Tuesday, November 26, 2013

What Would Mr Darcy Do? and The Darcy’s of Derbyshire by Abigail Reynolds

I have just finished What Would Mr Darcy Do? and it was very good and is now my favourite story by Abigail Reynolds,  although I did enjoy Mr Darcy's Obsession  as well as the novella recently released, The Darcy’s of Derbyshire (which I will also be posting my thoughts on at the end of this post.) But for now, back to What Would Mr Darcy Do?  

“There's only one gentleman to turn to when a lady is in desperate need of answers...
With scandal descending on the Bennet family (again), Elizabeth absolutely refuses to drag Mr. Darcy's name into this shocking situation. But how on earth is she going to get her family out of trouble this time without his involvement? Hiding things from Mr. Darcy is getting more and more impossible, especially since he's started letting his feelings show...”

I’d always wanted Darcy to give some assurance to Elizabeth before leaving the inn that fateful day in Lambton and so this variation sounded very interesting to me.  The opening scene when Darcy makes clear his feelings and is assuring Elizabeth that he does not wish to severe the acquaintance between them because of Lydia’s recent behaviour.  Darcy certainly has a very successful way of comforting and assuring Elizabeth!

The development of certain well-known characters such as Bingley and Georgiana are great to see in this variation.  I particularly love Georgiana – she begins to grow in confidence, and she builds a wonderful relationship with Elizabeth and is a very useful source of information for Elizabeth in finding out more about her brother.  One of my favourite aspects between these two is their correspondence; it allows them to become closer and there are many fun (and important) revelations in these letters, as well as few lessons in the art of teasing! Georgiana also builds up a fun relationship with both Mary and Kitty (which is to be expected given their similarity in age).   

The Gardiners also are brilliant and very... useful in this story. They are very sweet towards both Elizabeth and Darcy (Mr Gardiner towards Mr Darcy in particular) and are helpful in dropping the odd hint or conveniently letting slip a piece of information (or concealing certain knowledge!) in the hopes it will help promote the growing relationship between Darcy and Elizabeth.  Mr Bennet was another interesting character and he and Mr Darcy have a very amusing relationship.  

Now to the main two character of the story; Elizabeth and Darcy both go through a rollercoaster of emotions. The extent of the love they feel for one and another causes them both pain. He is terrified at losing her again and she is very upset at any thought of Darcy losing his affections for her.  It is clear how they both require that security of marriage to be completely happy - both have a talent for misunderstanding each other (not to mention Elizabeth completely misjudging Darcy at first and Darcy being rejected in the most insensitive manner imaginable!) and so I think this behaviour is perfectly reasonable, and at times it is very touching to read.  This story is very Elizabeth and Darcy focused, the majority of the scenes being between them (which is always a bonus) and I enjoyed seeing such an extended courtship and engagement as we are privy to in this variation and seeing the ease of conversation growing between them - normally in variations they get engaged, get married, the end.

I have already said how this is a very Darcy and Elizabeth focused story, and this means that this is a variation full of romance.  There are so many scenes which are beautifully romantic (perfect for a hopeless romantic like myself!)  and my heart was melting most of the time! This is one of Abigail Reynolds clean variations, but it is quite a passionate story, with many (many!) stolen kisses.

When the wedding day finally arrives (I would have warned you of the spoiler, but really, we all know what is going to happen in the end!) the description of the day is perfect.  It still amazes me how with every variation I read the final joining and security of marriage continues to have the same effect on me, even though I know it is, of course, going to happen!  I felt particularly happy with this one, and the relief and joy I felt when they finally married is always a good indication of the quality of the writing and the depth and emotions the authoress can create in her beloved characters.

I liked having an epilogue which is not set years into the future, describing their children and such things. It was a nice change to read how the couple are getting on just a few months into their marriage.  The book also ended in the same inn in Lambton where it began, which created a lovely loop and provided a perfect end to a wonderful story. This was a very passionate and romantic story showing the importance of trust in a relationship which has already been through many trials and tribulations!  

And now my thoughts on the Novella The Darcy's of Derbyshire...

What are Men to Rocks and Mountains?  Elizabeth Bennet longs to see the view from the famous Black Rocks in Derbyshire, but her aunt and uncle refuse to allow her to climb to the highest rock outcroppings alone. Elizabeth's distress is only worsened by a chance encounter with Mr. Darcy -- at least until he offers to escort her to the top. But unbeknownst to her, the Black Rocks have a very special meaning for him. As Darcy tells her the tale of his parents' courtship and marriage, Elizabeth, like Darcy's mother before her, is forced to confront the true power of family and destiny atop the Black Rocks. Please note that this story is a novella, not a full-length novel.”

I greatly enjoyed this novella by Abigail Reynolds – it was a very sweet little book with a great story! Hearing the account of Darcy’s parent’s courtship gave great background and a new dimension to Darcy’s character and a real insight into his childhood which was fascinating.

I thought it was very clever how as Darcy begins to tell the tale to Elizabeth, instead of just hearing his account, it jumps back to the time and we see the story unfold as it is happening. It was a very endearing story between his parents and I felt myself being drawn into just as much as Elizabeth was! When we return to the present and see the effect and true implication of this romance between his parents in relation to the current Mr Darcy and Elizabeth and the scenes which follow are very romantic... But I do not wish to give anything away.

This was a really sweet little story and very unique and unlike any other variation I have read before. The use of his parent’s courtship in aiding the relationship between Darcy and Elizabeth was a novel idea, and I enjoyed the detailed insight this story gave into Darcy's continued and ardent love and admiration of Elizabeth. It was an enjoyable escape into the world of Darcy and Elizabeth for an hour or two.

Your affectionate friend,
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