Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Subsequent Proposal by Joana Starnes

I was very much looking forward to reading this story as the idea of combing the characters from Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion intrigued me. And to have Mr. Darcy and Captain Wentworth in one book... well I’m not complaining! 

"A number of broken-hearted characters from Jane Austen’s best novels are thrown together by the vagaries of fate, and all manner of unwise decisions are taken at this vulnerable time. But then their past creeps up upon them – and what is there to do but face it, and hope that their convoluted paths will finally lead them to their proper place?
“Elizabeth… Elizabeth… Elizabeth…” he murmured against her lips, her skin, her hair, and then her lips again. “I cannot forsake you! I cannot! I cannot lose you! I cannot bear to think of a life without you – ‘tis not worth living, ‘tis but a slow death! I cannot lose you! I beg you, do not send me away again! I love you! Elizabeth, I love you!”
Friends, rivals, foes, wrong choices and a duel – Fitzwilliam Darcy’s life is never dull! ‘The Subsequent Proposal’ – a story that is primarily about him – follows Mr. Darcy in his struggles to decipher the troubling enigma of Elizabeth Bennet’s feelings – and to correct the worst misjudgement of his life…"

I was not disappointed. I enjoyed this story very much. I really enjoyed seeing the characters from Pride and Prejudice and from Persuasion interacting with each, and I think it worked very well. The idea of Darcy and Anne as a couple, although strange to the imagination (Darcy is meant for Elizabeth and Anne for Wentworth or course!), actually felt like quite a reasonable match. I could understand how each might be happy to settle for the other; both are nursing a broken heart and think that the ones they love are forever beyond their reach, and so settling for a marriage of companionship with at least mutual respect is perhaps a wise and sensible decision given the circumstances. (But it is strange, I warn you, to see Darcy with Anne and then Wentworth courting Elizabeth!)

This story is told completely (well, pretty much) from Darcy’s point of view. I really enjoyed this and I feel it added to the story in that it made his journey through the novel and its subsequent happy ending so much more pleasing for me as the reader, as we have experienced all his anguish and pain which he has had from the beginning with him, and we have been following Darcy’s emotional journey very closely, knowing all his inner thoughts and feelings.
I felt very sorry for Darcy at many times through this book. The author portrays his inner struggles and his torment very vividly and powerfully and you can’t help but pity him! You really see in this variation just how badly Darcy is affected by losing Elizabeth - it really shows how strong an attachment and love he felt for her! (Well, we already knew he was very affected by her refusal, but seeing his inner thoughts explained in such a way as in this book just really reinforces it!)

This story is certainly a sad and agonizing one for Darcy, and so also for the reader at times, but do not fret as there is also plenty of humour. For me, the most humorous aspect was seeing Darcy and Wentworth fighting over Elizabeth! I suppose really it should not amuse me as much as it did, as Wentworth being able to court Elizabeth right in front of Darcy when Darcy is no longer able to himself, should be a very sad prospect! But the rivalry between the two is rather funny; watching them each trying to comfort her or scowling at each other when Elizabeth isn’t looking! They are clearly fighting over the right to her attention – it is rather funny when they end up in a duel together, Darcy being Wentworth’s second, when it is clear that Wentworth would quite like to challenge Darcy himself!

As well as the anguish and the humour, this story also has its share of romance (while staying completely clean)! There are many stolen looks and tender moments between Darcy and Elizabeth as it becomes clear that feelings between the two are perhaps starting to become mutual! There are many very sweet scenes (especially towards the end!) that will please any romantic, like me.

As well as the main characters, the secondary characters are well developed and play some interesting roles in the story. One of my favourites was Colonel Fitzwilliam. I do so love his character in the original and so I always like to see more of him. In this variation, his interactions with Darcy show a real caring side to his nature as he is trying to help Darcy through his struggles.  He is also very useful, let’s just say, in a few situations throughout the story!

We also see more of Bingley in this variation, and to begin with a very, understandably, upset Bingley. His interactions with Darcy through the story put a very interesting light onto their friendship and I like to see how it survives the ordeal surrounding Darcy’s interference with Bingley and Jane.

Of course Lady Russell comes into the story and causes trouble just as she does in Persuasion, but I enjoyed seeing her interacting with Darcy. Miss Bingley comes along as well and remains blind to Darcy’s complete disinterest in her (will she ever learn?)! And we also have some adventure and danger thrown into the mix, thanks to good old Mr. Wickham – nothing new there then.

The language and style of this authors writing is brilliant. She captures the characters very well and it flows very smoothly as you read, and it feels very much in the style of Jane Austen. I was very captivated and drawn in by her writing. 

There is a very sweet epilogue to this tale which is not set too far into the future (which I like) and there are some very interesting surprises in this epilogue, as well as a very happy ending.

Overall I really enjoyed this story. It has a good balance of pain and sorrow, but also plenty of romance and some humour! I loved going along the journey through Darcy’s eyes and it was very clever how the author intertwined the characters from Persuasion and I loved the whole idea of the switching of partners from two of Jane Austen’s wonderful novels.

Your affectionate friend,
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  1. Great review, Mrs Darcy- as usual!! :)

  2. Thanks so much for the lovely review - just wonderful!!!

    1. You are very welcome! I am glad you like it :)


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