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The Courtship of Edward Gardiner: A Pride & Prejudice Prequel Paperback – October 20, 2016
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The story focuses shrewdly—because who didn’t want to know?—on how Elizabeth Bennet’s aunt and uncle Gardiner came to be a couple. After Edward Gardiner’s first romantic suit (great opening scene) doesn’t prosper, Mr. Bennet has dragged his brother-in-law off on an expedition to northern England, intended as a visit to Bennet’s ailing younger brother. Benighted in Lambton by the timely illness of a nine-year-old Jane Bennet, Mr. Gardiner and eight-year-old Elizabeth are thrown into intimacy with a local young woman, the daughter of a bookkeeper. As with most contemporary romance stories, attraction is immediate, and with two such nice (in the modern sense) protagonists, little occurs to disturb the progress of romance.
Sadly, I must continue to rail, as I do ad nauseam, against the prevalence of modern language and modern sensibilities in period romance. In this case I have to deplore the use of unnecessary intensifiers in place of the serviceable “he said,” “she asked,” and the few other invisible signposts that readers can absorb without registering them consciously. “She intoned,” “he quieted her,” “he husked” (is that even a thing?), and their ilk are phrasings that simply distract the reader, and they are markers of the amateur writer. In a book as delightful as this one, it was a pity to find so many. Trust that your dialogue and action speak for themselves! I also had difficulty envisioning Mr. Bennet as a mischievous matchmaker, though in other regards his character was fairly entertaining. And Clarkston occasionally falls into the trap of over-intensifying the traits of original characters—Mrs. Bennet is one who is taken to extremes here.
The fact that most of the action takes place at Lambton should serve to alert the reader that many of the characters in *Pride and Prejudice* make an appearance in these pages. Sometimes the symmetries and coincidences got to be a bit much, but I was along for a pleasurable ride and so I went with it. Some of the crossing of social lines seemed a bit anachronistic, but in general Clarkston’s grasp of village society and working people’s lives seemed believable. And the basis she offers for the friendship of Darcy and Bingley is the most plausible I have seen.
I liked that the focus of the romance was on finding a good life partner, not on heaving bosoms and tightenings of the groin. And the children were all charming, leavening the tale and offering insights into their adult selves without overwhelming the story. This was a delightful read.
[I purchased a copy without being urged to do so.]
After failure to secure the hand of his first lady who he thought he was in love with and when he meets Madeline, he knows he found the perfect woman.
The author had through words described Lizzy to a tee as a child. I enjoyed reading about the adventure of their travels with Lizzy and Jane as children. The novel was interesting as well as entertaining and was an easy read.
Many of the characters were the same and not all included from previous novels and there were a few new characters added that made the plot interesting and added to the story.
At first when I bought the novel, I thought the courtship might have been one of the Gardiner children but low and behold it was the uncle. I gave it a five star review as it was worth everything a six star would be! Looking forward to the next novel from Nicole!