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One Thread Pulled: The Dance With Mr. Darcy (Volume 1) Paperback – August 15, 2012
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The foundation of One Thread Pulled was laid on the unexpected luxury of spare time. In mid-October 2010, my 40-hours per week job was slashed to 10 hours per week. I started to do a lot of reading, and came across the world of Jane Austen Fan Fiction. After reading several excellent works, the question came to me: What if Elizabeth did not hear Mr. Darcy insult her? And then, I could not rest until I began to write, and the story unfolded from there.
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The characterization is amazing. While retaining their "Austen-y" essence, Ms. Oaks has given every player additional dimension and created softer, more realistic versions of each. They are both more maddening and more sympathetic than I can recall in any other P&P fiction (and I've read more than my share). Many of my favorite folks had a wicked good sense of humor that really added to my enjoyment of the novel.
The book reads so quickly that I had finished it before I knew it. One Thread Pulled is full of literary and historical references that weave a richly described tapestry of Regency life. In every chapter, the author has offered layers of nuanced foreshadowing that made me squeal in delight as I found them. It is really well constructed.
The story does not leave off where one would generally expect, but I think it does provide a glimpse into a more realistic Regency era ending than one usually gets in this type of novel. I do hope that Ms. Oaks continues in a sequel. I loved, loved, loved this book and recommend it without qualification.
Jane still gets I'll with Lizzy tending her and during that time more closely drawn to Darcy. Elizabeth also got sick with a flu-like illness under conditions so that she had to stay at Netherfield Park with Jane tending her and a very concerned Darcy and dangerous and intriguing Carolyn and Mr. William. Collins. LIzzy refused Mr. Collins and Mary did not want him either. Charlotte thought she did. Col. Fitzwilliam also visited Darcy at Netherlands Park just in time to be helpful to Darcy when Mr. Collins was trying to compromise Lizzy when she was lying there unconscious and very sick when Mrs. Bennet helped him slip in her room. Carolyn also tried unsuccessfully to endanger Lizzy and Jane.
Characters are well developed in this book. Lizzy is drawn to Darcy but has doubts because of her own concern about the difference between the social spheres of their families. There is less pride and prejudice than in the originaL and an earlier attraction. Mr. Collins, Carolyn Bingley, and Lady Catherine are more obnoxious than in the original Jane Austen version. Mr. Wickham is a problem but eliminated early under suspicious circumstances.
For some reason Mr. Bennet quickly approves Bingley and Jane's marriage and even Mary's suitor, not Mr. Collins. Bingley and Jane can marry quickly, but for some reason which to the reader does not really make good sense, allows Lizzy's betrothal to Darcy at the end but insists on a 6 month engagement after Lizzy has a season in London. The idea is Lizzy needs to see if she will fit into Darcy's first circle society or be unhappy. She can break the engagement if she is not. It sounds more like a way of trying to keep his favorite daughter with him, since Meryton is limited in prospects for suitors. She is to live with Uncle and Aunt Gardiner during that time. Lizzy will need the appropriate wardrobe to fit in. So the book ends. I found an unfinished version of the sequel, Constant As the Sun, on fanfiction.net, and have gotten 6 chapters into it, but I had to re-read this book. There's about 20 chapters of the sequel, but it is unfinished, or at least it is not finished where I have found it. I can better understand why the first book ended in a long betrothal rather than marriage for Lizzy, but I think this will create a lot of problems for the Bennets. Carolyn may be dangerous and possibly insane, but she does not seem to go away as I hoped.
I did absolutely love this book. It is character driven, and shows a lot of emotions and love. It also causes a lot of annoyance. Carolyn is especially obnoxious and hateful, to the point of possible insanity as another family member. There are some surprises here in relationships that are changed from the original Jane Austen version. It is obvious to everyone but Carolyn why she would not be suitable lie for Darcy. Mr. Bennet is less careless than in canon. I remember when I originally read this I could not put it down and was left wanting without knowing where to find any parts of a sequel. I sure hope the published and Kindle version will show up soon. I have read so many of these sequels and variations that it is sometimes hard to keep them apart, since I also run an online business and have times I am challenged for time to write reviews of the really good books like this one. I have read so many of these I cannot count them all (probably have 700 to read or have finished reading). This one of the ones that stood out and left me dying to finish reading it. It was one of the better written ones that I could highly recommend. I must say I am not fond of books concentrating on the Ton in London and all the petty rivalries and jealousies, which Mr. Bennet has subjected Lizzy too. I would think if she married Darcy, they would be more concerned with managing Pemberly and the country in Derbyshire than society in town. I see this as keeping Darcy from his estate and its concerns, which could be important. I enjoyed the reading too much to notice editing flaws, which would have been minor for me to read over them and not be distracted. I do very highly recommend this book. I am hoping to encourage the author to finish this wonderful story (hopefully with a wedding and/or early days of marriage) if cares of life do not cut in too much.
The author gave a more human feeling to the characters, which made it seem much more believable. I especially liked a part where Darcy and Col. Fitzwilliam were conversing together about Darcy's confession of a growing infatuation with Elizabeth. I loved how Col. Fitzwilliam's jovial personality came out with the verbal bantering between the two of them. It made me laugh, I could picture it. It relayed a closeness of spirit and thoughts of what their relationship was like while growing up together.
Another part of the story I found myself completely amused with, is where Mr. Collins goes to Elizabeth's bedchamber with the intent of proposing to her. It was very surprising and it gave an interesting twist to Mr. Collins.
The only negative thing I can say is it seemed toward the end of the book the author was struggling with adding more content to the book then was necessary. Parts about the Bingley family mental conditions, drawn-out conversations between the characters, Elizabeth's father putting a condition on the relationship. Also, one sentence I thought was way out of place was, "...for now we are to the stuff of my dreams". I have a very hard time believing Elizabeth would have ever said the word "stuff"???
Even with that being said, I believe Ms. Oaks did an exceptional job for a 1st write and would encourage her to continue with many more sequels of the Darcy's.