- File Size: 2715 KB
- Print Length: 261 pages
- Publication Date: July 16, 2018
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B07FDS84M2
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #59,797 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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What's Past Is Prologue Kindle Edition
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That same “realism” followed her to this story, which when you peel all the layers back, is essentially a forced marriage variation. Elizabeth’s assumptions that led her to this first month of marriage or so aren’t hard to believe. She figures Darcy is only after her body so she’ll milk that until she can give him a son and thus cement her place as a Darcy and just maybe they won’t have a marriage like the Bennet’s, the source of her paranoia.
What she doesn’t realize, and it is at the heart of my annoyance with her and this story, is that Darcy in fact loves her unconditionally. All the clues are there and yet she remains obtuse. She is so busy sketching everyone’s character ad nauseam that she doesn’t appreciate the love her husband is giving her. And what’s worse, she figures the love he claims to have for her (the one she feels comes with conditions) will be enough; meaning also that she felt she didn’t have to necessarily love him back. Her inevitable epiphany comes way too late for me in this story.
Darcy, God bless him, is just a man violently in love. And despite the violence of his affections, he is undoubtedly a devoted and loving husband. I didn’t think I’d care for this characterization of him, but I ended up really enjoying him.
As far as secondary characters, my biggest surprise was Kitty. Part of it was due to the the author’s writing of her. Poor Kitty, she’s just too outspoken for her own good. But I found myself enjoying her a great deal. SOMEONE had to speak up and say some truths and Kitty certainly brought some levity to the story. The backstory of Darcy’s family (including Lady Catherine’s role) is an interesting one and it did humanize her and make us somewhat sympathetic to her plight. But not too much.
As far as the reasons (at least, Lizzy’s assumed reasons) for the marriage and the physical scenes...I found most of them a bit mechanical and dry. Intentional or not, that’s what I got from it. There were a couple of scenes (especially towards the end) where the passion was truly felt, but I felt for the most part this story wasn’t explicit in those scenes. But it’s still not a book for everyone so caution is necessary....By the way, I did like the levity in those scenes, dry or not.
Ultimately what made this story a good one for me was the witty dialogue and sometimes prose. But I also felt it dragged in some parts and I was really feeling like something (or someone) was missing from the epilogue. It was definitely a funny one, but it felt incomplete to me.
Would definitely re read again.
In this variation, Jane goes on the trip to Derbyshire with the Gardiners instead of Elizabeth. She meets Darcy and is reunited with Bingley. Elizabeth writes to Jane about Lydia’s elopement. Darcy behaves as in the original but Mr Bennet discovers his role. Elizabeth is encouraged to accept his renewed proposal. They marry, but Elizabeth thinks of herself as payment for the debt.
The book is about how they grow as a couple when they encounter adversity, and Elizabeth’s growing affection for and understanding of her husband.
Sex is mentioned, but not a main topic.
This is a tough one to review. The writing is elegant, beautiful, and about as authentic-sounding Regency as you can find in a modern novel, and I really wanted to love the book. But I didn't.
Parts of the plot are intriguing and well-executed. This is especially true of the backstory. We have Elizabeth, who spurned Darcy's marriage proposal at Hunsford but did NOT accompany the Gardiners when they toured Pemberley. Instead, that was Jane, and Mr. Darcy took the opportunity to correct his mistake by making sure that she and Mr. Bingley were reunited. This meant it was Elizabeth who wrote to Jane informing her of Lydia's elopement with Mr. Wickham. Darcy found the couple and paid off Wickham to marry Lydia, as in canon. But Mr. Bingley felt it necessary to inform Mr. Bennet, who confronted Darcy to find out why he would go to such trouble on their behalf. Darcy was forced to confess his love for Elizabeth. Having done that, Darcy felt honor-bound to ask for Elizabeth's hand (not expecting her to agree). Meanwhile, Mr. Bennet was determined to repay the debt...unless Elizabeth agreed to marry Darcy, which she felt she must.
So they have married, but Elizabeth (without the opportunity to fall in love with him in Derbyshire) does not love Darcy and he knows it.
We join them, much too soon after their wedding day, having come to Rosings directly from Longbourn. Darcy's assistance is required for an emergency: the surrounding area has experienced devastating flooding and the estate is in crisis. Lady Catherine has been overspending for decades and never set money aside to deal with such a problem, expecting that Anne's marriage to Darcy would make the Pemberley coffers available to bail her out if necessary. Her disappointment that it didn't turn out that way is extreme, especially since Darcy's resources are currently limited after paying to get the Wickhams married. Unfortunately, his involvement in the matter is not a well-kept secret, and Lady Catherine is not hesitant to take out her displeasure on Elizabeth. She's also maneuvering to get rid of Mr. Collins, who has the misfortune of being Elizabeth's cousin. Georgiana and Kitty are with the newlywed Darcys, as both will be living with them (if they all ever manage to get away from Rosings).
Elizabeth displays wit and good manners despite Lady Catherine's distemper and the appearance of Lord Wortley's annoying second son, Thomas Fitzwilliam. Colonel Albert Fitzwilliam, the third son in the family, thankfully does make an appearance and serves as an affable buffer. Elizabeth does her best to make friends with Anne de Bourgh, who is curiously resistant despite asserting that she never wanted to marry Darcy. Georgiana is terrified of Lady Catherine but also surprisingly submissive of her brother, while Elizabeth sees the young lady has decided opinions of her own that she doesn't express.
We learn that Sir Lewis de Bourgh had very progressive ideas about the education of women but, sadly, died too young to educate either his wife or his daughter to effectively manage Rosings on their own. The senior Mr. Darcy was of the same mind as Sir Lewis, and Mrs. Anne Darcy was Lady Catherine's OLDER sister, so Lady C. deferred to her sister and brother regarding management of Rosings until they died. The intellect and education of women is an admirable theme that recurs throughout the book.
All of the above is good stuff. You can feel Elizabeth's claustrophobia within those ostentatious surroundings and her need to be out, either walking the grounds or visiting with Mrs. Collins and cooing over baby Fanny Collins. You can understand her difficulty trying to understand her husband, who seems like two different people-- one way in company and another in their bed.
Their bedchamber is where I think we get into some TMI territory and some surprising lack of logic on Elizabeth's part. A central theme is her conviction that "a son would remind Darcy of his wife's worth when his passion for her began its inevitable decline." I can believe her struggles and embarrassment regarding their marital relations, considering her innocence and lack of understanding of her husband. Due to Darcy's behavior, she thinks he only loves her because he lusts after her. (Rating is definitely MA.) Although Elizabeth is a willing and responsive partner, she thinks she sees a significant parallel to her parents' unhappy pairing: a gentleman marries a pretty girl to whom he's attracted. Could Darcy grow to view her with disdain over time as the disparity of their union pulls them apart, as she saw with Mr. and Mrs. Bennet?
I can buy this idea to a point, but come on! The intellectual difference between Elizabeth and her mother is too obvious to miss. Mrs. Bennet probably DID "catch" Mr. Bennet with "arts and allurements," since she encourages her daughters to employ them. Elizabeth never did that, so why does she believe the only way she can keep his interest is in bed? She already respects Darcy's intellect; it doesn't ring true to me that she doesn't recognize his admiration for her own. Also, a LONG overdue conversation between the two near the end of the book has Darcy explaining that he's happy to have a daughter inherit Pemberley, and there's no entail to prevent it. I can't see why Elizabeth wouldn't broach this subject with him sooner, since it distresses her so much.
I wish the author had explained Elizabeth's insecurity as due to Darcy's apparent aloofness and their inability to have a "normal" honeymoon period. While the bedchamber scenes are not overly graphic, there are a lot of them. The author starts most chapters with a "morning after" scene. And the bride's discomfort with her husband's presence when she needs to use the water closet or deal with her courses is so strong that the reader becomes uncomfortable about it.
And the big "I love you" moment? Totally anticlimactic. I wasn't even positive it WAS a declaration of love but could be interpreted as "I'll grow to love you." Disappointing.
The rest of the book is wonderful and, as I said, I wanted to love it. But Elizabeth just is too intelligent for all the nonsense attributed to her thinking throughout the story.