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England is overrun by dragons of all shapes and sizes. Most people are blissfully unaware of them and the Pendragon Treaty that keeps the peace between human and dragon kind. Only those born with preternatural hearing, like Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet are able to hear and converse with dragonkind.
When the first firedrake egg laid in a century is stolen from Pemberley, the fragile dragon peace teeters on collapse. Darcy has no choice but to chase down the thief, a journey that leads him to quaint market town of Meryton and fellow Dragon Keeper, Elizabeth Bennet.
Elizabeth shares a unique bond with dragons, stronger than anything Darcy has ever experienced.
More than that, her vast experience and knowledge of dragon lore may be the key to uncovering the lost egg. But Elizabeth can’t stand Darcy’s arrogance and doesn’t trust him to care properly for a precious baby firedrake. After all, he already lost the egg once. What’s to prevent it from happening again?
Can he win her trust and recover the stolen egg before it hatches and sends England spiraling back into the Dark Ages of Dragon War?
One of the reasons I love JAFF so much is that my interest in spending time with Darcy and Elizabeth has compelled me to read books in genres that I would not have been very likely to read. I am not typically a reader of fantasy books, but when I saw that Maria Grace had made the decision to write a fantasy JAFF story centered around a mystical world that threw Darcy and Elizabeth into the path of dragons, as well as each other, I was curious to see how this fantasy story would unfold.
In “Mr. Darcy’s Dragon,” Mrs. Grace has created a captivating and amusing imaginary world where dragons and the humans who can hear them, co-exist and interact with each other in order to uphold the traditions and expectations of their blended society. This story unfolds in a timeline similar to Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice,” where readers learn that the Bennet’s are considered important dragon keepers in their community, one where Mr. Bennet, Elizabeth, and Mary share a gift for hearing dragons and a penchant for caring for them. Longbourn is the dragon that they tend and defer to, as he seeks to uphold the duties bestowed upon him through the rules and duties of dragon lore. One of his expectations is that Miss Elizabeth Bennet will marry the heir to Longbourn, her cousin, who still remains an unknown suitor, Mr. William Collins. As much as Mr. Bennet would like to allow Elizabeth to choose a mate of her own choice, he is unable to allow Jane marry Mr. Collins because Jane doesn’t hear dragons. Resigned to her fate, Elizabeth, and her family await her cousin’s arrival to determine whether or not the heir to Longbourn can indeed hear dragons.
As the Gardiners are visiting and assisting the Bennets in the care of their dragons, two gentlemen arrive in Hertfordshire with news that unsettles Mr. Bennet and Elizabeth; Fitzwilliam Darcy, the dragon keeper of Pemberley, has arrived in Meryton seeking their assistance with a matter of great importance. They must help him find the dragon egg that has gone missing while it has been under his care at Pemberley without bringing undue attention to their pursuit. Yet, once they meet the young master and become better acquainted with his manners, it becomes clear that this will not be an easy task. Can two headstrong and obstinate dragon keepers, such as Darcy and Elizabeth, work together for the mutual benefit of the dragons in their care?
Maria Grace did a wonderful job spinning a tale that’s enjoyable for Austen lovers who do and who don’t typically delve into the fantasy genre because she does a great job balancing the dragon world she has created alongside Austen’s characters. Naturally, the dragons love Elizabeth, as she is all that is charming, kind, and gracious to them. When it comes to Fitzwilliam Darcy… well, not so much! His haughty mannerisms and controlling ways do not endear him to dragons or to people, so he finds himself frustrated with his attempts to locate his missing egg. The fact that he’s even missing his all-important egg is a sore point throughout the whole story. How could a respectable landowner not take prodigious care of the dragon placed within his care? Clearly, there’s plenty for Darcy and Elizabeth to banter and argue about, but it really is in their best interest to find out where his egg is and help her prepare to became the wife of the heir of Longbourn, isn’t it?
I loved the smallest details that Mrs. Grace included to help bring this world of the landed gentry and dragons together into one clever and engaging story! There are plenty of magical elements to enjoy throughout her story, and they are executed in a way that doesn’t become confusing or allow the plot to become overshadowed by these details. I also loved how she found ways to weave elements of Austen’s story, such as Jane’s visit to Netherfield, into the story, while also having these events serve their own separate purposes for her own story’s plot. This is a story I highly recommend to Austen lovers of all kinds… be it humans or dragons, there’s plenty to relish in this magical tale!
This book is the first book that sets the stage for this trilogy, so readers should be aware that while this book doesn’t end with a cliffhanger, there’s certainly more to come until the entire story is completed.
I’d like to thank Maria Grace for providing me with an eARC of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Though Maria Grace has been writing fiction since she was ten years old, those early efforts happily reside in a file drawer and are unlikely to see the light of day again, for which many are grateful. After penning five file-drawer novels in high school, she took a break from writing to pursue college and earn her doctorate in Educational Psychology. After 16 years of university teaching, she returned to her first love, fiction writing.
She has one husband, two graduate degrees and two black belts, three sons, four undergraduate majors, five nieces, six new novels in the works, attended seven period balls, sewn eight Regency era costumes, shared her life with nine cats through the years and published her 10th book last year.
Maria Grace can be contacted at: author.MariaGrace@gmail.com
Maria Grace has her PhD in Educational Psychology and is a 16 year veteran of the university classroom where she taught courses in human growth and development, learning, test development and counseling. None of which have anything to do with her undergraduate studies in economics/sociology/managerial studies/behavior sciences.
She blogs at Random Bits of Fascination (www.RandomBitsofFascination.com) , mainly about her fascination with Regency-era history and its role in her fiction. Her newest novel, The Trouble to Check Her, was released in March 2016. Both Science Fiction and Fantasy projects are currently in the works. Her books, fiction, and nonfiction, are available at all major online booksellers.
You can follow Maria Grace on Twitter (https://twitter.com/WriteMariaGrace , @writeMariaGrace) and like (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Maria-Grace/142931065811118?ref=hl) or friend her (https://www.facebook.com/AuthorMariaGrace) on Facebook.