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One Love - Two Hearts - Three Stories: A Pride & Prejudice Anthology: The Library, Married!, Ramsgate Paperback – May 1, 2015
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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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Love is in the air…or was that the library
The one thing readers of JAFF have always wanted was more face time with ODC [our dear couple]. In this short story by J. Dawn King we have that. The reader was witness to a window of time when Elizabeth and Darcy are in the Netherfield library during the time Elizabeth helped care for Jane during her illness.
In spite of their reticence, ODC open up in a way we do not normally get to see. As our author pointed out, the scales fell from their eyes as they saw a whole new side to the person in front of them. It was revealing, poignant, heart wrenching, and delicious to hear their coming to understand each other. The feelings that had been hidden for so long was now allowed to bubble forth unhindered.
A pivotal moment was when Caroline barged into the serene setting and caused a scene that made the reader want to sit up and shout. Way to go Darcy. I loved the footman…keep an eye on him. The epilogue was delightful…simply delicious. OMG!!! I wanted to cry. It was so cute.
Part 2: Married! 5-stars
A good deed rewarded…or not
As Elizabeth traveled the coach from London north to Meryton, she noticed a teenager that seemed to be in distress. The woman and man traveling with the girl did not seem to treat her well and Elizabeth decided to intervene. This opening scene started an avalanche of events that ended by compromising Elizabeth’s reputation. Yeah, this is a P&P variation so we know the identity of the teenager and her companions. As the title indicates, the result of the compromise was a wedding.
The rest of the story was Elizabeth dealing with a new husband, a new sister who acted like Lydia only dressed better and a new set of relations that acted as bad or worse than her own relations. Such is married life.
I liked the way Ms. King didn’t rush the evolution of the affection of ODC. In many variations authors have Elizabeth hating Darcy and in the next paragraph in love with him. No, this took time. I loved the little steps as they circled and then walked toward each other. They weighed their options, evaluated each and all possibilities, and came to the conclusion we all long for…a HEA.
Characters: Mr. Collins was his usual toady self. How many times have we wanted to ram a fist into his disgusting face? OH, and he was vile. We were given a glimpse into his inner thoughts…shudder.
Lady Catherine was deliciously awful as was her brother Lord Matlock. Those two were a pair. How on earth did our dear Colonel come from the loins of that horrid man? He must take after his mother, Lady Matlock. I loved her.
Caroline was her supercilious self. Oh, does she ever get the surprise of her life and so well done. Delicious. Jane and Bingley were their usual selves.
Georgiana was a teenager flexing her fledgling wings and not doing a good job of it. She was the catalyst that started the whole debacle and then didn’t want any consequences. This caused major problems for everyone around her. She flitted from one object to another and Elizabeth [well used to sisters] called her on it. This caused more than one disagreement between Darcy and Elizabeth.
I loved the Gardiner’s, they were simply awesome. Mr. Gardiner proved to be a better uncle than Lord Matlock. The revelation of the Fitzwilliam business dealings was a shock. But not as big a shock as the reason behind the Fitzwilliam’s push to unite the Rosings and Pemberley estates. OMG!!! The real feelings of the Fitzwilliam brother and sister toward Mr. Darcy senior broke my heart. The machinations of the siblings toward the marriage connections for Darcy, and our dear Colonel will shock and amaze. How could a father…?
The epilogue was delightful and I loved the conclusion to this short story. Yeah, it was fantastical in places; however, for those who believe in fate…Elizabeth could very well have been on a coach with a rebellious teenager that would change her life. I believe.
Part 3: Ramsgate: 5-stars
The seashore and a walk on the beach
Like Darcy, when we hear the word Ramsgate, we shudder. The Gardiners have taken a house at Ramsgate and the Bennet family was on holiday with them. While strolling on the beach Elizabeth and Jane encounter Georgiana Darcy and her companion Mrs. Younge. They soon discover that they are staying next door to each other. So begins a friendship between the elder Bennet ladies and Georgiana.
This was a short-short story and action moved very quickly. Like a DVD on fast forward, the machinations of Wickham and Mrs. Younge were soon revealed and a frightened Georgiana sought sanctuary next door with the Gardiner/Bennet household. An express was sent to Darcy in London and the rest, as they say, is history. WOW!!!
When Darcy received the express, his world changed when he read the word Wickham. And then action simply exploded on the page. Before he left London, he sent a quick message to our dear Colonel and he, being the hero we all love to love, was propelled into action. Just a note here: It is not wise to mess with our dear Colonel on a good day. Imagine him upset over Georgiana. No, that is not a force anyone would want to face. Shudder.
Enter Lady Catherine for her share of the conversation and action. She likes to stick her aristocratic nose into everyone’s business. They say a picture is worth a thousand words and Darcy with Elizabeth is one bright picture. Man the feathers fly.
We cannot forget Bingley. Poor Charles; he had absolutely no control over Caroline. When Darcy invited Bingley to join him at Ramsgate… Caroline, who would go to the ends of the earth to be near Darcy, invited herself along and stuck her upturned supercilious nose into the mix. What a mess.
Then we have the introduction of new characters. A father with an unmarried daughter, enough said. He had visions of a connection with the Darcy coffers…I mean a marriage between his daughter and Darcy. Oh the web we weave…the conclusion was hilarious.
J. King pulls a good one on us with the mix-up of characters. It was so creative. I love how she pulled that off. Way to go!!! I like a good mix-up every once in a while, it keeps me on my toes.
In "One Love - Two Hearts - Three Stories," we see 3 different options for how Elizabeth and Darcy meet and marry.
1. The Library - what if Darcy could not help himself from looking - staring - at Elizabeth more than propriety allowed? What if they talked things through? What if Caroline was so clueless yet so brazen? (LOL had to throw that one in there!! Haha!). I loved this short story. It shows how flawed ODC really is and how arrogant and prejudiced they BOTH were. I loved the fact that they held a conversation and put things on the table!!! Well done!!
2. Married! - what if during the elopement, Elizabeth was on the same coach as Wickham, Georgiana, and Mrs Younge? What if Elizabeth was summoned home as the prospective bride of the slimy Mr Collins? This is a more full-length story, and very delightful in how Elizabeth and Darcy meet. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this story, it had just the right amount of angst that I wasn't a nervous wreck, but enough that it wasn't boring. Some may say it was to quick with the emotions and attachment of ODC, but that is the prerogative of the writer. This is not exactly canon, but it is in a way. I actually enjoyed the stubborn and entitled Georgiana struggling to understand how her decisions have consequences, and how Elizabeth is amazing with the reformation of Georgiana. I always felt she got off too easy in regards to her near elopement with Wickham.
3. Ramsgate - what if the Gardiners and Bennet's were in Ramsgate at the same time as Georgiana? What if Georigana fell fast in friendship with Elizabeth? This story was short but sweet. It starts with Elizabeth and Georgiana becoming fast friends while vacationing in Ramsgate. With this friendship, Georgiana finds she has someone to turn to when she finds things aren't as they seem. With Elizabeth's guidance and support, Georgiana sums Darcy to Ramsgate. Again some may not like the short but sweet, but I loved this story, it was refreshing to see Darcy not struggle so much with his affections, and to have the support of Colonel Fitzwilliam and Georgiana.
All in all, I would HIGHLY recommend this book to any and all JAFFer, especially if you are in the need for a D&E book with reduced angst!!!! I look forward to what else the talented J Dawn King publishes in the future, she has a devoted reader in me!!!!