Published by Meryton Press
When the truth is revealed about Elizabeth’s first marriage, will it destroy everything she has come to hold so dear to her heart?
The Best Part of Love is a story that I have waited a very long time to review. From an online story posted at A Happy Assembly into a Meryton Press publication, The Best Part of Love has remained for me as one of my all-time favorite JAFF variations. What started out as a thoughtful Twitter message sent to me from a friend, (thank you, Monica) turned into a story that has become a little bit of an obsession for me and I think once readers get their hands on this book, they’ll understand why I feel this passionately about this story too.
Amy D’Orazio’s debut novel puts a unique spin on Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, as her story starts in August 1811, where a young Lady Courtenay, née Bennet, has been told that she may soon resume her “normal” life after being hidden away for the past two years from the people involved in the murder of her husband, Lord Courtenay. When her friends, Lord and Lady Matlock deliver this news, they also share their hopes that she will soon consider marrying again, in an effort to provide her young son, Henry, with “guidance, experience, and the wisdom of generations,” which are seen as “necessary for a young man who will one day help shape the future of England.”
After this difficult discussion with Elizabeth, the Matlocks leave her convinced that they have a secure plan in place for Elizabeth’s future:
“I imagine some sort of title— perhaps only honorary, but a title nevertheless— will be bestowed on the man Elizabeth marries. Gardiner was knighted for his role, and this is far more significant. The gentleman will raise the future Lord Courtenay, and given the circumstances, obeisance to the reigning monarchy will be paramount. What better way to ensure loyalty? Not that the Darcys’ loyalty to the Crown can be faulted in any case.”
“A title would not matter so much to Darcy as would the distinction for the Darcy name. There is no question Elizabeth brings that and more.”
“So, Darcy and Elizabeth…” Lord Matlock smiled at his wife. “It has a very good sound to it, does it not?”
What Lord and Lady Matlock didn’t count into their plans is that when Darcy actually meets Elizabeth in Hertfordshire, where her true identity as Lady Courtenay has been hidden in an effort to keep her and her son, Henry, safe, he insults her and through his actions causes her to believe that he harbors disdain for her very own existence. After their time together in Hertfordshire, it seems highly unlikely that Darcy and Elizabeth could ever be happy together.
When Elizabeth returns to her former life in London, and her identity is revealed to everyone, Darcy receives a tremendous surprise when Elizabeth doesn’t welcome his suit. Disheartened and confused, he eventually sets upon a course to win her heart. Through the actions of a sincere and patient friend, Darcy reveals a new side of himself to Elizabeth. At their springtime visit to Kent, Darcy continues to show Elizabeth the improvements that he has attempted to make to his own character:
“Mr. and Mrs. Collins were pleased with our visit. I must again thank you for thinking of their concerns in this.”
“It is what any feeling person would do.”
“It required quite a bit of consideration and forethought, much more than many would give. Even I, who had spending time with Charlotte as my object, did not consider how she might have been discouraged from approaching me. So, I must persist in my gratitude, sir.”
“I believe that I must thank you as well.”
“You demand of me a better man,” he told her quietly. “I find I rather like the version of myself that meets with your approval.”
As time goes on and Elizabeth is convinced of Darcy’s affections for her, she remains determined that she can only marry Darcy as a friend. From here begins their time together as husband and wife, which evolves into something even greater than both of them ever imagined. As the Darcys settle into their own happily-ever-after, a secret is revealed that could shatter both of their lives. Should they pursue this new information, which could threaten all that they hold dear, or should they leave it consigned to the past? From this point on, the story is filled with tons of suspense and intrigue. Readers will find themselves asking themselves, “Who was Lord Courtenay and what conspiracy has he drawn those closest to him into?”
Mrs. D’Orazio does a wonderful job in all of the areas that make her story come to life. Her writing has that effortless quality, making it feel crisp, clean, and easy to read. I thought that the dialogues in her story were superb and really made me connect with the characters without feeling like I was overburdened with unnecessary details. The gradual manner in which she developed her story arc allowed her to keep me riveted to the story from beginning to end as the numerous hours that I spent reading and rereading this story passed by all too quickly. I just simply adore her writing style!
I also have to say that Mrs. D’Orazio has created one of my favorite supporting characters in her creation of Viscount Saye, Colonel Fitzwilliam’s older brother. Saye is a bit of a snob and a rake, but as Darcy’s older cousin and the heir of Matlock, Darcy finds in him someone who can understand the pressures placed upon him in regards to the duty he has to his family. I loved the exchanges between them and the advice that Saye offers to him, as Darcy closely observes his cousin as he handles his family’s expectations for his future. Saye has a wry sense of humor and he brings some lovely moments of levity to the story.
But JAFF readers don’t get all steamed up over a story only because it’s well-written. In my experiences, they fall in love with a story when it offers them a brand new opportunity to fall hopelessly in love with Darcy and Elizabeth, and in this area, Mrs. D’Orazio’s book is a huge success. I loved the singular storyline that she created for Darcy and Elizabeth, as well as the way that she made their love feel so special and thoroughly meaningful throughout her story. Elizabeth may have a first husband in this story, but Mrs. D’Orazio demonstrates why Darcy and Elizabeth share a love that has lasted throughout these past two centuries. Her exchanges between them are filled with passion and tenderly drawn. She has a lovely way of describing an intimate moment between them, while at the same time, she keeps the most intimate details left to the reader’s imagination.
This is a JAFF story that brings together all of the things that I love the most in JAFF; strong writing, an intriguing plot, and witty and memorable dialogues all centered around a romance that has that slow-burning, melt-your-heart type of love that I associate with Darcy and Elizabeth.
When you’re an avid reader, you find that some stories just seep into your soul and take on a life of their own as they become part of your fondest reading pleasures. For me, Amy D’Orazio’s The Best Part of Love is that kind of story. When I recently had the pleasure to read the version being published by Meryton Press, not only was the story a superb reread, I also experienced all of those same intense feelings that I had experienced the very first time that I read this story. It’s such an emotional read! My greatest hope is that many, many JAFF readers enjoy the same pleasures in reading this newly released story.
This debut novel by Mrs. D’Orazio is certain to be one of the best reading experiences that JAFF readers will have in 2017 and is already an early contender for a Just Jane 1813 Reviewer’s Favorite Award too. I am confident that she is an author we will see writing for the JAFF community for a very long time and I look forward to reading every single story that she writes for us!
Mrs. D’Orazio has created The Best Part of Love Pinterest Board, which I thought you’d love to visit as well.
I would like to thank Meryton Press and Janet Taylor for inviting me to join this blog tour. I have been telling everyone for a long time how much I love this story and it’s a huge honor to be part of sharing it with the world!
I can’t wait to read these posts and enjoy some more time with these beloved characters!
The Best Part of Love Book Description
Avoiding the truth does not change the truth
When Fitzwilliam Darcy meets Miss Elizabeth Bennet he has no idea that she — that indeed, the entire town of Meryton — harbors a secret. Miss Elizabeth, a simple country girl from a humble estate, manages to capture first his fascination and then his heart without him ever knowing the truth of her past.
When she meets Darcy, Elizabeth had spent the two years prior hiding from the men who killed her beloved first husband. Feeling herself destroyed by love, Elizabeth has no intention of loving again, certainly not with the haughty man who could do nothing but offend her in Hertfordshire.
In London, Elizabeth surprises herself by finding in Darcy a friend; even greater is her surprise to find herself gradually coming to love him and even accepting an offer of marriage from him. Newly married, they are just beginning to settle into their happily ever after when a condemned man on his way to the gallows divulges a shattering truth, a secret that contradicts everything Elizabeth thought she knew about the tragic circumstances of her first marriage. Against the advice of everyone who loves her, including Darcy, Elizabeth begins to ask questions. But will what they learn destroy them both?
Amy D’Orazio is a former breast cancer researcher and current stay at home mom who is addicted to Austen and Starbucks in about equal measures. While she adores Mr. Darcy, she is married to Mr. Bingley and their Pemberley is in Pittsburgh PA.
She has two daughters who are devoted to sports which require long practices and began writing her own stories as a way to pass the time she spent sitting in the lobbies of various gyms and studios. She is a firm believer that all stories should have long looks, stolen kisses and happily ever afters. Like her favorite heroine, she dearly loves a laugh and considers herself an excellent walker.
Jan 6th My Jane Austen Book Club; Guest Post, Excerpt, Giveaway
Jan 7th Just Jane 1813; Review
Jan 8th Babblings of a Bookworm; Vignette, Giveaway
Jan 9th Every Savage Can Dance; Guest Post, Excerpt, Giveaway
Jan 10th Tomorrow is Another Day; Review
Jan 11th Savvy Verse & Wit; Character Interview, Giveaway
Jan 12th Half Agony, Half Hope; Review
Jan 13th Austenesque Reviews; Vignette, Giveaway
Jan 14th Darcyholic Diversions; Author Interview, Giveaway
Jan 15th Delighted Reader; Review
Jan 16th From Pemberley to Milton; Review
Jan 17th A Covent Garden Gilflurt’s Guide to Life; Guest Post
Jan 18th Obsessed with Mr. Darcy; Review
Jan 19th My Kids Led Me Back to Pride & Prejudice; Vignette, Giveaway
Jan 20th Diary of an Eccentric; Review
Jan 21st More Agreeably Engaged; Vignette, Giveaway
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