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Mr. Darcy's Mail-Order Bride: A Pride and Prejudice Variation Paperback – November 16, 2016
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About the Author
Joy Dawn King fell in love with Jane Austen's writings in 2012 and discovered the world of fan fiction shortly after. Intrigued with the many possibilities, she began developing her own story for Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet. At the time she wrote her first novel, "A Father's Sins", she was living high in the Andes Mountains of South America. Joy loved to take an occasional break from the Latin culture and bury herself in reading English literature about her favorite English characters. Joy, and her husband of 35 years, lived next door to their only child, Jennifer, her husband, and twin grandchildren and is a native Oregonian. In late 2014 the Kings relocated to Oregon where other stories popped into her head. She is typing as fast as she can to keep up.
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To the modern sensibilities, the concept of a ‘mail-order bride’ sends shivers down the spine of most women. To those adventurous of soul and with a willingness to gamble, this would not even phase them as they would see the practical side to the offer. It would be a venture that Charlotte Lucas would be more than willing to attempt. But we are talking about Jane and Elizabeth Bennet here.
In most arranged marriages, you have family members doing the match making, and in this case, it was Uncle Gardiner [acting as the mediator] returning from the west carrying a letter of introduction for Jane from one Charles Bingley.
Jane was so moved by his letter that she requested that Elizabeth write back for her as she didn’t feel up to responding to the poetry he quoted. Were you surprised by Charles being able to write such a letter? Spoiler: He didn’t… Darcy did. So, we have a double case of Cyrano de Bergerac, where E&D are both moved by each other’s letters. After months of exchanging letters, Charles proposes and Jane accepts. At the bottom of the letter was a proposal for Elizabeth from a Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy, friend and neighbor to Charles. Thus, the sisters would be neighbors. They both accepted and headed west for a new life.
This was adorable. Yeah, it leaned a bit modern; however, it was hilarious and so much fun. I loved this Elizabeth. She reminded me so much of Jane Powell in the movie Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. Elizabeth was a spit-fire and didn’t take anything off anyone. She worked like a workhorse and managed all within her realm with a tight rein, thank you very much. No one would cross her… if they knew what was good for them.
I need to point out that this was a quick read and one you won’t want to put down. I so appreciated the minimalist writing as our author didn’t draw out scenes to the point of boredom. She stated what she needed to say and moved on. This approach made the story light in tone and was easy to read. The relations of our characters evolved in a gentle slow manner as the strangers were married with hours of meeting each other. I enjoyed the gentle evolution of our characters as they found they were more alike than they thought. There was a sensuality to our couple but no sex scenes.
JAFF readers have always been fascinated with the relationship between our dear couple. Authors have had to walk a fine line so Darcy was not portrayed as too disdainful, proud and taciturn. Or, showing Elizabeth as too prejudice, stubborn, moody and obstinate. King found that balance where there was a smattering of their worst characteristics, but then let our characters evolve into the perfect blend of what we love best in our couple. I simple adored this E&D. I’m sorry, it hit me just right.
King then did something that most JAFF authors rarely attempt. She allowed Elizabeth to question why Wickham’s penchant for wrongdoing was not exposed to the innocent public. King then had Elizabeth explain why the ‘Failure to Warn’ was harmful to society at large. This was so eloquent and reasonable that I was impressed with the author’s attempt to clarify and state the seriousness of the situation. It was really well done. Like I said, this Elizabeth was one savvy piece of characterization. I really liked her.
We had brief exposure from Caroline Bingley… miss high-and-mighty. She and Lydia locked horns and circled their wagons. It was hilarious. Once again, Elizabeth surprised everyone with her ‘mistress of the house’ stance. Hilarious. OMG!!! Charles Bingley, may be affable and gentle, but where Jane is concerned he is a bear. This was so much fun.
Lydia’s situation was just sad. Such a silly, stupid, girl, and yes, she fell [rather walked] into the clutches of Mr. Wickham with a surprise that I’ve never seen before. OMG!!! What a revelation. I did not see it coming.
The Bennet situation was worse in this work that I’ve ever seen in JAFF. I resent more than ever Mr. and Mrs. Bennet and their behavior toward the welfare of their girls. Their outcome was a shock. I didn’t see that coming either. It was too creative and cute to boot. Yeah, you can tell I really liked this story. I needed it after reading high angst stories recently. It gave me a chuckle.
Bingley wants a wife and Jane and Bingley correspond by mail. They decide to marry, not knowing that Darcy wrote Bingley's letters and Elizabeth wrote Jane's. Darcy falls for Jane through the letters and proposes to Elizabeth hoping she is the same as Jane.
Jane and Bingley's characters were no surprise and there are a few cute scenes about Jane's domestic skills.
The story focused on Darcy and Elizabeth's relationship; neither being what the other expected. I liked Elizabeth's character. She was a take charge person, doing what must be done and letting everyone know who was in charge of her household. Darcy was Darcy expecting no one to question his authority. They clashed, but it wasn't long, drawn out with page after page of angst.
The story is well written and edited, fast paced and light read. For those interested, no sex or violence. I might add, the price was reasonable and I will read it again.
First, it is not overwritten!!! Mrs. King, I find, has this incredible talent for writing subtlety. Whether it's mischief, anger, or romance...take a breath, she creates a vision with her words...very few words actually, and I find that I want to either, shake Charles for his denseness, slap Caroline for her b'ness, or kiss Darcy, because he's...well, Darcy!!!
Second...this Lizzy is no wimp!!! She meets the standards of what an Oregon Woman is...and I should know, because I'm one too, and quite proud of it.
And third, Mrs. King, I have to tell you, that I absolutely love how you have portrayed my home state, and Oregonians, as a whole. It IS that beautiful here, when we listen to the winds in the tops of the trees, where we see the mountains come and sit down on the beach, and where I listen and hear the deer out on my deck, or see them in the window from our garage, as they and their babies lay down on the lawn. It's a nice place to drink the day's first cup of coffee...but I am sure that you know what I mean...being an Oregon Girl yourself!!! And we do not run inside when it rains...but we stand out in it!!! You did us proud...and I thank you!!!
This is a very nice story...for all kinds of reasons. Mrs. King...you sure do know how to write...I'm a big fan!!! Looking forward to more!
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SETTING: Oregon, 1869
MAIN CHARACTERS: Elizabeth and Jane Bennet, Mr. Darcy, and Mr.Read more