Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Rainy Days by Lory Lilian

Today I am posting my first review of one of the wonderful author Lory Lilian's stories, Rainy Days. I cannot wait to read more of this author's work! My thanks goes to Meryton Press for sending me this story to review. (While I was sent the book, this is my honest and unbiased opinion.) 

"In Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, Elizabeth Bennet's first impression and hasty judgment of Mr. Darcy, and that gentleman's pride and aloofness toward her loved ones took them on a long, difficult road to happiness. In "Rainy Days", Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy are caught in a rainstorm two days before the Netherfield ball, and they are forced to spend a few hours alone together where they talk, listen, and better understand each other's feelings. However, even when original pride and prejudice are overcome, new obstacles arise. The road to true love is never smooth, and surprises along the way enhance the passion of the journey. Rainy Days - an alternative journey from Pride and Prejudice to passion and love."

Before I go into any details, I have one thing to say - read this book! If you love 'what if' variations full of romance, humour, drama and an array of brilliant characters, old and new, then this is the book for you as this had it all!

This book has been one of the best written ones I have read. It flowed very well and the writing was just brilliant. The language was very appropriate to the era (ok, I did notice the odd 'couch' slipping in towards the end, but I'm English, so I always notice it! And it wasn't very often!) and the description throughout was great, but what got me the most was how well the author could portray the emotions felt by a variety of characters, and so powerfully. I was completely drawn into this story, which was helped by the fact that it was such a long and well written book. But more on that later! 

I mentioned the author’s talent for description; it was lovely getting to see into the thoughts of Darcy and Elizabeth. You really feel you get to know them in this story - and you may think you already know them, but some of the insights into their views on certain events we know from canon, as well as others which have been affected by different circumstances and the fact that Lizzy and Darcy start to understand each other sooner, was really fascinating and it really made me think!  As well as strong descriptions of inner thoughts, and brilliant emotional descriptions, there was some great dialogue - particularly between Darcy and Lizzy! The balance between narrative and dialogue was good, and the length of the novel meant things really had time to develop slowly. You really got to know all the characters very well indeed! 

One of this author's particular talents in the area of description was with the romance; subtle but romantic gestures and the looks and slight touches, but also the more passionate moments which are so well written and full of emotion - it really isn't just kissing for the sake of it. My romantic sensibilities were going wild throughout this book. The powerful descriptions of the little things was amazing, such as the touching or kissing of the hand. (*warning*: as it says at the bottom of the blurb, this story isn't without its more intimate scenes, but there is nothing overly graphic or explicit. I didn't mind it even though my preference is clean stories. For the emotional journey Darcy and Lizzy experience I can completely understand why, and agree with in fact, such scenes were included.) 

This story had been on my wish list for a long time as the idea of Darcy and Lizzy being forced into a rather confined space in such unusual circumstances - sheltering from a storm - and consequently being forced to talk and confront the problems between them sounded intriguing! I liked the idea of Lizzy coming to understand Darcy a little better much sooner, before things get too out of hand! The meeting in the rain and the time spent together sheltering was one of the best scenes! It was filled with some wonderfully funny and sweet but also awkward moments! The real Darcy begins to shine through much earlier on. What was very interesting was seeing how this meeting affects not only their own relationship, but also other situations we know from canon, which still occur in this story, but with this changed relationship between Darcy and Lizzy; the Wickham problem for example, and another favourite was the Netherfield Ball - and the 'event' (/business transaction!) which is supposed to happen afterwards involving a certain clergyman! And many more but I don't want to give away all the fun! 

Elizabeth is just as we expect; the witty, teasing, challenging and impertinent young lady we all love her to be! She experiences a lot through this story, and although in canon she goes through a time of complete bewilderment and confusion about Darcy, so does she in this story, however it happens much sooner. It is great that she and Darcy start to get on sooner as her own personality, as well as his, shines through in her teasing of, and sometimes flirting with, Darcy. 

Ok, no surprises here, Darcy and Lizzy get together - shocker! (I should have said *spoiler* I suppose, but come on, we all know it is going to happen!) They actually engage about half way through the story, which meant the reader gets to follow Elizabeth on her journey as she comes to terms with the idea of becoming Mrs Darcy. This was really interesting to see as we don't see this in canon; seeing Elizabeth beginning to learn the role of housekeeper and watching her cope with Darcy's relatives as well as a ball where she is exposed to the gossipy world of the ton. 

I think part of the reason I so enjoy reading fan fiction is because I just want to be able to learn more and more about my favourite character, Mr Darcy. I find it fascinating to see him put into a variety of different situations and seeing how he reacts and copes. Therefore, I always love a story which gives us proper insight into his mind and thoughts, just like this story. Due to the unusual circumstances and unexpected meeting with Lizzy, we begin to see the true Darcy much sooner in the story when he learns of Lizzy's not-as-great-as-he-thought opinion of him and works to rectify. I have read a lot of variations now but I have to say this Darcy has shot very high up my list of Darcy interpretations! This Darcy is just so loveable and adorable - but in a manly way! He is charming and flirty, and yet caring and sometimes very shy. I completely fell for him - I think even non-Darcy fans would love this interpretation! (Oh, and we also get to see the aggressive and powerful side of Darcy which was fun, and not to mention the romantic and passionate streaks to Darcy's nature!) 

If I was to say Darcy and Lizzy and their relationship were my favourite thing in this story you would probably say "well yes, of course they would be!" but in some variations I have really enjoyed the new characters or the exploration of lesser seen secondary characters. However, in this story, the best part and my favourite was, without a doubt, Darcy and Lizzy's relationship. The length of this story meant that the growth of the friendship, trust and eventual love between them was in no way rushed. It developed slowly which, as well as being so wonderful a journey to be a part of, also made it feel very realistic. Watching how their relationship changes with that accidental meeting and how Lizzy comes to know the real Darcy and how perhaps her first impressions weren't quite correct - about him and another certain gentleman who's names begins with W - was brilliant. 

We see their fun and teasing conversations and verbal duels as Lizzy comes to understand and get to know Darcy - and begins to fall for him -  and we watch as they both become more and more enamoured of each other. It is such a slow, but steady, development as each begins to become more open with the other, and also more forward and brave with their flirty remarks. It really is such a brilliant relationship that builds up between them!  While things do start heading in a much more promising direction much sooner than in canon, the path to true love isn't easy and they face many problems from many other areas as they have to deal with the disparity in their stations, but at least they can face it together - we get to see a caring side and protective side to both Lizzy and Darcy as a result of this.

As I already mentioned, they engage well before the end of the book and it was really interesting to see how the relationship changed between Darcy and Lizzy from their courtship to the engagement (and, eventually, onto marriage.). They slowly become more and more loving and trusting of each other - and each stolen kiss becomes more and more passionate each time! Honestly, they are just adorable together and you can't help but love them and smile when they are together!  Again, thanks to the length, the journey to their happy ending just seems so much more... powerful, and it is very satisfying but emotional as a reader to have watched it develop and to see their shared passion and love grow slowly but steadily over such a long period of time. Ok I will stop going on about it and you just go and read it for yourself! 

Another aspect I love about fan fiction is the chance to get to see different characters interacting with each other. 

A few favourites in this particular story would be the relationship between Darcy and Mr Bennet. They build up a great friendship, which is sometimes father-son like! Darcy has a great friendship with Bingley, as we know, but we get to see more of them and their almost brotherly relationship, with their friendly banter and teasing of each other. Similarly there are some great scenes between Darcy and Colonel Fitzwilliam! 

However, I have to say some of my favourite scenes were the ones when both Mr Darcy and Mr Collins were present! I don't want to ruin it, but the way Darcy deals with Collins is just brilliant, and very, very funny! 

We also see Elizabeth with some other characters more, such as Georgiana, which I always enjoy seeing as I always imagined they would get along very well as future sisters! Georgiana has a slightly different story in this variation and the effect this has on the relationship between her and Lizzy was very sweet. There were many brilliant scenes between these two! We also see some more of Elizabeth and Mrs Gardiner together which is nice as their strong bond was clear in canon. 

This is becoming one of my longest reviews! (Can you tell yet that I loved this book?) But before I finish I must say a little something about the characters other than Darcy and Lizzy! 

If you are a fan of Jane and Bingley you will enjoy this as we get some more glimpses into their relationship - and they are just as adorable as ever! Similarly, we get to see more to Mr Bennet and a rather different side to him which made a nice change! I have already mentioned Mrs Gardiner, but getting to spend more time with both Mr and Mrs Gardiner was great, as they were always favourites of mine (it was also interesting to see them interacting with Darcy more.) Colonel Fitzwilliam, another favourite secondary character, makes more of an appearance which always pleases me! I have mentioned Georgiana but the further insight into her character and thoughts - particularly regarding the whole Wickham affair - was fascinating.  

Speaking of Wickham, he is just as annoying as ever and I wanted to strangle him many times through the story, which is as it should be! (There are some great scenes when he gets rather put in his place though!) Whilst in this area Caroline is even worse in this story, if you can imagine that! Funny worse though, or even pitiable worse! She also is subject to a few humiliating - for her - and hilarious - for us - put downs from a variety of people! (I felt no pity for her whatsoever!) Lady Catherine also still comes along to throw her spanner in the works, so to speak, but she also receives her due, and again it is highly amusing! 

There were some fantastic new characters in this story; Becky, one of the Gardiner children, and Lord and Lady Matlock, Colonel Fitzwilliam's parents. 

Becky was a brilliant character and caused some of the funniest conversations of the book thanks to her childish innocence. Due to her age, her honesty and habit of saying exactly what she wants was classic! 
Also her inquisitiveness and consequential constant questioning was just perfect - particularly when poor Darcy was the target for all her either difficult to answer or improper questions!  She was just brilliant. Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant! 

Onto Lord and Lady Matlock; it was interesting to see some more of Darcy's relations as he has so few, but who was the most intriguing was Lady Matlock. We see her come to terms with her nephew’s choice of wife - someone highly inappropriate for someone of his station! The relationship between her and Elizabeth was fascinating. We see Lady Matlock interrogating poor Lizzy about her intentions regarding Darcy - a.k.a. trying to discern whether she is a fortune hunter! But we also see her come to admire Lizzy and the effect she has on the Darcys - both Mr and Miss! Their relationship was one of the most interesting in fact! 

I could rant and rave about this book for ages but I know I will have bored you all to sleep by now! But if you have managed to make it this far, I think what you should take away from my review - even just from the length of it! - is that you should read this book! It is a superbly written book with an inventive story which is full of humour and wit, breath-taking romance, wonderful characters and great drama to keep you turning the pages and racing to the end!  I enjoyed every single second of this book. Just read it! 

Many thanks to Lory for writing this story and I look forward to reading all your other stories! 

Watch out for another post about Lory's work with a fantastic giveaway which will be posted in the next week or so! 

Your affectionate friend,
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  1. Wow what a review Sophie, I am so interested now in this book. I have read a few variations with some of these themes but to have them all in one book along with humor and clean/tolerable romantic scenes. I can't wait to have it. I will be watching and hoping for a give a way.

    1. Thank you Julie! You really must read it! it was such a wonderful book! I am having a giveaway in the next few weeks so keep your eyes open!

  2. I had a good time with this one too, Sophie. It's so loaded with romance and I enjoyed what she did with the characters and the alternate plot line.

  3. Thanks so much, Julie and Sophia ! Julie, stay close, there will be a giveaway, too - very soon (as Sophie already said :) ).


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