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Mistress: A Pride and Prejudice Variation, with Parts Not Suitable for Those Who Have Not Reached Their Majority Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
I don't shy away from sensual variations of P&P. So I was ready for whatever this tale threw it at me. Turns out, it still wasn't what I expected. Right off the bat you'll discover Elizabeth is Mrs. Collins at the start of this story. While I'm usually turned off by that, fortunately Mr. Collins isn't alive when the story begins. And yet, his spectre haunts throughout and affects Elizabeth to the point she almost turns down her chance at true happiness.
Into the fray is a chastened Darcy. After the ball at Netherfield, many things happen. Mr. Bennet dies, Lizzie becomes engaged, and Darcy is receiving a set down from Bingley about his and Caroline's attempt to separate Charles from Jane. In the midst of this, Darcy contemplates pursuing his own happiness as Charles did, but is too late. I won't say much more about how he went about it, but it's pretty important to the story especially towards the end and is another reason Collins is still troublesome even in death.
Spoiler alert here: Widow Lizzy meets still single Darcy and their relationship is almost instantaneous. Lizzy doesn't notice it because it's so gradual but she comes to care for Darcy and his attentions to her as mistress of Longbourn and as mistress of his heart. But now comes the problem: Lizzy is so scarred from her first marriage she rejects Darcy's impulsive proposal. But then Lizzy comes up with her own proposal. You see, the reason for the story's title is yes she's mistress of an estate, but there's multiple meanings associated with it; basically she offers herself as Darcy's mistress (which now explains the other part of the title). She wants to ensure a healthy physical relationship before locking both of them into a marriage.
Turns out, she quite enjoys the physical aspect of her relationship with Darcy, and they quickly get married. After the marriage she still has some demons to fight but of course they live happily ever after.
As far as the mature scenes go, I've seen more explicit, I've seen less explicit. They're still pretty damn sensual but it's essential to the plot.
I enjoyed this Darcy who was willing to do anything for Lizzy, even conduct a celibate marriage if it meant he could have her. Lucky for him, such a sacrifice wasn't necessary.
I definitely enjoyed this particular work from this author. More than her previous stories for sure. So I'd certainly recommend it!
In the hands of a less skilled writer, this could have been a disaster. It wasn't. Turner writes with sensitivity and the reader certainly understands how motivated by love and compassion is Mr. Darcy. It reminded me a bit of Jean M. Auel's novel, The Valley of Horses, where the heroine, a victim of vicious rape, finally learns what "pleasures" are all about from a Cro-Magnon Darcy type! It also reminds me of a novel I read a long time ago, Marnie by Winston Graham (author of the Poldark series), in which the main character, a young woman who's a serial embezzler, must confront the past in order to overcome her "frigidity" with her husband.
It's an interesting new path to Darcy's and Elizabeth's happily ever after, and sensitively written. I do have a few caveats/suggestions:
1. Readers may be disgusted to read about Mr. Collins's skill as a lover (or lack thereof.) It's mentioned briefly but visually, so hold onto your cookies.
2. Elizabeth's "frigidity" is referenced, and seemed an anachronism to me. In checking with the online etymology dictionary, it appears that the term actually was used for male impotence for several centuries, but it wasn't until Sigmund Freud came along around the turn of the last century that the term became more associated with women's aversion to sex. (Freud was a dirty and misogynistic old man whose sexual skills were probably on a par with the Rev. Collins.) So, yes, a bit of an anachronism, similar to the use of "sibling," another early 20th century psychology term, in Regency tales (which Turner didn't use, but a whole lot of JAFF writers do.) A thought - maybe no one ever bothered to wonder why women weren't enjoying sex prior to 1903, so the term was never applied to women until then?
3. Sorry, can't help bring up one of my pet grammar peeves, and that's inappropriate use of nominative and subjective pronouns. What am I talking about? Well, if you've ever heard someone say, "I got tickets for she and I" and it felt like chalk squeaking on a blackboard, then you understand. Ms. Turner repeatedly used "her" and "him" as predicate pronouns: "That is her" is said by both Darcy and Col. Fitzwilliam, Elizabeth says, "It is him," identifying a tenant who refuses to pay his rent. Sorry to be Henry Higgins here, but I am certain that no self-respecting 19th century British gentlemen or gentlewomen would have fallen into such error. "That is she." "It is he." They may sound off to our modern grammar-mangling ears, but they are correct.
4. I can't help but have some suspension of disbelief issues with Elizabeth's suggestion that they try it on for size. Yes, she's a widow, but especially as one who suffered through the sex she'd experienced, and as a creature of her time (remember, this was even before the prudish Victorians!) she would not have been capable of such a 20th century post-birth-control attitude. If you can accept the unlikely premise, though, you'll enjoy a lovingly-told tale of erotic devotion. Read it with your own Mr. Darcy close by so you can give him, ahem, a detailed book report when you're through.
All in all, it's a well-written novel and I'm blushing only slightly to admit that I read it.
The sexual aspects were well-handled and necessary to the plot. Speaking of the plot, it was original and very well executed. Lizzy was thoroughly scarred by an abusive marriage (sexually, emotionally, and physically) and she's too traumatized to consider leaving the cocoon of an unfulfilling but safe & lonely life--even when she realizes she loves Darcy. But, because she loves him, she wants to at least try to overcome her fears for his sake, thus the idea of a trial relationship without marriage.
The Bennet family dynamics and the effect of the Collins experience scars not only Lizzy but Kitty as well. Mrs. Bennet, as usual, just makes matters worse. Both Lizzy and Darcy are portrayed beautifully, but Darcy, is more sensitive and understanding than I've seen him portrayed before. He instinctively understands Lizzy's fragility and they both put each other's feelings ahead of their own. The results are beautiful to behold.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Elizabeth is Mrs.Read more
Most authors seem to write within a "comfort zone" of characters and situations.Read more
“This and no other is the root from which a tyrant springs; when he first appears, he is a protector.Read more
Great story and in my opinion, masterfully done.
If you are a Jane Austen purist, this book is not for you.Read more
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