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Love Letters from Mr. Darcy: A Pride and Prejudice Novella Paperback – October 11, 2016
"Warlight" by Michael Ondaatje
A dramatic coming-of-age story set in the decade after World War II, "Warlight" is the mesmerizing new novel from the best-selling author of "The English Patient." Learn more
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About the Author
Joy Dawn King started telling stories from an early age. However, she did not write any of them down until she was 57 years old. While living high in the Andes Mountains of Ecuador with her husband and family, she read Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice for the first time. It was love at first page. After she was done, she longed for more. When searching for another copy of Jane Austen’s writings, she happened upon several books that offered alternative paths to happily ever after for Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet. She purchased and read as many as she could find. Finally, in early 2014, she had an idea for a story about the couple that would not go away. Thus, her first book, A Father’s Sins: A Pride and Prejudice Variation, was born. Since then, Joy and her husband moved back to the U.S. and plot bunnies kept hopping in and out of her imagination. Now, it’s all she can do to keep up with them. But, she tries.
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The feminist Lizzy in the final pages came out of nowhere to take charge of things. I didn't feel this was a smooth transition. Nor did I feel that Darcy, Fitzwilliam, and a soldier referenced by Fitzwilliam embracing submission to women of strong character fit in particularly well with the story line. Character strength in Lizzy is good, but character strength in Lady Catherine and Anne is bad. This whole subject needed a bit more thought and polish.
Don't get me wrong, the book is entertaining. But it had the potential to be so much better if Lizzy's character, her feelings, and her actions had been better thought and fleshed out. It was too short a book to take on so much. If it had just been a romance with no subliminal messages, it would have been better.
While Elizabeth declines to read his letter in its entirety, she does take it. Darcy finds release in writing a couple of subsequent letters to her and, maddeningly, she accepts but does not read them. There is an intriguing development in Anne de Bough's storyline, and Elizabeth finds herself reading them at Miss de Bough's insistence.
This isn't a very long book so I don't want to give away too much of the story, but the content of the letters and tokens he sends to her while they're separated heighten both Elizabeth's and the reader's anticipation for when they next see each other. Darcy definitely figures out how to ease into Elizabeth's heart. So romantic!
Lady Catherine gets a rude surprise (well, actually, more than one!), which is always fun to read. The interplay among the three cousins (Darcy, Anne and Colonel Fitzwilliam) and Elizabeth is just delightful. Probably the most surprising element is learning how content Charlotte is in her marriage to Mr Collins and why, and what Elizabeth learns from their example. The author accomplishes this believably but doesn't significantly alter his character.
I was truly charmed by this low-angst novella.
Yes, the focus is on letters in this lovely “feel-good” tale; beginning with the one in which he responds to her accusations. And it is not just Darcy’s letters delivered into Elizabeth’s possession but not read…Lady Catherine gets her hands on information not intended for her ears or eyes. And as per her MO, she attempts to use the knowledge now in her possession to gain the accomplishment of her long-time goal. I don’t have to tell you what that is. And the hateful lady is not above “bait-and-switch” to get obstacles removed from her gaining that.
One of the interesting ways the author handles this story is that Elizabeth refuses to read any of the letters from Darcy…but she is intrigued by the sign-off on the back of each. They are not the same but they convey feelings with just a few words.
And speaking of few words, Elizabeth in sensing that her feelings are confused or even possibly changing demands a separation of 30 days during which she will not see Darcy nor speak with him. Now the Colonel has spoken of waging a campaign and laying out plans. I smile as I think of the ingenuity written here. Can you imagine? Could you come up with…30 one-word communications …oh, so sweet? I do love how the men involved covered any possible impediments to those plans.
As another review mentions, the author reminds us that if we look hard enough we can find something good in most men. Mr. Collins has a daily practice which he does not brag about or put forth in conversation. I was truly touched as I read of this and of Elizabeth being given pause in this revelation about her cousin.
As an aside: did you know ODG has a talent for skimming smooth pebbles across a pool of water? Read how she challenges a couple of He-Men to best her accomplishment here.
I have to say that Anne de Bourgh almost came across as having a split personality: one minute she is all gumption with plans for her future and then next she meekly retreats back to Rosings to “think about what she wants".
I enjoyed this story both as a Work-in-Progress and as a published novella, as I have also enjoyed the author’s other works.
Not so in this story Henry -- Darcy is the letter writer here and a good job he does of it, too.
The bad news: E refuses to read them
The good news: E listens to him instead and D promises "he would write her as many letters as she would be unwilling to read; a lifetime of them, if necessary."
The post office has a great charm at one point of our lives. When you have lived to my age, you will begin to think letters are never worth going through the rain for. ~Jane Austen