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Elizabeth is taking one last trip with her Aunt and Uncle Gardiner before her arranged marriage to Mr. Collins takes place. When she comes across a distraught young girl in a graveyard, she can't help but offer comfort to another miserable soul. Mr. Darcy overhears her gentle words of wisdom to his sister but before he can speak to Elizabeth, she disappears. Darcy spends the next several months searching for her and finally discovers her in Hertfordshire at the Meryton assembly.
This was a quick listen at almost three hours, easy enough to listen to in one sitting. If you're looking for a cute read with plenty of sweet interaction and conversation between Lizzy and Darcy, this is a good choice. If you're a purist looking for an adaption that is faithful to the characters, this one veers from canon. I know in a book with no Wickham and Lydia drama, there needs to be another antagonist, but I was sorry to see it was Mr. Bennet. I love Mr. Bennet in the original, I love his sarcastic wit and his obvious love for his daughters. He was self-aware enough to mock himself. He loved Lizzy enough to threaten to not speak to her if she married Mr. Collins, and made sure Lizzy actually wanted to marry Darcy. This Mr. Bennet doesn't deserve Lizzy's love or respect. He's forcing Lizzy to marry Mr. Collins for his own comfort, he's selfish, arrogant, and rude to Darcy. Mrs. Bennet is also very different from canon, she physically manhandles Lizzy and constantly disparages her. Lizzy describes Mrs. Bennet as living day to day with no thought to the future, which is a very strange way to describe the husband-hunting mamma! These changes didn't detract from my enjoyment of the story, but I did go back and reread my favorite parts of the original to reassure myself that Mr. Bennet was still his sly witty self.
The interactions between Lizzy and Darcy were lovely and were the real star of the story, as they should be. Their relationship was low angst and developed quickly with plenty of sweet moments. I loved the epilogue. The narration was done well, with different voices for each character and a lovely accent. I'd recommend this to Austen fan fiction fans!
Having just finished J Dawn King's later novel, THE ABOMINABLE MR DARCY, which I found quite enjoyable for the most part, I find myself quite disappointing ed in Ms. King's early novella.
YES, MR DARCY should only be approached if the reader has a thorough knowledge of Austen's PRIDE AND PREJUDICE and even many of the current oeuvre of variations et al since King both truncates the basic plot and adjusts the starting timeline so that Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy now first encounter each other in a graveyard in the Derbyshire town of Lambton where Elizabeth is consoling a very distraught young lady who just happens to be Darcy's little sister, Georgiana, and who upon encountering the stranger Elizabeth decides to share a scandalous secret that has the power to ruin her for her life and her family for a generation!
Everything else that occurs in this novella derives from this nearly illogical prologue. Oh, I almost forgot this little opening's finale -- after counseling the younger girl in this new scene I wish the author had extended, a worried Darcy arrives. He'd been looking all over for his sister and overhears Georgiana confess that her brother must hate her for her transgression. When unbidden Darcy appears and takes his sister in his arms to console and comfort her, Elizabeth decides this would be an ideal moment to simply disappear!!! No warning, no introductions, no reiteration that she will not break the younger girl's confidence. And Darcy's response to Elizabeth's precipitous flight is not anxiety about what she might do with this volatile information but instead only intense desire to meet his sister's mystery confessor!
The remainder of this story occurs in the typical location and setting of the Bennet Hertfordshire household in early autumn and while the narrator performs adequately more often than not (2+ ⭐️ only), the one dimensionality of her voices and a burgeoning melodramatic tone in all the dialogue between Elizabeth and Darcy renders the last hour into a singular smaltz-athon! Just add violin accompaniment.
Unfortunately, this book is one I plan to return.