Monday, July 01, 2013

Only Mr Darcy Will Do by Kara Louise

Her worst fears come true...
After her father's death, Elizabeth Bennet goes to work as a governess. Little does she know the Willstones are social acquaintances of the Bingley's and the Darcy's, and Elizabeth finds herself once again drawn into Mr. Darcy's orbit. To make matters worse, Mrs. Willstone's sister sets her sights on Mr. Darcy. With Elizabeth's social status even lower than it was before, she knows she must abandon all hope of Darcy renewing his proposals, even as she begins to see him in a completely different light...
I have now read quite a few Pride and Prejudice variations, and once again I was not disappointed with Only Mr Darcy Will Do. I had already read and loved Darcy's Voyage. I look forward to reading Pirates and Prejudice and Assumed Engagement, also by Kara Louise.
I liked the basis for this story; I had always wondered what might happen to the Bennet girls had the Collins’ moved into Longbourn.  Jane and Lizzy having to become governesses is very believable and very likely what would have had to happen had Mr Bennet died.  It was sweet that the Gardiners took Jane for a governess to their children, meaning the family was not too split up and that Lizzy’s position allowed her to visit Jane and her aunt and uncle on her days off.  I enjoyed seeing Lizzy as a governess and how she would fair in such a position, not having had a governess herself (much to the surprise and disapproval of Lady Catherine!) Mrs Bennet, Lydia, Kitty and Mary were hardly in this story which was a nice change.
The characters were once again portrayed faithfully and there were some wonderful new additions. I particularly enjoyed Darcy’s other cousin, Mr Hamilton.  In many variations Colonel Fitzwilliam is a favourite character to develop further and bring into the story more, however in this variation, this part was given to an equally as amusing and fun character, Mr Hamilton.  Colonel Fitzwilliam does make an appearance in the story, but mostly this Mr Hamilton takes the (what I will call) ‘Colonel Fitzwilliam limelight’. He was a very loveable character, just like Fitzwilliam, and is a great addition to the story and anytime he was around, I was laughing! 
Having just said how Colonel Fitzwilliam is not in the story as often as in some variations, he does make an appearance and the small part he plays is an important and rather sweet role. I won’t say anymore! 
Another wonderful character was Emily, the little girl to whom Lizzy is governess.  She is a wonderful little character! Her relationship with Lizzy is adorable and you could see they have a very strong bond. Emily was almost like a young Lizzy; her character discernment and ability to asses people’s feelings from their facial expressions was very reflective of Lizzy’s own abilities. I could see Emily growing up to become a very witty and lively girl, just like Lizzy is.
Georgiana was another whose character was developed further and that was great to see.  We see how she fairs being the hostess of a party of people invited to stay for a few weeks. Her friendship with Lizzy and how that develops with Lizzy now being a governess was interesting and there were times when you could see how much Georgiana depended on and was grateful to Lizzy. There was one scene I particularly enjoyed; Lizzy was teaching Emily on the piano when Georgiana comes along to listen, and before long Georgiana takes over the lesson and starts teaching Emily, and very successfully, I might add!      
I think my favourite addition to the story, character wise, was Rosalyn.  She seemed like a lovely character, until it became clear that she had her sights set on Darcy! Having Lizzy have the competition for Darcy instead of Darcy having the competition was another interesting twist with this story.  As well as this, Rosalyn provides the possibility of feeling a little sympathy for Caroline Bingley! I never thought I would be able to feel sympathy for her, of all people! When it is discovered that Rosalyn is aiming for the highest prize in the marriage market, Darcy, she very quickly dissolves into a scheming, false and annoying woman, and the friendship between her and Lizzy had built up quickly disappears! Does this mean that Caroline was once a friendly and reasonable woman and that is was her want to marry Darcy that turned her to what we see in the story? Maybe… but then again maybe not! But it does make you think that maybe the wonderful marital prize that is Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy of Pemberley turns all the woman, who set their sights on him, into scheming and manipulating and generally horrible woman! Of course, Lizzy never planned on marrying Darcy and so she never undergoes this character change, unlike Rosalyn and (maybe) Caroline!
As in Darcy’s Voyage, there are some iconic scenes that we know from the original which are included but, of course, have twists thrown in; one of my favourites in this story was the classic argument between Lizzy and Lady Catherine! All I will say is a few more people get involved in the argument…
One of my favourite parts of the original story is when they run into Darcy at Pemberley and we see Darcy, the levelheaded, kind and sensible master of Pemberley. As this is one of my favourite parts it was great to see more of this relaxed Darcy.  There were many times when Darcy’s care and concern for his tenants was clear; especially when there is a flood and Darcy allows all those whose houses are in danger from the water to stay at Pemberley (as well as climbing a tree to save one of the little girls cats from being drowned!) As well as seeing his care for his tenants, you also get to see Darcy's more relaxed and fun side. This is shown through a multitude of different acts and conversations; among my favourites was a treasure hunt designed by Darcy for his guests!
Finally onto Lizzy and Darcy; I don’t want to give too much away but the story is full of romance as well as trials and tribulations for the two. Darcy is not bitter and his pleasure at seeing Lizzy again is clear and he does everything in his power to treat her with civility and show her how her words had affected him.  Lizzy begins to realise how strongly she may have misjudged Darcy and how much of a mistake she may have made in refusing him over a year ago!  Through important and revealing games of chess, morning walks round Pemberley and accidental meetings in rather personal places Lizzy comes to understand who the real Fitzwilliam Darcy is and why so many woman do fall for him!
Your affectionate friend,
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  1. Thanks so much for such a generous review! I don't see too many of them anymore for my 'older' books. I'm so glad you enjoyed it! (thanks for letting me know about the review!)

    1. You are welcome! I really enjoyed it :) I think my favourite of yours so far is Darcy's Voyage but I loved this one as well :)


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