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Snowbound at Hartfield: A Sweet Tea Novella; Pride and Prejudice sequel (Sweet Tea Stories Book 4) Kindle Edition
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|Length: 188 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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This is indeed a sweet story, in which we see known characters from a novel angle through the eyes of other Jane Austen characters, and we find surprising depth in Elizabeth Elliot, who after some self-examination accepts her faults and chooses better principles to guide her decisions. Very cute and humorous scenes round this story out, an enjoyable regency romance, a comfortable, cozy time spent in Jane Austen's world.
Fitzwilliam has his own demons, and he is afraid he will never be rid of them. He is quite literally drowning on dry land. He needs a lifeline. Can Elizabeth Elliot be that lifeline? He thinks she can.
Maria Grace paints pictures. She is perhaps my favorite author because of these sweeping landscapes of emotion that she paints. For me, the most poignant picture in the entire book is a fleeting thought Elizabeth has, but it quite literally leapt off the page for me - "They must invite Anne and Wentworth to stay soon. The two men were so similar. They would relish each other's company." Anne and Elizabeth need each other, and maybe, just maybe, Elizabeth finally realizes her own worth, for it appears that she recognized that of her sister for some time.
Read this, as soon as you may. Austen cross-overs may be my new favorite obsession. And Maria Grace, thank you ma'am may we have another!
This was a lovely story, one that I'd not mind seeing more of in the future.
First, the book felt like I was running into old friends. Here was Mr. Bennet, Mr. Darcy, Elizabeth Darcy, Colonel Fitzwilliam, Emma, and Mr. Knightly! All characters for whom I have inordinate fondness, and whom I like to think of in their future endeavors. But what’s this? Sir Walter Elliot and his over-proud daughter Elizabeth Elliot? They’re not favorites of mine; are they here for comic effect? A foil for the heroine? Wait! It seems that Elizabeth Elliot is to be the romantic protagonist! How can this be?
Quite well done, actually. Elizabeth Elliot is not the same woman she is at the beginning of Austen’s "Persuasion". Her cousin’s defection and his making her former best friend his mistress has humbled her into the dust. Well, comparatively humbled her. The author doesn’t foolishly do a complete turnaround for Elizabeth. She is still a baronet’s daughter. She is still aware of her station. But now she is aware she is a spinster who has to practice economies. A woman abandoned by a suitor in favor a younger sister, and then had that suitor take the woman she was closest to as his lover. The humiliation is almost, but not quite, as bad as the pain of her friend's betrayal.
Colonel Fitzwilliam is no longer the cocky free-spirited young man he was in Pride and Prejudice, either. He’s got what would later be known as shell-shock, or post traumatic stress disorder. He fought in the Napoleonic wars, and they were brutal. He’s embarrassed by his condition, because such things were thought of as personal failings in the Regency era. (There are still some idiots who think it is a personal failing nowadays, too – but we won’t speak of them.) He no longer feels like quite the catch he once was. He is now landed, and can marry without “some attention to money”, but what woman would have him? He has scars. He can no longer hunt because he cannot bear the sound of the guns. He doesn't think he should marry a sweet young thing fresh on the marriage mart -- but, maybe a properly bred youngish woman otherwise on the shelf?
The charming element of the book is the way the fall in love, wherein their flaws become assets to one another, and the reader is left with a decided satisfaction that Fitzwilliam and Miss Elliot achieve their happily ever after.
I really enjoyed this novella, and would recommend it to any Austen or Regency romance fan.