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VINE VOICEon November 10, 2011
I have read many Pride and Prejudice adaptations. Some are fairly horrible. The majority fall in between--not complete wastes of time, but an experience not worth repeating. It is a rarity to find a truly good one. This is one such rarity.

The strangest thing is that I usually don't like the ones that are complete reinventions and radical changes. That is probably because most authors can't carry it off and awkwardness and irritation are the result. This is among the most extreme reinvention I can remember, but it was carried out with charm and intelligence.

If you pay close attention, you see a little modern consciousness creeping in now and then, but it is so well disguised in 19th century language and behavior that it's fully successful. The writing style, while not trying to pass for Jane Austen, nevertheless captures the spirit.

I am sometimes hesitant to buy books with only a few reviews (especially if they are 5 stars) as I assume they are from friends or family and I avoid first books like the plague. Now that I've gone back to read the product description, I'm even more amazed that I bought it. That description is a total turn off and implies that the sexual abuse was something more graphic or prolonged than it really was. It is one incident, right at the beginning, and is just the catalyst to develop the story a different way. It is basically a character-driven story emphasizing each person's emotions and reactions and these are the forces that move the plot. As character studies, I think it holds together very well. Elizabeth's and Darcy's thoughts, feelings, and behavior, especially, are extremely well handled.

I don't want to give away the plot but it is a Pride & Prejudice variation which begins at the point of Elizabeth's visit to Charlotte (anything before is assumed to coincide with the original). Beyond that, there are very few plot points that coincide, although the ending of the story is, thankfully, the same. With the exception of Colonel Fitzwilliam, all the other major characters retain their basic personalities. The amazing thing is that, given the drama of the first chapter, the rest of the book is cohesive and logical based on this alternate reality. All the persons involved behave in ways consistent with the way Jane Austen's core characters would have behaved under these definitely un-Austenesque circumstances.

I found it very stimulating and original and one of those books that I was sorry to have end and have put in my "Worth Re-reading" collection.
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on November 4, 2011
I followed this story as it was being posted on a JAFF forum, and I was very pleased to see it in Kindle form. Colonel Fitzwilliam, a scoundrel, does what privileged rakes do best, and the honorable Darcy comes once more to the rescue of Elizabeth Bennet. I look forward with great anticipation to several happy hours rereading one of my favorite stories so well-written by one of my favorite authors.
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on October 23, 2012
I have no regrets buying this book. It most certainly a different slant to P&P. I think there were some issues that the author did not get quite right as regards women who are violated, and I say that with the understanding that this was not a rape, but a violation of trust. So what I am saying is that her reactions fit more, a woman who was raped. I have always pictured Elizabeth as a woman of greater sense and understanding. In this story, I think she over did the withdrawing into herself. I liked the way she handled Mr. Darcy's feelings and compassion. I liked the book, it kept me reading and for that I gave it high marks.
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on November 20, 2011
I did like this book. The story starts at Hunsford but goes in a different direction. Col Fitzwilliam is a rake and really assaults Elizabeth and tells her that she's to be his mistress. Anyway Darcy comes to the rescue. The story goes from there. I was not sure I liked Col Fitz being bad, but the journey Darcy and Eliz took to reach happiness was good. Would recommend book to JAFF readers.
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on February 24, 2012
I have become a diehard Pride & Prejudice fan and have read over a hundred of the what if's or continuations. This one was definitely unique, as most always make Colonel Fitzwilliam to be a good guy. Darcy's patience and caring towards Elizabeth is outstanding, though it was hard to see Elizabeth, the strong and outspoken young lady, be timid and scared through the majority of the book. But over all, a good read.
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on April 11, 2012
It was hard for me to accept Colonel Fitzwilliam in the role of villain, but once I got passed that concern I really enjoyed this story. It kept all of the other characters true to Jane Austen's creation and took us on a journey, along with Elizabeth and Darcy, toward healing and eventual joy.
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on March 17, 2012
Really enjoyed this book because it was nice to see Darcy and Elizabeth fall in love all over again under different circumstances. The plot has already been described by other reviews, so I wont go into it. But i thought the characters stayed within Jane's description. I am no literature critic, so I can't comment too much on the style of writing or even if it would be true to regency times. But compared to many other P&P sequels/variations, it seemed to fit nicely to Jane's original work (well, except for Fitzwilliam). Although there is one graphic scene where Elizabeth is attacked, the story doesn't dwell on it forever. The plot continues with Elizabeth doubting herself, her open teasing personality and whether she is too frivolous in her behaviour. She wonders whether this attackk is her fault. She works through these issues and the ending is what it should be.....
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on February 4, 2012
I rarely write reviews, only if a book is very good or very bad and this book is very good! I thoroughly enjoyed the direction the author took and how each character developed and matured, even the secondary characters were accorded the same thoughtful treatment. The book, after the initial horrifying act, was tender and sweet (though never insipid) and still managed to be amusing at times. It also stayed true to the feel of Jane Austen. Now if only the author would write a variation for Sense and Sensibility, my favourite Austin novel. (thanks to Alan Rickman as Colonel Brandon!!)
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on October 21, 2015
I had read the first part of this story on a JAFF forum, but never finished. I loved the premise behind the story, though hated that it was Col Fitzwilliam that was a horrendous rake!!!! The story was well written and captivating (read well into the middle of the night).

The premise starts with Elizabeth visiting the Collinses in Hunsford, she was out on a walk when she came upon Col Fitzwilliam (where they discuss what a second son to an earl is deprived of). They hold a pleasant conversation until Col Fitzwilliam's true nature emerges. This is one story where I hate Col Fitzwilliam, he is an arrogant second son of an earl who feels entitled to have and do whatever he wants.

Elizabeth then runs into Mr Darcy, trying to conceal her bruising except she trips and he reaches out for her and she reacts badly. This sets out the rest of the story with Mr Darcy trying to do whatever he can to aide Elizabeth in her recovery.

This is not entirely to canon!!!! Elizabeth turns into a fragment of her normal self. She is a skittish horse, who reacts to any physical touch that she does not initiate. She doubts everything from what people say, to how people act, and she especially doubts her own perception of events and conversations. She constantly relives the attack, and becomes wary and distrustful of everyone including her family (even her beloved sister, father and the Gardiners). I am not a survivor of an attack so I do not understand everything that a survivor goes through, or how long it takes to get your life back. So if I judged to harshly, I apologize.

Mr Darcy is not entirely canon as well. But that is because his "beloved" Elizabeth was attacked, and by his own relation. With this endorsement, we see his loving, caring, and protective side at full force. No traces of arrogance. He is definitely not close to Col Fitzwilliam in this variation since the Col has been a rake of he worst kind (worse than the canon Wickham) for many years. He has even restricted the interaction the Col has with Georgiana to the point she really doesn't know the Col. It is nice to see that the Earl is morally grounded to stand with Darcy instead of his son.

It is a well developed story that I would recommend to all JAFFer, the beginning has a more mature theme of violence, but the rest of the story is PG13.
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on August 7, 2015
This was a very well written novel, featuring some fascinating feminist themes. Elizabeth Bennet is assaulted by Colonel Fitzwilliam (who is so out-of-character that it helps to just think of him as a new person). She is immediately rescued by Darcy who champions her cause for the remainder of the novel, which primarily revolves around her recovery and post-traumatic stress disorder (although it is not called that of course).

I enjoyed the novel, but I also felt it was lacking in some key areas. The writing style was very passive, which was actually in keeping with Austen’s style, but lead to some very slow pacing and often redundant passages. Likewise, Elizabeth’s recovery was very slow which is understandable and probably very realistic (one step forward, five steps back) but it did not make for compelling reading, and did not feel true to her character. Despite her trauma, I wish she had railed a bit more against her fears and pushed herself forward a bit.

Most characters in the novels received their due diligence, and all (other than Col. Fitzwilliam of course) improve themselves as a result of events. Even Lydia comes very close to learning humility, although Kitty, Mary and Georgiana take the biggest strides in becoming well-rounded ladies. Unfortunately, this meant that Darcy was absent for large portions, even when he was ostensibly present. The development of Darcy and Elizabeth’s relationship was incredibly slow, even though they spent enormous amounts of time in each other’s company and Darcy went above and beyond in everything he did to help Elizabeth. For her part, she never seemed that attached to him or desirous of his company, even by the end. Darcy also spent vast portions of his scenes apologising for everything. He would make a minor indiscretion (in one case, being a bit silent with guests on the day he received bad news) and was taken to task by both Georgiana and Mr Gardiner and then apologised, in individual passages, to Georgiana, Mr Gardiner, Mrs Gardiner and finally Elizabeth. They all, reluctantly, forgave him! For being a little bit grumpy for one day! ‘Twas a bit odd. No matter, Darcy would find something else to apologise for the next day.

The discussion about the disparity between the treatment of men and women in 19th century Britain was welcoming (particularly Georgiana’s realisations about Wickham) but ultimately a bit too neat and the novel itself lacked tension. There wasn’t any conflict after the initial plot impetus – everything came off as planned. There was no Lady Catherine or Caroline Bingley or scandals or even a hint of elopement. I normally greatly enjoy JAFF novels that forgo Austen’s conflicts and forge their own path, but this one needed something more. Even Darcy’s confession to Elizabeth of separating Bingley and Jane was anticlimactic, coming very late in the novel after he had already rectified his mistake and when Lizzy and the reader had all but forgotten it. I think the author just enjoys a submissive Darcy and wanted him to apologise yet again.

One minor quibble about continuity that I mention only because it threw me completely out of the story – Georgiana spends a lot of time in Jane Bennet’s company in London...and then meets her as a new acquaintance a few months later! I had to keep going back to check that they had actually met because I couldn’t understand what was happening.

Regardless, I felt the author did very well with a difficult topic, and I look forward to more of their work.
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