerpt from her work-in-progress, A Lesson Hard Learned. This excerpt made me eager to read Wendi’s next book, and after having the privilege of reading it last week, I am glad to be able to review it and offer a giveaway for it here for my Just Jane 1813 readers.
I love books that begin after Darcy’s proposal at Hunsford, and that’s where Mrs. Sotis’ story begins. Our dear couple now have benefitted from their recent time apart time to reflect upon their actions and feelings. Elizabeth now feels pangs of regret and melancholy tugging at her conscience since reading Darcy’s letter to her, while Darcy is taking measures to improve himself, using Elizabeth’s words at Hunsford as his guide.
However, he is unable to make amends for his officious interference between Charles Bingley and Jane Bennet before he decides to assist his family and travel to America in an effort to retrieve his newly widowed cousin, Lady Bianca. While he’s in London preparing for his journey, he accidently meets Elizabeth and through their brief encounter, he surmises a subtle change in her attitude and feelings towards him. Can he now have hope that he may have a future with her awaiting him when he returns from America?
The story separates its time between Darcy’s travels with Bianca and Elizabeth’s travels to the Peak District with the Gardiners. As Elizabeth visits the Matlock Estate in the Peak District with the Gardiners, she experiences a situation that leaves her immobile. What can she do now that going back to Hertfordshire appears to be out of the question? Will this be an opportunity for her to get to know the mysterious Fitzwilliam Darcy through the eyes of his closest family members and friends?
Across the pond, in the “wilds” of America, Darcy has his hands full with enough action to make any man groan. Not only do his travel plans become rather unpredictable, his cousin displays behaviors that are both shocking and highly unwelcome towards him. He soon learns that not only will it be a challenge to arrive home safely to England, but remaining unattached to Bianca becomes nearly as difficult!
When Darcy and Elizabeth eventually find themselves in each other’s company once again, they ‘ve nearly come full circle in their hearts and minds; and yet, they are still not alone. Surrounded by family and friends, they must find a way to test the waters again to see where they stand in each other’s hearts. Have they both learned enough hard lessons during their time apart to ease their way towards sharing a future together?
Once again, Mrs. Sotis has written a book that’s delightful in its original premise. Throughout the story, she infuses her scenes with some light humor and a good balance of tension between her characters. Her ability to write two interesting parallel stories allowed the book to move at a steady pace as I enjoyed getting to see Darcy and Elizabeth handle their separate trials.I don’t always enjoy stories where Darcy and Elizabeth spend quite a bit of time apart from each other, but both of their storylines were well-written and contained a variety of obstacles for Darcy and Elizabeth to overcome while they were apart. Once they meet again and find themselves spending time together, Mrs. Sotis does a nice job gradually developing their relationship through the subtle and heartfelt actions that reveal the depths of Darcy’s and Elizabeth’s feelings for each another.
I also found the development of Elizabeth and Georgiana’s relationship to serve as another highlight of this story. Their playfulness and willingness to become close friends were an opportunity for Elizabeth to learn more about Darcy and recognize more of his admirable qualities.
Darcy and Bianca’s adventures on land and sea were certainly entertaining, as well as the generous efforts of Darcy’s valet, who was quite the match against Bianca’s numerous schemes! As Bianca’s personality was revealed through her actions during the course of their journey, I saw glimmers of her Aunt Catherine within her personality. Yikes!
I believe fans of Mrs. Sotis’ books will really enjoy her new take on Pride and Prejudice, while I also think this story is a good introduction for readers who are looking to become acquainted with Mrs. Sotis’ work.
Wendi Sotis, who leads Jane Austen’s beloved characters down unfamiliar lanes, graduated from Adelphi University with a degree in psychology. Wendi resides on Long Island, New York, with her husband and triplets. Her husband, Matt, paints the covers for her books.
Check out her Amazon Author Page to connect with her and to view her full collection of published stories.
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Wendi Sotis would like to offer one Just Jane 1813 reader the opportunity to win an ebook of A Lesson Hard Learned. To enter this giveaway, please leave a comment on this post no later than midnight ET on September 11th. The winner of this book will be announced on this blog on September 12, 2016.
I’d like to thank Wendi Sotis for writing a Pride and Prejudice variation that allowed us to explore new journeys with Darcy and Elizabeth and for her generous giveaway for my readers!