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Darcy and Elizabeth: Christmas 1811: Pride and Prejudice behind the scenes (Sweet Tea Stories) Kindle Edition
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|Length: 211 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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Elizabeth has the whole uncomfortable situation with Mr. Collins, of course, and her mother's continued vehement disapproval when she refuses his marriage proposal. There's some expansion on the idea that Mary would have rejoiced if she had been able to garner Mr. Collins' attentions, and there's also plenty of evidence that Jane is brokenhearted at Mr. Bingley's abandonment.
Most of the Meryton part of the story, however, focuses on Elizabeth's relationship with Mr. Wickham. He clearly singles her out at local gatherings where both are present. Interestingly, she observes his easily he sidesteps complete truthfulness when it's convenient to do so. Mrs. Bennet encourages Elizabeth to secure him as a husband, and Mr. Bennet and Jane both approve of him, but Elizabeth is surprised when her Aunt Gardiner has a decidedly different opinion. We learn how engaged Elizabeth's feelings may or may not be and her response when Mr. Wickham turns his attentions from her to Mary King. Once the Bennets are ushering in the New Year with their family tradition, she gives up hope of a future with Mr. Wickham.
Darcy doesn't exactly have a Happy Christmas, either. No matter how he tries to push his thoughts about her aside, he's got Elizabeth Bennet on the brain. Meanwhile, Bingley is comically clueless about Caroline's desire to become Mrs. Darcy and pushes Darcy into two very uncomfortable social situations with his sister. Colonel Fitzwilliam and mother persuade him to attend a ball, as they coordinate what they believe is an appropriate Twelfth Night role for him and a partner who will be agreeable because she is already betrothed to another. Nothing diminishes Darcy's preoccupation with Elizabeth, and he comes to an important resolution by the time the book ends.
As always with Ms. Grace's books, the writing is excellent and the characters are consistent with Jane Austen's. I love the Regency Christmas rituals that are integrated into the story too, as we learn about the charms and their symbolism found within the flaming plum pudding, preparations in anticipation of the "first footer," and what’s involved in a Twelfth Night celebration. While the story itself isn’t romantic-- come on… what do you expect when Darcy and Elizabeth are separated for the entire book??-- love and attraction are certainly in the thoughts of both as they envision their respective futures.
Sometimes I feel unsatisfied with “behind the scenes” stories because it’s hard to fill in these missing pieces and still give them the structure a novel or novella requires: a turning point and a significant change in attitude or circumstance. Happily, this one does a believable job of providing that for each of these parallel stories.
Not bad writing, just nothing to see here so keep moving.