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This Pride and Prejudice variation begins with very different circumstances for the Bennets. Mr. Bennet has passed, Mr. Collins has inherited Longbourn, and the Bennet family has been thrown into the hedgerows. Jane is in London with the Gardiners, Mrs. Bennet and the other girls living with the Phillips in Meryton, and Elizabeth has gone to work as a governess for Col Fitzwilliam's nieces. It's there that Elizabeth meets and befriends Georgiana. When Elizabeth is about to leave her position, Georgiana begs her brother to hire Elizabeth as her companion.
Darcy hires Elizabeth and they happily settle at Pemberley. Elizabeth has daily proof of Darcy's kindness and worth as she witnesses his interactions with his sister and the people on his estate. And Darcy delights in Elizabeth's intelligence, wit, and her kindness towards his sister. But Elizabeth is no longer a simple gentleman's daughter, equal in standing if not in wealth. She's a paid companion in Darcy's employ, and any future between them seems impossible.
This is a lovely Pride and Prejudice variation with just a pinch of Jane Eyre sprinkled in for extra sweetness. The book is broken into two parts. The first half is told entirely from Darcy's point of view, and the second half switches between Lizzy and Darcy's points of view. This is my favorite type of variation, one in which the characters' personalities are true to the original, but the entire story and setting have changed. Most of the book is set at Pemberley, which means that we don't see much of Mrs. Bennet and the other girls, the Bingleys, the Gardiners, or Mr. Collins. The author puts our favorite characters into a completely new plot, and not a single scene is repeated from the original. She subtly weaves sentences from the original into her work and each time I recognized one it made me smile.
The author writes such wonderful dialogue, and there are so many sweet moments between our couple. Of course, this wouldn't be a Joana Starnes novel without heartbreak and a lot of tears. She never disappoints. There are several emotionally charged scenes that had me frozen motionless while I listened. Lizzy and Darcy's series of misunderstandings are painful, and their journey to happiness isn't smooth. This book is well written, passionate, and emotional, a special story that's so worth the read.
I can't decide whether to just buy every Joana Starnes book published so far, or wait for Stevie Zimmerman's narration to bring them to life. Her performance is outstanding. She has the perfect voice for Darcy, deep, vulnerable, and intense. Her regular speaking voice is so pleasant. She makes listening effortless, and really brings the story to life.
I requested a copy of the audiobook, and I'm voluntarily leaving a review.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
It is refreshing to read a Pride and Prejudice variation by an experienced and proficient author. I've read too much fan fiction by ametuer authors, but Joana Starnes has never disappointed. The audible for this book was fabulous as well, perfect for breaking up the monotony of long car rides.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
If you could sum up Miss Darcy's Companion in three words, what would they be?
Brilliant, romantic and lovely!
What was one of the most memorable moments of Miss Darcy's Companion?
There were so many moments I loved... Elizabeth secreting away Mr Darcy's handkerchief, the snowball fight, the dance in the orangery, Mr Darcy accusing Elizabeth of betraying him and Georgiana to the dastardly Wickham... and him ultimately realising the truth!
Have you listened to any of Stevie Zimmerman’s other performances? How does this one compare?
Stevie Zimmerman has become my favourite narrator after only two performances. In the only other one I listened to, Mr Bennets Dutiful Daughter, Mr Darcy has quite a slow, considered voice. In Miss Darcy's Companion he sounds the same but speaks at a more normal pace. This confirms the belief I had when I reviewed that perfomance, that Ms Zimmerman really feels the characters and understands what is going on for them and conveys this in her performance. In this tale, where Darcy is happy and sure of himself, there is no hesitation in his voice and he sounds happy. In the other there was a lot of sadness and uncertainty and this was reflected too.
Ms Zimmerman does not just read the story, it is truly a performance - and a brilliant one at that!
Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?
There were times when I laughed, times when I felt so sad for the misunderstandings. Joana Starnes is an amazing author and does not rush. Ever. So, while desperately waiting to see how situations are resolved, we get very detailed accounts of thoughts and feelings which adds so much depth to the characters, you feel as if you know them. I get frustrated with many other authors when conflicts are resolved in a blink of an eye. The fact that Joana Starnes does not rush her story telling means that the reader really shares in the agony of the characters.
Any additional comments?
I would highly recommend this to anyone who loves Pride and Prejudice variations. Written in a traditional style with appropriate language and no graphic sex scenes!