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Mr Bennet's Dutiful Daughter: ~ A Pride and Prejudice Variation ~ Paperback – November 16, 2016
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"...the rug was ripped out from beneath me, the complex emotions depicted in both characters were eminently sublime, and I completely adored the small but powerful parts she gave to various secondary characters. Mr. Bennet's Dutiful Daughter is a most magnificent and praiseworthy work and I entreat you to read it immediately if you haven't done so already!" (Meredith Esparza - Austenesque Reviews)
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I am utterly in love with her characterization of both Elizabeth and Darcy in MBDD. Too often, JAFF authors persist in this false portrait of Elizabeth as being so vivacious and independent as to be completely lost to the notion of propriety. Elizabeth is lovable to Darcy because she manages to be charming, witty, and sociable while also being fiercely loyal and unwilling to suffer fools. All those traits are on full display here. As for Darcy: if ever there was a doubt that he would be an exemplary husband in every respect for a woman whose temperament is wholly foreign to his own, Joana dispels it.
The cataclysm of this particular story is, in every conceivable way, much more painful than the memorable first proposal in the original, both during the event and in the aftermath. I can be relied upon to tear up every time I read one of Joana's books, but I think the tears I shed during the major crisis in their marriage have been equaled only by the first time I read THE UNTHINKABLE TRIANGLE. It is heart-rending to the extreme. I can only say that the way Joana bridged the chasm was not only gratifying but also entirely in keeping with her masterful characterization of the two protagonists.
The secondary characters were worthy of inclusion. I was particularly taken by Colonel Fitzwilliam, Bingley (especially in Chapter 24), and Mrs. Gardiner--no great surprise considering each of them is instrumental to the maturation of both Darcy and his relationship with Elizabeth.
Joana does not attempt to write in Regency English, but the style and tone of the book nevertheless perfectly complement Austen's original. She also always has been conscientious in her research of the period, so it is a real pleasure to read the book as a piece of fiction with its own merits rather than as a belabored and ultimately soulless approximation of Jane Austen.
My only regret is that I didn't read this book on the day it was released. Brava, Joana! Thank you once again for another exquisite contribution to JAFF!
The writing is well done, and the book is well edited. My only complaint is that the resolution felt rushed for the level of angst that was felt through the majority of the book. It was a bit anti-climactic. There was a very sweet epilogue from Mrs. Reynolds, but I felt like I didn't get enough of a view of the happily ever after to 'heal' the emotional turmoil the characters (and I) went through.
I still highly recommend this book and author.
I think the best P&P variations veer away from canon, surprising the reader with some twist to the original story line. This perfect book had little of the usual villians. Lady Catherine, Wickham, Lydia, Mr Collins made appearances, but only on the edges of the story. No talk of Ramsgate or Brighton here. But in this marriage of convenience story, each page is full of Darcy and Elizabeth. I will not retell her story, it but will only say that Joana Starnes renditions of Mr Darcy are always my favorite. In Mr Bennet's Dutiful Daughter, she has managed to write him so beautifully, Elizabeth could not help but fall in love with him. I certainly did. He is still proud and reserved but he wholeheartedly loves her and tries mightily hard to show her. Elizabeth's characterization is spot on as she is determined to make the best of marriage to a man she barely knows and harldy understands.
I urge everyone who loves these two characters to read this one. You will not be disappointed.
This story starts out at Hunford and before Col Fitzwilliam can tell the oopsie, Darcy comes riding into the scene to bring grave news to Elizabeth about her father. He sends the Col away to make preparations and while he is alone with Elizabeth he tells her about the express that she received and that her cousin opened and shared with Lady C. Darcy is as devastated as Elizabeth and wanting to protect her he makes his proposal then. Though it is still as insulting as the original Elizabeth doesn't give him the set down, she says nothing other than she's surprised! The story goes on from there with Elizabeth seeing that marrying him has some perks. Mostly an advantage to her family and especially to Jane. She has to keep this all away from Darcy because she doesn't really want to hurt his feelings and she does learn more about his character. We see the progression into each of there characters and the hardships and prejudices on each side to concur. Plus add into this a huge turn of events happens in there relationship that is so angst driven that I had a box of tissues at my side. But has all P&P stories we do get our happily ever after.
This was an unbelievably well written and incredible story. I highly recommend to everyone not JAFF readers!
I also loved the incite from Mrs. Reynolds. Marvelous!