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Teaching Eliza Paperback – October 14, 2017
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About the Author
Riana Everly was born in South Africa, but has called Canada home since she was eight years old. She has a Master’s degree in Medieval Studies and is trained as a classical musician, specialising in Baroque and early Classical music. She first encountered Jane Austen when her father handed her a copy of Emma at age 11, and has never looked back. Riana now lives in Toronto with her family. When she is not writing, she can often be found playing string quartets with friends, biking around the beautiful province of Ontario with her husband, trying to improve her photography, thinking about what to make for dinner, and, of course, reading!
Top customer reviews
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Miss Everly’s prose is pure, elegant Regency--bitingly funny at times, achingly tender at others. I especially love how artfully she wove in several famous Pride & Prejudice quotes. At more than 100,000 words, the reader has the satisfying treat of sinking into the enjoyment of Miss Everly’s endeavor. The author has an excellent command of Austen’s writing style, and the novel is well-researched. “Teaching Eliza” is a not to be over-looked addition to the burgeoning JAFF canon.
The story uses the settings and incidents of Pride and Prejudice, and our favorite people are well-represented with the addition of a few more to move the plot along. The characters are fully fleshed out and well-stitched together. Colonel Fitzwilliam takes his place as Shaw’s Col. Pickering, protecting Elizabeth from Mr. Darcy’s—Henry Higgins—roughest edges. Mr. Darcy as a world-renowned professor of linguistics, is resentful of the distractions of young ladies throwing their caps at him. Elizabeth Bennet is a green country miss, given the opportunity to be brought out in London society and she does not want her informal manners, lack of accomplishments, and unrefined speech to embarrass her benefactress.
A bargain is made between our querulous hero and feisty heroine, he will teach her to be the perfect London lady, and in return, she will pose as his betrothed for several months to keep his aunt from announcing his engagement to Anne Darcy without his consent as well as other unwanted female attention. They are convinced that by throwing him over she will secure her place in the ton and each of them will get exactly what they want from their mutual endeavor. We follow Elizabeth and Darcy through her lessons, where she teaches him to behave like a gentleman as much as he teaches her to be a lady. I love how Elizabeth uses her wit and humor to put Darcy in his place. Of course, he eventually realizes he loves her piquant set-downs, too!
When they remove themselves to London, Elizabeth is cloistered away with Darcy and an array of dancing masters, hair dressers, piano teachers and Darcy himself, to complete her transformation. She is introduced to Richard’s elder brother, Freddy and their mother the Countess of Malton. They befriend her, and it is through them that she gains the confidence she needs to take up her place in society. Sweet, wealthy, titled Freddy, a town dandy of the highest order, is a worthy rival for Elizabeth’s affection. Where Darcy is demanding and insensitive, Freddy is sympathetic and kind. As it becomes clear he considers Elizabeth worthy of courting, one is left to wonder if he will capture her heart.
In the second half of the novel, the author weaves a wickedly funny, imaginative and satisfying plotline for George Wickham and Caroline Bingley. Also, Elizabeth runs away from London and becomes a friend to Georgiana Darcy who remains deeply depressed after her treatment by Mr. Wickham. Elizabeth’s understanding and warmth begin to ease the young girl’s despair. Both we, and Mr. Darcy, see beyond the country miss turned elegant society lady. Through this original plot twist the author succeeds in bringing the couple together as equals, and Elizabeth has taught Darcy as much, or perhaps more, than he has taught her.
Do not overlook this lovely Pride & Prejudice Fan Fiction novel!
The main storyline is Darcy is a Professor of linguistics and enters into an agreement with Lizzie to change her country accent into the upper class TON accent along with teaching her everything she needs to learn to be acceptable to the highest level of society. In return she entered into a fake betrothal with Darcy to keep other women and especially Lady Catherine away from matchmaking.
On the surface it’s easy to see how this is mostly a Pride and Prejudice variation, but then you see all the facets of Pygmalion thrown in. From the beginning we see Darcy as the curmudgeonly professor of linguistics. Rex Harrison of My Fair Lady kept popping into my mind at the beginning. But it was easy then to picture Colin Firth giving life to this interesting Darcy. The character was almost a caricature because this Darcy wasn’t silent and brooding; no, he gave offense often when opening his mouth and his hauteur wasn’t limited to looks but again to whatever came out of his mouth. He was arrogant and conceited to the nth degree!
And yet, Eliza Bennet wants him to improve her speech and comportment. She doesn’t have the Eliza Doolittle cockney accent and severely unrefined ways, but Darcy still has a country girl with a country accent to contend with. And he is willing to do so for a price, a price I’ll let you discover. Really, this is a story you need to read to appreciate with all the little surprises. There’s no mystery of suspense, but it was so much fun to read I don’t wanna spoil it.
The only thing I will say is Colonel Fitzwilliam has an endearing older brother (the viscount) who plays somewhat of an important role.
Like Elizabeth I found myself annoyed with Darcy in this story. And yet fascinated with all his different personas. I loved Darcy at his most vulnerable and charming, and though he feels he taught Eliza a great deal, he was truly as much a student, if not moreso.
Such a great story that I would read again and again.
Thank you for the pleasure, Riana.