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58 of 66 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Twist and a Lovely Tale
Taken as just a romantic tale, Without Reserve is a very satisfying read.
But, readers of Pride and Prejudice will find this to be a very original and satisfying variation. The idea of Darcy faced with another suitor for Elizabeth's hand makes an excellent story, and provides a look at some of the social customs of the time. It also provides some heart-wrenching...
Published on July 18, 2007 by Eee

versus
35 of 38 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Classic Literature turned trashy
This was the first of Abigail Reynolds books I've read. I loved P&P and all of Austen's books as well as some of the variations I've read. The story idea was good...Darcy facing competition was a great idea... the middle to end of the story was TERRIBLE...it was nothing but descriptions of Darcy and Elizabeth's premarital sexual encounters. The likelihood that the...
Published on July 21, 2008 by Amanda-Marie


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35 of 38 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Classic Literature turned trashy, July 21, 2008
This was the first of Abigail Reynolds books I've read. I loved P&P and all of Austen's books as well as some of the variations I've read. The story idea was good...Darcy facing competition was a great idea... the middle to end of the story was TERRIBLE...it was nothing but descriptions of Darcy and Elizabeth's premarital sexual encounters. The likelihood that the Elizabeth Bennet(or even Mr. Darcy with his sense of right and wrong) I read about behaving in such a way especially after Lydia's disgrace is impossible and unbelievable. I like a good storyline if you can skip the sex scenes and still have a good story but this was almost as bad as Linda Berdoll's Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife. I hated it and am not going to read any of the other books in the series or by this author. This book was classic literature rewritten to make it a trashy novel.
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58 of 66 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Twist and a Lovely Tale, July 18, 2007
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Eee (Switzerland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Taken as just a romantic tale, Without Reserve is a very satisfying read.
But, readers of Pride and Prejudice will find this to be a very original and satisfying variation. The idea of Darcy faced with another suitor for Elizabeth's hand makes an excellent story, and provides a look at some of the social customs of the time. It also provides some heart-wrenching moments as well as some beautifully romantic scenes. The interactions between the main characters, Darcy and Elizabeth are beautifully evocative. The use of Blake's poetry serves to complement the story and helps to frame the relationship between Darcy and Elizabeth.

I love this story - I've read it over and over again. It keeps your interest throughout, and should appeal to a wide range of readers.
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36 of 41 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Terrible!, February 12, 2008
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If I could have given this book zero stars I would have. It was terrible. It is a trashy romance novel with the names of Jane Austen's beloved characters thrown in it. I love Jane Austen and I love Elizabeth Bennett because I always felt like I related to her. This version of Elizabeth is so silly and stupid I had no respect for her at all. She agrees to marry a man she does not love? Unheard of! And though I am sure Mr. Darcy had desires for Elizabeth sexually he was a GENTLEMAN in every form of the word and would never have compromised Elizabeth as he does in this book. The Mr. Darcy in this book was no gentleman. I liked the idea of these "what if" books but they are done all wrong. The characters that I know and love would have never acted in the manner that they do in this book. I will not be reading anymore of the Pride and Prejudice Variations.
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35 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Classic Story from Abigail, September 6, 2007
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Mrs. Sandra Platt (Harrogate, North Yorkshire) - See all my reviews
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I am a huge fan of all of Abigail's 'variations' on the original Pride & Prejudice, but also have to agree with another reviewer here. Here is a story that works beautifully whether you know/understand/love P&P or not. (Actually, I would say that of all Abigail's works, with hindsight).

This is a lovely 'what if' - I love the sheer romance of it all, that Darcy loves Elizabeth so much that he pursues her, then leaves her in peace because he believes she has made a choice that she is happy about, and wants what is best for her; then he finds his purpose again in such a wonderful way... the second part of the book, with his renewed determination to win her to his point of view is just so rewarding, romantic and superbly written that you almost don't want the story to end!

Another great read, I highly recommend it.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Maybe three stars is overly generous for my tastes., February 15, 2008
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After I read "The Last Man in the World" I figured I was home free with this author. I really enjoyed reading that book. Then I began to read this one. Obviously, somewhere along the way I became confused about what this series of books was intended to do because this one just threw me for a loop. Ms Reynolds took situations from the basic Pride and Prejudice but about all I recognized was that Darcy had proposed marriage and Elizabeth had refused him, Darcy had unmasked Wickham, and Lydia had eloped with Wickham after going to Bath with Colonel and Mrs Forster. Everything else is very, very much a new story.

I had not realized that I was going to be reading a romance novel where the author used the names of people and places which I was familiar with but in very unfamiliar circumstances. In this book Abigail Reynolds has veered off so far from the original text and ideas of Pride and Prejudice that it really made me uncomfortable in spots. After having Elizabeth and Darcy go through torture for page after page concerning his love for her, then her love for him, she began to put in very explicit sex scenes. First they were in the form of dreams for Darcy. Then they began to be actual occurrances with Elizabeth. I didn't like for my beloved characters to be kidnapped like that. Maybe I would not have objected so much if these sexual situations had happened #1 - after they were married, or #2 - toward the end of the book, but this book is just filled with the situations I prefer to use my imagination for regarding Darcy and Elizabeth.

I love the way Jane Austen wrote Darcy and Elizabeth. I allowed myself to accept Ms Reynolds changes in these characters for "The Last Man in the World" because I thought she had held basically to the actual story and moral character of the people in the original. In this book, she just went too far toward the physical for my taste. I read other fiction which includes senuality even more pronounced than this but they don't feature Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy. It feels as if she took two people who I know and love and turned them into characters in what is commonly called "a trashy novel". I didn't like that.

I have the other three books. I'm hoping PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE don't let them be like this one! I gave it three stars. Maybe 2.5 would have been more reflective of my feelings.
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30 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Abigail Reynolds is a masterful storyteller!, July 19, 2007
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Without Reserve is a beautiful story full of glorious angst and emotion. This is one of my favorite Abigail Reynold's Pemberley Variations, exploring the roads not taken in Pride and Prejudice. Here Darcy is faced with Elizabeth's engagement to a childhood acquaintence, a very likeable Mr. Covington. As with all her stories, her characters are honest, believable and even LOL amusing... for instance, when Darcy volunteered himself as "chaperone" for Elizabeth and her other suitor!

And I swear my heart skipped a beat when Darcy first kissed Elizabeth, before escaping to Europe. "Their eyes met again for a long moment, and she looked away at first. He moved towards the door, then stopped again just at the edge of the vestibule. 'Before I go, though, Miss Bennet, I must beg your forgiveness.' 'My forgiveness? For what?' she asked. 'For this," he said. Before she realized what he intended, he leaned towards her and kissed her, a brief, tender touch of his lips to hers."

This is a book I delight in re-reading anytime--anywhere. One doesn't have to have read Pride and Prejudice to follow this story. Most enthusiastically recommended!
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25 of 30 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Very sad, October 23, 2007
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Like other reviewers, I was totally turned off, and a little saddened, by the graphic sex in this novel. I was expecting a good old fashioned romance featuring a first class gentleman. It started off fine, but ended on what was for me a sour note with Mr. Darcy behaving in a most ungentlemanly manner. I just can't believe Jane Austen's Mr. Darcy would compromise his Elizabeth. TWICE. I know this is written for the modern audience, but there is still some value in restraint-by Mr. Darcy AND Ms Reynolds.

This is the second P&P book I have read by this author. Since Mr. Darcy behaved similarly in both, I am left to surmise that this is the vision Reynolds has for these characters. The social commentaty of P&P(inequity, the rights of women, being your own person) were totally disregaded in favor of dime a dozen pulp. Very sad indeed.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Seen the BBC mini series, February 1, 2008
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So it seems like an interesting premise. What if something else had happened. Basically, Elizabeth gets engaged to someone else. She breaks this engagement though to marry Darcy at a later time. However, the "courting" that goes on follows the versions of the BBC mini series very closely. OH except for the HUGE amount of "intimate" scenes that are completely out of place for the image presented in Pride and Prejudice. It takes a wonderful classic and converts it to a overly descriptive stereotypical romance novel. Yuck yuck and more yuck !!!! A better book is Mr Darcy's Daughters by Aston.Mr. Darcy's Daughters : A Novel
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25 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Determined Darcy wins the girl!, July 30, 2007
Of all the published P & P variations published by Abigail Reynolds, this is one of my favorite! It's fast pace (like the original P & P), and there's quite a bit of character development for both Darcy and Elizabeth. The Darcy portrayed in this book seems more consistent with that in the original Austen novel, in that he showed fierce determination and single-mindedness to be with Elizabeth, even when she was betrothed to another. When he learned that she had ended that engagement, he became even more determined to win her and to marry her, despite her concerns about what marriage to her would do to him on a social level. Darcy stuck to her like velcro to comfort her and to assuage her of the disgrace she felt by breaking her engagement to another. These sections were a bit hard to read but I did find them credible given the norm of the period ... Darcy devised a series of plans to
"persuade" Elizabeth to marry him: put her in a compromising situation, seduce her outright, or involve her family in encouraging her to marry him. I personally found this part of the book to be very interesting and asked myself if Jane Austen's Darcy would do that. Indeed, the Darcy we know was quite clever although stubborn. One always had the feeling that underneath that cool arrogant facade was a man of great passion. Equally interesting to read were the parts when Darcy questioned his own intentions and admonished himself for being selfish...The passion he felt for Elizabeth and the continuous admonition he gave to himself because of his efforts to seduce Elizabeth gives the reader something to consider in the context of "love, allure/sex, marriage..." In the end, the determined Darcy gets the girl!
Hurray!
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19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not for the TRUE P&P Lover, September 15, 2008
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I have to agree with the original poster. I just finished reading this book a few hours ago and I too thought the graphic sex scenes were TOTALLY unnecessary. In fact, I found them to be gratuitous. The BEAUTY of the orignial is that Elizabeth and Darcy love each other - for their minds and lively spirit. I never thought Darcy of wanting to jump her bones. And I was greatly saddened that at the end (SPOILER ALERT) they HAD TO GET married - that is so UNLIKE the nature of the characters. All their sense GONE. They behaved no better than Wickham and Lydia. Leave their rumps in bed to the imagination of the reader, afterall that is far better than what one author deems as exciting or fullfilling.

I have read MANY other authors book which take on Pride & Prejudice: Darcy's Diaries, Confessions of Fitzwilliam Darcy and most recently Darcy's Passions. THESE books gives you more of the stories, while staying TRUE to the makeup of the characters and expanding our enjoyment without the need to satisify people's need for sex. If you want to read explicit sex, go grab a Diana Palmer book. The author should have warned readers that the characters would be greatly alter in such a fashion.
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