- Series: Willow Hall Romance
- Paperback: 260 pages
- Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (February 16, 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1543042910
- ISBN-13: 978-1543042917
- Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.6 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.3 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #341,649 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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So Very Unexpected: A Pride and Prejudice Variation Novel (Willow Hall Romance) (Volume 3) Paperback – February 16, 2017
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Top Customer Reviews
1) And Then Love: the Philip and Lucy Dobney story.
2) The Tenant’s Guest: Darcy and Elizabeth’s second chance at love.
3) So Very Unexpected: Lydia’s story
4) At All Costs: Bingley’s quest for Jane and Mary Ellen Dobney will get her heart’s desire.
At the beginning of this book, Brown stated that she was unsure if there would be additional stories.
It is not advisable to read book three without reading the others. The groundwork and foundation for this story and its characters are laid out in books one and two. The characters are like threads running throughout all the books and are necessary to the completion of the series.
I just want to say that I love these characters. Brown created a universe for our characters to live, love and work in that was just sublime. The area was, of course Derbyshire, and Austen herself declared in her writing that it was the best county. The descriptions of its beauty continue in this story as well.
Lydia: a paradox of beauty, talents, creativity and spunk. I really like the character that Brown created for us. She was smart, cunning, a little ditsy [possible blonde roots there… no offense to blondes, I love you guys], and a blank slate ready to be written upon.
“What you see and what you hear depends a great deal on where you are standing. It also depends on what sort of person you are.” C.S. Lewis, The Magician’s Nephew
Since we have Lydia’s perspective on things, we had to remember that her lens was perhaps a bit distorted. Her viewpoint, through that lens… tended to skew her self-image toward the negative. She was smart, and yet read in private, because Lizzy always had their father’s ear and time in the book-room. Mary was always scolding and expounding on nonsensical theses; how could anyone get a word in edgewise? Would she be musical? Who knows, Mary always occupied the pianoforte in her own attempt to garner attention with her accomplishments. She acknowledged that she was perhaps as beautiful as Jane, but did not have her sister’s serenity and graceful manner. Instead she compensated by being vivacious and outgoing. She could flirt with the best of them and her mother encouraged her to use her assets to best advantage. With such a mother encouraging her, how could she go wrong?
Oh dear… this nearly broke my heart. I REALLY was upset with Mr. & Mrs. Bennet. I acknowledge that, as parents, they had it especially hard raising that many children. With five daughters, Mrs. Bennet was beside herself trying to marry them off before Mr. Bennet died and Mr. Collins tossed them into the hedgerows. Mr. Collins would inherit Longbourn [their estate] due to an entail against the female line. With no son, Mr. Collins was next in line to inherit.
In book 2 Lydia learned that her sisters were in Derbyshire. She, along with her maid and an escort for protection, left Brighton and traveled to Derbyshire. Yeah, not the smartest notion she ever had. Thus, our story strays from canon with Lydia’s motives being completely different. The only problem was she didn’t think through her situation and she was now facing the consequences of her actions… a marriage to her escort [Mr. Wickham] in order to save her reputation. In her mind, her actions were perfectly logical; however, to society, she was ruined and a marriage was the only solution to save her reputation and that of her family.
“The eye sees only what the mind is prepared to comprehend.” Robertson Davies, Tempest-Tost
I had a hard time reconciling the actions and feelings of everyone toward Lydia in this story. We, the readers of JAFF, have seen Lydia in every form, fashion, action, and circumstance the authors could contrive. We know her to be foolish, selfish, conceded, self-absorbed, self-centered, brisk, abrasive, flighty, silly and spoiled. The list could go on, but you get my drift.
Now, she was in a new group of people who had no prejudice against her and they saw her in a totally different light. Our author really messed with my mind in this respect. Lydia was portrayed as ignored, neglected and her abilities and opinions disregarded. Her mother and father occupied opposite ends of the spectrum with Lydia in the middle… both going to the opposite extremes. Mr. Bennet in his indolence and neglect, and Mrs. Bennet in her ill advice and over compensation as she spoiled and coddled the girl. The family was not shown in a good light. They were constantly voicing surprise when someone complimented Lydia or praised her selfless actions. It got old.
What a mess. I don’t like to be manipulated by an author; however, I was willing to like this new Lydia. The story ended at 94% and we were given an excerpt from the next book ‘At All Costs.’ It was the prologue and OMG!! We have a meeting of Wickham and Bingley. This, my friends, was a Bingley no one has ever seen before. Heavens… where did he come from? At the end of the prologue we have Wickham’s vow of revenge on the Darcy’s, Bingley’s and the Dobney’s. OMG!!
This is the first time I’ve ever seen a cliffhanger in the form of an excerpt from the next book. Gosh!
4.5 rounded up to 5 stars
I love when Lydia Bennet's character is developed beyond that of an empty-headed, selfish girl. This novella shows her to have intellect similar to Elle Woods (Reese Witherspoon's role in Legally Blonde) with an equally unique way of looking at the world. As she explains herself to Marcus Dobney, there's actually an intriguing logic about her illogic. She is given credible motivation for her misbehavior and is brighter and more observant than her family or Mr. Wickham suspect.
The background for this story is described in broad strokes, but it deviates quite a bit from Pride and Prejudice, so it may confuse those who have not read at least the last part of book #2 in this series where Lydia's storyline begins. It turns out that she coerced Wickham to take her from Brighton rather than the other way around and has no false illusions about his moral character. She has no desire to marry him despite her family's insistence that it's the only way to save her reputation.
When offered the opportunity to redeem herself, Lydia grabs at the chance with both hands. It's a delightful character study. For once, I don't pity the man who marries her! This makes it obvious that she's perfect for him and visa versa.