Saturday, 28 December 2013

10 reason I am thankful for the Austenprose Pride and Prejudice Bicentenary reading challenge!!

My Christmas books

This reading challenge has truly changed my life and I am so thankful to Laurel Ann for doing the Austenprose Pride and Prejudice Bicentenary reading challenge!! Since signing up in March I have had a most wonderful year!

Ten reasons this challenge has changed my life!!!!

1. I finally got my sister in law to read P&P, she absolutely loved it and has followed me in this reading challenge reading all the books that I have read. We now have a another common Interest, we both have each other to talk to about Austen and this has brought us closer together. I also bought her one of these bags for Christmas and she loved it. She said "only people in the know, will know what this bags about!!"

My Christmas bag

2. It has rekindled my love of reading, as a mother of three I never have the time but now I make time (being selfish is really hard, but worth it, if the end result is more Austen & JAFF!!), it is my escape from the stresses of life and has brought me real joy.

3. It has improved my English, although my lectures at university think I need to transfer to the English literature course. I am pretty sure I run the risk of being kicked off of the course if they read one more "pray do tell" in one of my assignments lol!!

4. My husband to be and I now have another shared Interest, Downtown Abbey. We had seen it on BBC1 but because we missed the first series we did not watch it. I saw it advertised on Austenprose and bought the box set, we watched one episode a night and finished in time to watch the forth series.

5. I started to purchase old furniture, I even went as far as restoring pieces and painting them in the shabby chic style, purchasing chalk paint and finishing with wax.

6. I Invested in some replica 18th century playing cards and started to learn the card games that feature in Austen's books.

7. As a result of seeing a Pride and Prejudice theatre production at Chatsworth house for the reading challenge, it is now one of my favourite retreats and  I have been three times this year!!!!

8. I have had the biggest Christmas list ever this year, usually when my partner asks what I want I say "nothing it's about the kids." Well this year I handed him a long list of Austen related items, including an "I'd rather be reading Pride & Prejudice" cooking apron but the majority were books. All the books I read for the reading challenge were on my kindle so I narrowed down some of my favourites as I wanted hard copies. (I did not get the Fitzwilliam trilogy by Pamela Aiden much to my chagrin, so will have to get it myself).

My Christmas t-shirt

9. Reading the JAFF stories has really made me evaluate how I live my own life, my morals, my values and what I really want in life. Most of all a determination to be happy everyday!

10. Finally I have been inspired to write my own What if . It will probably take me years! Especially as I am studying, but my sister in law says I have a good idea for a story and is encouraging me to pursue it, just for fun mind you! My biggest challenge I feel will be writing in regency dialogue.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart Laurel Ann for letting me take part in this challenge. I have enjoyed it more than you could comprehend and I have really enjoyed reading everyone's comments and reviews. Thank you again and happy New Year to Austenprose and all its wonderful members.

Pride and Prejudice BBC mini Series 1995

This review is bias as I cannot help praising a masterpiece!! My thoughts are written in a bullet point style.

I love the house it is so elegant, with lovely furniture and ornaments. Mrs Bennet's hat and pelisse for church is gorgeous.
I love the little details like the torch runners in front of the carriage, the facial expressions at the assembly and the drunk man outside falling into the trough.
When Elizabeth lands in the mud on her way to Netherfiled. When Elizabeth's mother visits Netherfield and Elizabeth sighs and closes her eyes, too funny.
Mr Collins shoving people out of the way when Lady Catherine is leaving the church at Hunsford.
Elizabeth holding her laughter at the table when Mr Collins visits, at one point she has to put her spoon full of soup down less she choke on it!

At the ball when Mrs Bennet is talking about the fact that Bingley was there first, the look on Bingley's face when he turns around is priceless!!
When Charlotte asks Elizabeth to visit and write, she seems as if she is going to cry, probably the thought of being isolated with Mr Collins in Kent.
Elizabeth rolling her eyes at the piano when lady Catherine is speaking.
I never looked at it before but when Mr Darcy visits Elizabeth at the parsonage before proposing, I thought that each time he was going, it was to propose but was nervous; but I think he was practicing what Elizabeth had advised him about conversing with people.

Darcy's pacing is excellent you can feel the tension, his build up as he tries desperately to summon some courage, you really see his vulnerability. Mr Darcy almost looks like he is going to cry when Elizabeth refuses him and he walks over to the mantel piece. Elizabeth is very calm, wow. When Mr Darcy hears about Wickham you can really hear the sarcasm. His manner and his remarks when referring to Elizabeth's family is like he is getting his own back on her for refusing him. I am sure he knew it would hurt. When I first watched this I thought Elizabeth was venomous in her speech portraying angry cutting remarks, but after I saw it a few times I thought she was very assertive, direct and did not mince her words, it had to be said!

Mr Collins's little wave to Charlotte when Elizabeth is leaving Hunford, I was crying with laughter!!

When Elizabeth first sees Pemberley her reaction is great. Mrs Reynolds is lovely. I love the fencing scene as it adds to his masculinity. THE POND SCENE I do not like, but the consequences of it I love. The fact that Darcy is not formally attired enhances to his and Elizabeth's embarrassment, not to mention it adds to his humility. The wet curls on his forehead gorgeous!!!!
I Love the bit when he says her opinion is worth the earning, his facial expressions are great. When he is watching her in the carriage when she leaves Pemberley and she looks back.
The Piano scene at Pemberley has to be one of my favorite scenes (even though it is not in the book.) His slight smile and their look of mutual understanding when Elizabeth goes to turn the pages for Georgiana after Miss Bingley attempts to talk about Wickham.

Miss Bingley's face when Darcy says Elizabeth is one of the most beautiful women of his acquaintance.
How Darcy holds her hand at the inn when she receives the news from Jane, oh swoon so sweet!
When Darcy is in deep thought and Miss Bingley says "I hope you are not pinning over the loss of Elizabeth Bennet" and he abruptly says "what" the look on Miss Bingley's face is Capital !!!
When Mr Collins visits the parsonage and Kitty says "I'm not going to sit with him for anyone" and runs off. Later you see her peering into the window while her sisters are sitting with Mr Collins, hilarious.
Mrs Phillips talk with Mrs Bennet about the rumors in Meryton of Mr Wickham, so funny.
The scene where we see what Darcy is doing to recover Lydia, him rapping on the door with his cane.
Lydia is so rude when she tells Jane she must go first because she is married.

THE SECOND PRPOSAL  The tension while Elizabeth and Darcy walk and when Kitty finally says can she go and see Maria, you know it's coming! Elizabeth's embarrassment as she thanks him and his declaration of not trifling with him as his affections and wishes have not changed was said so quickly, it must have been so hard for him. I have not much to say except who could not love that scene.
When Mrs Bennet is trying to get Jane and Bingley on their own and she says "wink at you pray what a notion why would I be winking at my own daughter" lol
Lady Catherine's set down was a powerful scene indeed..

Finally the kiss in the carriage with the snow falling!!! 

Rainy Days by Lory Lilian

Before the Netherfileld ball Mr Darcy and Elizabeth find themselves confined to Mr Bennet's fishing cabin, following a storm. These opening scenes are so intense, that I had not realised I was holding my breath until panic set in! As a result of this confinement they start to work through some of Elizabeth's dislike of Mr Darcy and he is made privy to the fact that Wickham has been tarnishing his name. 
Following this change of events the Netherfield ball becomes quite a different affair to the original, complete with high drama and action! Wickham is present and stirring trouble and Darcy is enlightened to Mr Collins intentions towards Elizabeth. Most surprisingly what I liked about this was that Mr Bennet and Darcy had a chance to get to know one another including a full explanation of Mr Wickham's misdeeds.
The departure from Netherfield still takes place but for different reasons, although Caroline still writes her ill fated letter concluding that they are not to return. We follow both Elizabeth and Jane to London and I am sure you will guess the rest. 

Now, here they were together, alone — dangerously alone. He followed her, watching from behind. Her hair was in great disorder and soaking wet. Her dark curls had escaped their hairpins and lay in heavy waves about her shoulders and back. Her dress and shoes were mud-soaked, and yet he was sure she had never looked more beautiful. What a simpleton I am! While I tried to conceal my preference for her, I was never in any danger of raising expectations; she simply hates me - L.Lilian

Lory always creates a standout character in her books and Lady Matlock is brilliant in this. She makes it her business to see that Elizabeth holds her own among the ton. I loved these little details, for instance Lady Matlock hosts a ball and makes sure that Elizabeth outshines everyone, starting with the most important thing the dress! When Elizabeth enters on Darcy's arm I felt like one of the guests, my head turned and my jaw dropped open, capital!

She turned majestically and, before leaving, threw her husband a last glance over her shoulder. “And, Lord Matlock, if you decide to remain in this house, I strongly advise you to change your manner of addressing us and never again raise your voice to such an unacceptable level, or upon my word, I shall call you ‘Lady Catherine’ for the rest of your life.” - L.Lilian

I think it is really funny that couples as powerful as the Matlocks appear on the outside as a typical patriarchal family, but in truth, underneath the surface, it is very much a matriarchal family. It certainly made for a entertaining read. I Loved Elizabeth's influence on Georgiana and their interactions were sweet to witness. Darcy is lovely, while at the same time he is still an imposing figure, who's authority commands attention. He is most demanding of his respect, so it was funny to see both him and his uncle Lord Matlock brought down a peg or too by the women! This book was my first introduction to lory lilian and she is becoming a fast favourite! I look forward to more great stories form this author.

Friday, 27 December 2013

A Darcy Christmas by Amanda Grange/ Sharon Lathan/ Carolyn Eberhart

The fact that I read this with three weeks till Christmas made this book all the more special, although it saddens me that my Christmas won't be anything in comparison. I suppose that is another reason I love Austen because she hails from an era with values I love and adore; when people were grateful with less presents and more emphasis on family time spent together in games, eating and merry making. 
This book comprises of three short stories.

The first story was a delightful twist on a Christmas Carol, at first I thought it was a copy of the original but it was not, yes scrooge is visited by three ghosts but he's not the only person these spirits visit as Mr Darcy can soon attest to. I suppose I need say no more, except to say Darcy does not propose to Elizabeth after she thanks him for his kindness to poor Lydia, as he feels she would still refuse him and he does not want the embarrassment. Georgiana plays a lovely ghost of Christmas present and I'm sure you can guess who is the ghost of Christmas future!!

Georgiana smiled faintly at this teasing. What she really wanted for Christmas was a new sister. One with laughing eyes who made her brother smile. - C.Eberhart

The second story Elizabeth and Darcy spend Christmas with Jane and Bingley who have just had their first child and Elizabeth is pregnant with her first. It's a delightful little story although I felt in comparison to the other two that were short but seemed to have a beginning middle and end, this felt like an excerpt of a story which  left me wanting more, never the less is was pleasant.

He had always known he must marry and provide an heir for Pemberley, but with Elizabeth it was so much more than that. It was not just marrying and then having done with it; it was going through life together, exploring its new experiences side by side. And it was this, having a child together, becoming a family. -A.Grange

The last story was my favourite and also the biggest surprise, my first ever introduction into the world of JAFF was an excerpt of Two shall become one by Sharon Lathan and I did not like it, so never read it. So the fact that the third story was by her was a surprise indeed, as it turned out to be my favourite of the three. As a result I am now read said book mentioned. Now when reading Lathan you have to imagine Kiera and McFadden for it to work but Darcy's Christmas you did not have to. It was snippets of different Christmases over their time married together and with each one their family grew. It was so wonderful that my own Christmas is going to pale in comparison; I know I certainly will  not be playing snap Dragon and I won't be attending a twelfth day masquerade! Which is such a shame as I dearly Iove to laugh.

Michael did not hesitate for a second, stepping boldly up to the fiery bowl and unerringly plucking an almond from the middle. He watched the capering flames lick over his fingers for a span of heartbeats before extinguishing behind his lips, chewing the crispy nut with delight. - S.Lathan

His Uncle's Favorite by Lory Lillian

Elizabeth could not be certain how much time had passed before Mr. Bennet decided to interrupt Wickham’s discourse. “Mr. Wickham, I greatly appreciate your talent at entertaining us with little, amusing stories of your misfortunes. However, if you say another word against Mr. Darcy, I shall ask Mr. Bingley to drop you at the next inn. Travelling by post is not so bad, after all…” -L.Lilian

This story begins with Jane and Elizabeth journeying to their aunt Gardiner's house at Christmas, after the Netherfield ball. Mr Gardiner having passed away two years prior (oh how sad I was) leaves Mrs Gardiner a widow, however due to her husband's circumstances before he died, she is now mixing in the highest of circles (do I hear a jealous Caroline choking some where). Receiving a dinner invitation from a good friend and the business partner of the late Mr Gardiner, She takes Elizabeth and Jane along; this friend is none other than Lord Matlock!!! Let the fun begin.

As I started to read this book I was slightly disappointed, not because it was not good but because I had read it straight off the back of the author's previous book, Remembrance of the Past. It was a highly entertaining read with high drama at every turn, so naturally I thought this was going to be a roller coaster of a story too. As I continued to read, I came to realise that it's merits lay in its intelligence. I concluded that Lory wanted a story that addressed many of the issues that we may have wanted to read in the original P&P. For instance when Wickham marries Lydia and they visit Longbourn, Lizzy and Wickham have a conversation where she tells him that there was a time when sermon making was not so palatable to him. Well I for one wanted her to tell him "I know you to be a scoundrel of the worst kind, oh I know it all!" Well this book does something similar at every turn in the story. Lory seemed to be addressing such issues, much to my satisfaction and it was only at the end that I could see the authors complete vision.

Elizabeth forced a smile. “Miss Caroline Bingley… I confess I had lost any hope of meeting you again after we waited in vain for you to return my sister’s call. It seems fate wished for us to renew our acquaintance. And Mrs. Hurst…so nice to see you.” Caroline was lost for words in the face of such impertinence, and she failed to notice Lady Selina’s chuckle. How could she respond to Eliza’s preposterous suggestion that she should have called on them in Cheapside? - L.Lilian

As per usual with Lory she creates characters you will absolutely love, Lord Matlock is hilarious and a cracking bloke with no airs and graces, a stark contrast to his sister lady Catherine. Lord Matlock's daughter, the Colonel's sister, Selena, is also a delight and the fact that She does not like Bingley's sisters only lends more credit to her character. Although the same could not be said for Darcy to start with, at first I did not like him at all, but then again that should come as no surprise!
Yet what was a surprise for me, was that through Lory's story I could understand why Wickham was the way he was! 
Mrs Gardiner is always a favourite of mine, she is so wise and her manners and morals are impeccable. It was such a shame Mr Gardiner had to die, but Mrs Gardiner's story did not end there and I enjoyed that she featured frequently throughout.

But please allow me to question the behaviour of a man who does not hesitate to share with you intimate and painful information about his life at your very first meeting and prefers to meet the earl during the early morning in the park because he has not enough courage to stand up for himself and confront the earl’s family.” - L.Lilian

Mr Bennet makes a few appearances and I do like Mr Bennet, he and Darcy get to know one another and I love stories that follow along that path. 
Dear sweet Georgiana gave her brother a mild and gentle reproach! Well I never! But this pushed Darcy in the right direction.
Caroline's set down by Lord Matlock was really funny and worth the read alone. There were many original P&P lines that were twisted or said by others, which was great; even Catherine's speech to Elizabeth was better coming from a rival instead. The influence is definitely 1995 P&P which meets with my whole hearted approval. If you would like some of the subjects in P&P discussed more fully, with openness and heart to heart conversations, then you will love this P&P 'what if'

Embarrassed at her intrusion, Miss Darcy slowly retreated, closed the door behind her and propped herself against the wall, catching her breath. Then she joyfully ran through the halls as she did as a little girl. For the first time in her life, she had dared to mock and scold her brother—and with so much success! It seemed that Fitzwilliam Darcy had already made the proper amends to rectify his error. He had always been a man of action—no doubt about that. - L.Lilian

Falling for Mr Darcy by Karalynne Mackrory

I do like Karalynne's books, she always portrays a lovely Mr Darcy. As in the original P&P Mr Darcy leaves shortly after the Netherfield ball and tries to forget Elizabeth. The inner thoughts of  the characters are communicated so beautifully, that another dimension is added to the story. Mr Dacry's struggle with the dictates of society, family duty and honour are very real! 

“Whatever do you mean, Miss Bennet? What is on my face?” Chuckling to herself in satisfaction that he responded as she thought he would, she replied, “A smile, sir. Are you quite sure your face will not break?” She turned merry eyes to him with an eyebrow turned up in playful challenge. - K.Mackrory

Elizabeth is not insensible to the ways of the world and knows it can never be for her and Mr Darcy. 
This book will have you sighing all throughout. Mr Bennet is great as usual and his relationship with Elizabeth I was most envious of. Mr Bennet also has some wonderful surprises of his own to add to the story. As Darcy decides to try and forget Elizabeth, fate will have non of it and Elizabeth and Georgiana become acquainted quite on their own and without an introduction (tut tut)!!!
Thus they are both thrown into one another's paths again. Every detail in this book is exquisite, if you like to know what everyone's thinking, feeling and what their wearing then you will be content as the author does not disappoint. I also found very subtle references to 2005 & 1995 P&P so all fans will be pleased.

“Oh, no, sir. That is, yes, I am very happy. It is a great honor and privilege, and I value it above everything else in this world. If I have displeased you, sir, I sincerely apologize and ask that you forgive me.” “Surely you can see, sir, that making Miss Elizabeth your wife will make her ladyship, my Aunt Catherine, severely displeased. She is outspoken and lively. Such a person would not be humbled by the condescension of my aunt, and her liveliness would be detrimental to the health of my cousin Anne.” He shook his head as if in disbelief at the man.- K.Mackrory

They are also many twist on the original P&P which add to the story. Things said differently, in different settings and by other characters.
We get a bit more Jane and Bingley my other favorite couple and a lovely sweet Georgiana.
Lastly Mr Darcy's reciting of Ramsgate is a treat indeed. Great book!

A Fair Prospect Trilogy by Cassandra Grafton

The Colonel shook his head. “So, you were both offensive and indiscreet. That is an expensive education well bought! One can only assume you missed the lecture upon how to recommend yourself to young ladies!” - C.Grafton

This trilogy was sooooo good I immediately contacted Cassandra to say how great the books were, praise was seriously deserved. It was good luck I stumbled upon this trilogy just as the third had been released, because if I had only volume 1 & 2 I do not know how I would have coped until the third came out!! It took me three days and three nights to read all three!
The author's command of the English language is truly enchanting. 
We start off at Rosings after the proposal, a slightly different version but the same outcome. A remorseful Elizabeth has to dine at Rosing again in the company of Mr Darcy, after reading his letter, along with a curious Colonel Fitzwilliam who is wondering whats going on!

“Business, Darcy?” Lady Catherine boomed indignantly. “For what purpose do you keep a steward, a butler, a valet and all manner of servants? One should not keep a pack of hounds only to hunt the fox oneself. I never heard such nonsense!” - C.Grafton

I was convinced the author had travelled back in time to consult with Austen herself, because lady Catherine's dialogue was uncanny indeed.
If I go into detail I will spoil the story line but lets just say they meet again and it looks like they may get together, but an unfortunate misunderstanding arises separating them. It is a race against time to see if the unfortunate lovebirds will get their chance of happiness.
This story is wonderful because it has the advantage of spanning across three books giving enough time for detail and detail is the beauty of these books!
What are they thinking and feeling? What is the weather like? What are they wearing? What is the venue like? Every question seems to be answered. We get told what Elizabeth and Darcy are thinking but what is the Colonel thinking? Or Georgiana? Well you'll find that out also.

“It is too much to put upon Georgiana. She is not practised in hosting dinner parties, Cousin, as well you know.” “A paltry excuse, Darce, as well you comprehend. You are there to host, and what is there even for you to do, pray? Mrs Wainwright will deal with the preparations as competently as she does everything else.” The Colonel let out a snort. “If you are so ingrained with duty and require a hostess, I shall acquire a gown and slippers of my own!” Darcy did not respond to this piece of nonsense other than to throw his cousin a look of exasperation.- C.Grafton

The description of scenery and surroundings surpassed my expectations. Recently I was asked if I had been to Bath  and I nearly replied that I had! Such was the authors description, the image so vividly etched in my mind! I am sure I could direct you from where either Darcy or Elizabeth stayed down into town. I have an image of the Gardiner's garden. I know what Bingley's hotel room looks like, you really feel like you are there. When I read the second book my patience was seriously tested as I knew I would be no closer to the resolution I needed and that it would only come with the third book.

“He admires you yet.” Elizabeth shook her head vehemently but said nothing. “It is apparent in his every movement towards you: the incline of his head when you are speaking – his eyes never leave you unless they must.” - C.Grafton

Please Please read this trilogy it will not disappoint, by the end of the book the Colonel had kept me so entertained, that I had not realised how much I had fallen in love with him and am now awaiting a proposal!!!

To Conquer Mr Darcy by Abigail Reynolds

This story follows Mr Darcy to Hertfordshire in pursuit of Elizabeth, with Georgiana in tow following his disastrous proposal.  From almost the very beginning of this book I was laughing, when Darcy's butler voices his concerns over Darcy's behavior to the Colonel, this results in the Colonel forcing a confession from Darcy and encouraging him to go to Hertfordshire.
Well all I can say is this was a passionate, amiable, hard to resist Darcy!!! 
How Abigail managed to think up such delightful banter and intense moments I hardly know, but suffice to say I was a pleased and on many occasions resembled a Cheshire cat!

 “I do not know whether you are brave, foolhardy, or both, Mr. Darcy,” she said, attempting to lighten the atmosphere. “‘ Nothing ventured is nothing gained,’” he replied with a smile. “‘ Fools rush in where angels fear to tread,’ Mr. Darcy,” she said in lively retort. “‘ Fortune favors the brave,’ Miss Bennet.” “Let me see… ‘the fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool.’” Darcy smiled wickedly. “‘ None but the brave deserves the fair.’” Elizabeth, knowing she had been outdone, asked, “Was that Lovelace?” He lifted an eyebrow. “Dryden, actually.” She laughed. “Well, sir, you have bested me for today. I shall have to retire from the field" - A.Reynolds

The presence of Georgiana at Netherfield was great and she and Elizabeth get to know each other very well.
Whoever would have thought that the person to stand up to Caroline Bingley would be Georgiana. I must say it was well done in the respect that it was believable, without changing Georgiana into an entirely different person from the shy one we we all know and love.

Georgiana did not miss the mild venom in Miss Bingley’s voice when she spoke the name of her future sister, nor the scorn when she mentioned Longbourn. She opened her eyes wide, and said, “Oh, I am so sorry to have missed them! I love calling at Longbourn. Everyone there is so lively and pleasant.” She hoped neither William nor Bingley would see fit to mention that on the one occasion she had visited Longbourn, she had been too nervous to say more than five words to anyone but Elizabeth. A.Reynolds

This is Darcy like you have never seen him before, he spoke of his days at Cambridge, his feelings about Elizabeth and indirectly courted her until I was left breathless!!  yes I did say me!!!

He spoke softly in her ear. “Regardless of whether you choose to come to Pemberley, Pemberley already belongs to you, and has for many months now.” His lips grazed her neck, sending shivers through her. “Elizabeth Darcy has been gracing the halls and rooms of Pemberley since my first stay at Netherfield. While I have been passionately admiring Miss Elizabeth Bennet,” he paused to trail a line of kisses along her neck, “every night in my dreams she has been walking by my side at Pemberley, and she will always haunt me there, no matter what choice you make.” - A.Reynolds

Now here I must speak of something that I am shocked and sadly grieved about, I never try and spoil what is going to happen in a book but this must be said "pre-marital sex " oh my dear Lord!!!! I did not see that coming, I will not go on about it as I came across it again in the two other books I subsequently read following this!!!! And I have much to say on the matter but will voice my opinions more in the other reviews as I feel the situation warrants it. Anyway back to this story I was not pleased to say the least, I am not a Jane Austen purist but here I draw the line! _____ (the line has been drawn). Okay after a while I was resigned to the fact it had happened, as much as it occurs today and I am not ignorant to the fact it did back then; the reason why I like Austen's books is that things weren't meant to be like that, it went against propriety and tradition which is why I like these books. Anyway I soon got over my gripe and enjoyed the rest of the book.

“You?” Georgiana said in disbelief. “Why in the world would you not want to marry him? There is no better man to be found anywhere!” - A. Reynolds

Seriously Georgiana I haven't laughed so hard in a while. Always love a book that gives us Darcy's thoughts and in this book I could quote him all day long,  but unfortunately I cannot as we will be here all day. I will round up by saying I loved how Mr Darcy courted Elizabeth and apart from my hang up very much enjoyed this story.

A Force of Instinct by Abigail Reynolds

This story begins at Rosings, not only does Elizabeth have to face Mr Darcy again after she receives his letter but she also gets to meet Lord and Lady Matlock and Miss Darcy. If you like poetry then you will enjoy the excepts in this story. Darcy and Elizabeth are meant to be together and there is definitely a force of instinct that plays a major role in this story, the passion, jealously and a need to be with one another.

She was mortified at the prospect of having to see Darcy - he who knew just how much of a gullible fool she had been. She had thought so highly of her own perspicacity, and now she knew herself to be quite lacking in that regard. Not only had she been wholly taken in by Wickham and predisposed to find reasons to dislike Darcy, she had also completely failed to observe any sign of his increasing attachment to her in time to circumvent the disaster of his proposal. When she looked back, those signs were obvious - A.Reynolds

At every turn of the page, the two became closer to one another. I loved just how close they became that by the time of their marriage they were true soul mates in every sense of the word (yes pre-mariatal sex). But I will argue in Reynolds defense surprisingly that it was not possible to become as close as they did without sharing some intimacies and it was tastefully done (wow can not believe I just said that but I believe it was maybe necessary for this story). Not only did they get to know one another but they looked within themselves and did a lot of reflective thinking, which really explored the varying aspects of the original P&P. I loved that they shared stories about their past so that they could understand each other more fully. Books were explored, class lines delved into, Elizabeth's gullibility and a twist on Georgiana's perspective!

Overall it is pleasant read that has you drawn into the intimacy of the two, who love each other very ardently indeed. It was all a very very strict Mr Gardiner could do to keep them apart, making sure that propriety was adhered to at all costs, hilarious!!!

Elizabeth could not help thinking of the company she had left, both in Gracechurch Street and at Rosings Park, and how favourably it compared to that of her younger sisters. Their manner of speech and insensibility grated on her ears now even more than it had in the past, reminding her once again of Darcy's letter and his cutting description of the defects of her family. How had she ever tolerated it? - A.Reynolds

Mr Darcy's Undoing by Abigail Reynolds

The idea for this book had me excited, I had been waiting to read a story line such as this!
After the proposal at Hunsford Elizabeth returns only to be offered marriage from Mr Covington, someone she has known since childhood. Elizabeth tells him she will ruminate on his offer while touring the lakes with the Gardiners. With the tour as planned the trip to Pemeberley  never takes place. While in the lakes Elizabeth concludes that with Jane out of sorts since Bingleys departure, no man will be interested in someone who is obviously pinning over a lost love. Lydia and Kitty can hardly be depended on to make a sensible match. So Elizabeth concludes the task must fall to her to make a match that can support her mother in the event that her father should pass away. Although she may not love Covington she feels that love may grow in time.

'All in all, she had very little to complain of Mr. Covington as a husband— nothing at all, in fact, except that she found herself with no particular urge for his company. She did not miss him when they were apart; she did not look forward with eagerness to their next encounter; she did not remember with delight what he had said at the last. She had hoped to marry for love, but she could go no further than to say she liked him. Still, could not that affection develop into more, given time? - A.Reynolds

Darcy returns to Meryton with Bingley intent on setting things right, only to find Elizabeth is engaged to Mr Covington!!!! What will Darcy do? While Bingley attempts to win Jane's affections, Darcy and Elizabeth are thrown together as chaperons and in the process Elizabeth discovers her heart belongs to Darcy!! I will stop there as I do not want to spoil it, but will say as much as I enjoyed it I was met with a very frustrating Lizzy!!! I internally screamed at the book more than once. I could understand her dilemma but she was being a saint to the letter. There was a vary interesting conversation with the Colonel and poor Georgiana's sensibilities were compromised by Darcy himself tut tut.

I understand that I should be giving you my congratulations, Miss Bennet,” he had said, his mouth dry as ashes. She had looked up at him, engaging in that bewitching habit of hers of biting the corner of her lower lip, and thanked him gravely. Glutton for punishment that he was, he had asked her to dance again, telling himself that it was only to show her he was not so mean as to hold the past against her. He knew, though, that his motivation was more that of an addict seeking his opium— he wanted the touch of her hand, and the opportunity to pretend that her smiles were for him. Pathetic! he thought bitterly. - A.Reynolds

Darcy and Elizabeth had an inside joke involving a tiger which was amusing at first but soon became very annoyingly corny! This over passionate Darcy I found hard to relate too, but you have to make allowances, after all it is a 'what if ' and I do so love a 'what if.'

Mr Darcy's Letter by Abigail Reynolds

Well we all knew this would happen, Elizabeth refuses to read Darcy's letter at Hunsford and commits it to the flames of the fireplace at the parsonage. As Elizabeth herself in the book says, Mary would be proud of her strict adherence to the dictates of societal rules.

'He scanned the ballroom, trying to ignore the matchmaking mamas who desperately sought to catch his eye, and picked out a young lady almost at random, for no better reason than that her hair reminded him of Elizabeth’s. Once he was closer to her, he realized his error. The colour was similar,but her hair was thinner and lacked the warm highlights that danced through Elizabeth’s hair. Though disappointed, he requested an introduction. The poor girl’s eyes grew wide when he asked her to dance, but she kept that fashionable look of boredom on her face throughout the set, so unlike Elizabeth who laughed and smiled as she danced. She agreed with every observation he made, and he was bored to death halfway through the set.' - A.Reynolds

When Elizabeth meets Darcy again at Pemberly on her aunt and uncle's Northern tour she says some insensitive things that upset Georgiana in regards to Wickham, as a result of not reading his letter. This results in Darcy losing his temper with Elizabeth, but quickly leads to an understanding between the two once he understands that she never read the letter.

Well considering she did not read his letter the first time, it is amusing then that throughout the story there are letters aplenty.
Regardless of your current feelings, it would be my hope that with further experience of me, you might come to feel some sort of affection for me, but I realize that may not be the case. I would, however, do whatever I could to make your life as happy as it may be.” Perspiration began to appear on his brow. “I cannot promise to make no demands of you. Not only does Pemberley need an heir, but, as you are well aware, I am subject to ardent feelings toward you which I doubt I would be able to ignore indefinitely, and I will not disguise it. However, I am willing to try to keep my demands on you to a minimum.” - A.Reynolds

Darcy does not arrive in time to meet Elizabeth in Lambton on that dreadful day she receives her letter from Jane, of course he then misinterprets her precipitous departure! This leads to Darcy not intervening in time with Lydia, who then turns up on the Gardiner's doorstep once Wickham is finished with her. Yet Darcy still manages to get Wickham to marry Lydia (will not spoil, but a great twist). Elizabeth and Darcy continue to suffer from gross misunderstandings, the book also includes one of Abigail Reynolds famous heart attack moments. I always fall for it and have a sinking feeling in my stomach every time. It will take more than one letter to save the day, but has Elizabeth learnt from the past, will she read them!

(Pre-marital sex warning, I have to say it for the faint hearted, I have talked on this subject before so I will not go on.  But this has to be my worst one yet, all I will say is "on a fainting couch? really!!! Darcy I am disappointed more than words can say!! A fainting couch!") 

Remembrance of the Past by Lory Lilian

This is a truly wonderful story that will have you captivated from beginning to end and for some of us a few nights with no sleep! The wit, banter, humour and great description of thoughts and feelings are what makes Lory such a brilliant story teller. (Throughout this pray forgive me for my constant use of the phrase "I loved" but it is praise most worthy and sincere in it's use)  I do love Lory's development of each character especially the insight that she gives into what each person is thinking.

Lory has a knack of portraying wonderful relationships between women, which is always a pleasure to read. Too often we women are portrayed as typical Caroline Bingleys consumed by competition and jealousy, so it is always nice to see healthy positive relationships among women.

We see more of Mr Bennet's fatherly protective side, not a gentleman who is unconcerned, happily doing nothing but residing in his library (although married to Mrs Bennet I hardly blame him). A witty man as always and it was a pleasure to see him playing more of an active role. Darcy and Mr Bennet develop a good relationship after coming to an understanding, which is something I always love to see.
All the men in this book are real men, (even the bad ones!). I do love a real mans man, although I do know it is down to individual preference, but I do love assertive men that know what they are about, swoon!!

I loved the Colonel's story, he is definitely an army man! Being the cousin of Mr Darcy, it is not hard to see that he is also truly the best of men. They both equally deserve wonderful wives and you will not be disappointed.
I loved Mr Darcy and as always he was there in all the essentials, certainly a man not to be trifled with! My only complaint was that I could not see Mr Darcy crying, let alone confessing to it!!! Yet it does show his humility and how much he loves Elizabeth so I suppose I have no complaint! This book really highlighted much of Elizabeth's kind and caring nature, very much like the care she showed her sister at Netherfield. In some of the P&P 'what ifs' Elizabeth seems to attract many men of consequence and this book is no different. Poor Elizabeth, although I can see how being petulance back then could be seen as quite refreshing and attractive.

As always Georgiana is an amiable young lady who is a joy to be in the company of and clever too.
Poor Charles is too humble for his own good, he even confesses he does not think himself worthy of Jane, I am pretty sure Mrs Bennet would beg to differ.
Lory knows how to create new characters that you will love and hold dear just as the ones you already know!
Lady Cassandra has to be my favourite new character by far in the world of Pride and Prejudice what ifs. I absolutely loved Cassandra and throughout the book I could not wait to read more about her, in fact I eagerly anticipated any chapter that would progress her story.

As you can see from the following quote I liked Cassandra from the very beginning , after such a declaration who could not!

As I am sure you are already aware, Colonel, Miss Bennet has a very specific and rare quality; she has an unpretentious elegance, a natural beauty and an intelligence that is apparent in the expression of her eyes. So being beautiful, unpretentious and intelligent — it was obvious she could not be one of the young heiresses from Town!” - L.Lilian

Lady Cassandra had me laughing throughout and Miss Bingley finally met her match, anyone who can put Miss Bingley in her place has my whole hearted approval! Poor Caroline is just as stupid as dear Lydia but incredulously I ended up feeling sorry for her in the end and almost liking her, can you imagine!!!

“Excuse me, but is Miss Bennet the young lady we just met at Longbourn?” “Yes, of course she is,” answered Bingley, puzzled. “The beautiful one with blond hair and blue eyes — am I correct?” “Yes, your ladyship.” “The one who looked at you, Mr. Bingley, as if you were some sort of idol? The one who almost swooned when you spoke to her and appeared to forget how to breathe when you were smiling at her? That was Jane Bennet? That was the lady whom you exceedingly perceptive and intelligent gentlemen believed to be indifferent last year and about whom you are still uncertain, Mr. Bingley? She was the one you were talking about?” Lady Cassandra’s tone grew more sarcastic, matching her sharp gaze that moved from Darcy to Bingley. Before any of them could answer properly, she turned and exited the room as she whispered loudly enough to be heard, “What utter fools . -L.lilian

As you can see if I am not careful this whole review will be filled with Lady Cassandra's quotes!!!

Many stories portray Jane as too prudent with disastrous results for her marriage, but I am glad to say in this story it was not the case and I adored her and Mr Bingley in this.
Darcy and Elizabeth's first argument as husband and wife was wonderful! What a strange thing to say but it was so realistic and every bit relevant, even today and as a result had me laughing.
The epilogue was lovely in every way, all I can say is this book epic!!!
You would be a fool not to get it!

Only a Heartbeat Away by P.O.Dixon

This story was a what if but more a retelling of Pride and Prejudice. Usually when I read a book that follows the original and repeats most of it I lose interest because I would much rather read the original if that is the case. But this story was different there were small changes that did not lead to a different story, but rather a reconstruction where things were shaken up.

Having travelled to Pemberley before the Meryton assembly and making an acquaintance with Miss Darcy (Darcy not being present), Elizabeth and her become regular correspondents. Elizabeth having admired the portrait of Mr Darcy at Pemberley misses an opportunity to meet him in person at the Meryton assembly due to a sprained ankle. Elizabeth does not meet him at Netherfield either when Jane takes ill because he leaves,  he can not bear to watch his friend Bingley make a grave mistake in aligning himself to the Bennets of Longbourne.

Refusing to be a party to the impending disaster of his young friend attaching himself to the Bennets, he had left Hertfordshire, at the break of dawn, the day after the eldest Bennet daughter arrived at Netherfield on horseback in the midst of a violent storm. What audacity! Whilst Bingley paid no mind to the impropriety, Darcy saw plainly what was afoot. Miss Bennet was nothing more than another young woman hell-bent on securing a rich husband, only she was more brazen and made little effort to mask her intentions.- P.O.Dixon

When Elizabeth finally meets Mr Darcy she should have no reason to dislike him apart from hearing of Mr Wickham's misfortunes, but as the brother of her dear friend Miss Darcy she is prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt! We all know it will not be that simple.

Original P&P lines are said at different times and by different people which is actually well done rather than a reaction of "oh why would you do that". Lady Catherine was more rude and condescending than ever. Mr Collins was too self important and damn right out of order, he thinks he is well above his station, an influence  of spending  too much time with Lady Catherine I dare say.

Jane was less than prudent and I was shocked to think Jane capable but she is as sweet and as dear as ever. Georigana was lovelier and all the more delightful as a consequence of Elizabeth's influence.

I did not think Darcy would be able to give more offence in his proposal at the parsonage but I was wrong, what a presumptuous man!!!!

Elizabeth was much the same as always, I really liked her in this, she was so unlike many other books that make her foolish, impertinent and sometimes proud.

There are some brilliant lines in this book obviously taking their ques from the original P&P but changed to make the book most refreshing indeed.

Then, a young woman appeared in the doorway and stood next to Georgiana. His heartbeat pounded. The couple trailing along closely behind him nearly bumped into him as he stood frozen in place. She was nothing as he had pictured her. He had imagined a fair-headed creature with bright eyes and an angelic smile, much like a caricature of her older sister; not this dark-haired beauty with a light, pleasing figure and eyes even Poseidon would be tempted to drown himself in. Had I met her at the Meryton assembly, no doubt I would have been tempted to remain in Hertfordshire a bit longer.-  P.O.Dixon

All I will say is, if you would like to see a confrontation with Mrs Bennet and Lady Catherine then read this book, If you like the original which I know you all do (that was a silly question) then this is a refreshing take on the original.

Mr Darcy's Refuge by Abigail Reynolds

Mr Darcy's refuge was a refreshing read with all the usual twists and overlaps of the original but with very different outcomes. After Mr Darcy's proposal he is unable to leave the parsonage due to a flood and so it begins! Jenny is a lovely little orphan that features throughout and helps to bring out Mr Darcy's amiable side. Mr Bennet is very much out of character and poor Elizabeth is prevented from being with the man she loves. Mr Bennet's curious behavior is revealed eventually but much to my vexation as my patience was starting to run out. But do not fear Abigail manages to have you in stitches in hearty compensation.

Mrs. Bennet was not in the habit of rising with the larks. She was firmly of the opinion that any event so discourteous as to occur before noontime was not worthy of her attention. As a result, she was still in her bedclothes when Mrs. Phillips and Mrs. Long arrived at Longbourn. However, the ladies were determined, and having convinced Miss Mary Bennet through their high distress and furious looks that the apocalypse must be at hand, Mrs. Phillips claimed a sister’s privilege and breached the final defense of Mrs. Bennet’s bedroom door.

Can you imagine, that when the Gardiners arrive at Pemberley they have an ulterior motive! Well I will not spoil it but suffice to say, when Elizabeth arrives at the Pemberley it is a delightful twist. As per usual the Gardiners are the most sensible, wise and fashionable people I know. Lord Matlock is the villain of the piece which was unexpected, yes I had thought him to be against the match but he was far worse than that. But on the other hand the french lady Matlock was a delight.

The Colonel played a big part and I for one love any book which features the Colonel. His story took a very unexpected but delightful turn, I like a what if that can keep me on my toes. It has been hard to write this review as I dare not give anything away but what I will say is that the Colonel makes Elizabeth a offer!! what say you to that!! So unfortunately  this is a short review as I do not want to reveal to much , enjoy!

Darcy nodded jerkily and slid his arms down until he held Elizabeth’s hands in his. He kissed her gently on the forehead, and in a voice only she could hear, he said, “Remember yesterday. Remember that I will always love you. Remember me."

He Taught Me to Hope by P.O.Dixon

This was a very different book indeed, Elizabeth married at 17 and widowed a month later! Living with her father in-law on his estate for the next 6 years only to return to Longbourn at the same time of the assembly in Meryton. Darcy is instantly attracted to her and does not think for a moment she is a former Bennet. The effects of her different life has certainly changed her into an elegant woman with all the appearance of grace and a certain air that Caroline would be jealous of!

She possessed a measure of grace and poise which set her apart from all of the other young ladies in the room. Darcy wondered at her even being there. Clearly, she is not of Meryton. He surmised she must be from one of the prominent families of Hertfordshire. Her manner of walk, her style of dress, and a certain air of accomplishment demanded it. He decided to move closer to her to command a better view. -  P.O.Dixon

What follows is a delight to read. I will not spoil it but Mr Darcy falls in love with two people much to my approval and as a result is the most lovely Darcy I have read about to date. Mr Collins has a tall dark and handsome brother!!! Can you believe it, I am sure I could not. We meet a disillusioned lady Anne who has been drawn into her mother's notion that Darcy would marry her, although I can hardly blame her. To my utter amazement Lady Catherine certainly surprised me in this and I did not think that to be possible.

To his way of thinking, what Richard suggested was carrying things a bit far, regardless of how innocuous it seemed on the surface. He was desperate after all, just not that desperate. Darcy considered it would be a cold day in Hades before he brushed his lips against those of his Cousin Anne, as Richard had recommended.-  P.O.Dixon

A twist of sorts in that Elizabeth is the one this time hell bent on upholding the societal norms, leading her to be bound by duty and honour. Mr Darcy was quite the opposite in this regard and his determination to have Elizabeth was great indeed and every time he was haughty and rude he had my full backing, fancy that!

Darcy regarded the gentleman as one might expect he would towards such an insolent stranger, “I beg your pardon. Who are you to address me so?” Mr. William Collins nearly tripped over himself as he scrambled to Darcy’s side and bowed as low as he possibly could, attempting to make up for his brother’s lack of regard for the privilege of receiving Mr. Darcy himself at his humble abode.-  P.O.Dixon

Elizabeth's family hardly feature in this but it makes no difference as the story has one character that makes up for that and you will be in love with them from almost the very beginning, I cannot wait for you to meet little Ben!!!! 
Jane gets her happy ever after but from a most unexpected quarter.
Georgiana is funny in this without even realising it and so I will leave you with an excerpt of her conversation with her cousin Anne.

“I confess there is no love lost between us, but that has nothing to do with your misapprehensions that you and my brother are intended for each other. Had my brother expressed any desire in the slightest to go along with that foolish notion, I would have made every attempt to welcome you with open arms.” Anne looked at the large mantle clock she had admired for so many years. “Where is Fitzwilliam? Surely, you do not suppose I came all this way to waste time pontificating with you.” “My brother is out. I do not expect his return for hours. Are you staying at the inn in Lambton? Shall I inform him upon his return that he might find you there?” “Do not be ridiculous, foolish child! I shall stay here, as I have always done when in Derbyshire. I believe Pemberley is as much my home as it is yours. I daresay it is certainly destined to be.” “I would not hold my breath whilst waiting for that to come about, if I were you. On second thought, do hold your breath, dear cousin,” the younger woman suggested derisively. -  P.O.Dixon

This is my favourite P.O.Dixon book and I highly recommend it!

Bluebells in the Mourning By KaraLynne Mackrory

Bluebells in the mourning begins with Elizabeth's departure from Hunsford. Instead of Mr Darcy being able to propose at the parsonage he instead finds Elizabeth in a state of distress after receiving a letter informing her of Lydia's death. Oh dear, poor poor Lydia, as unfeeling as this may sound this did not distress me in the slightness, although the fact that I did not find it upsetting, was quite disturbing to me. But as the story progressed I found myself reflecting on Elizabeth's situation and imagining how I would feel in her place. After all she is Elizabeth's sister and very young regardless of her behaviour.
What I liked most about this book were the significant changes that occurred as a result of this tragedy, a 'what if' with profound consequences.

I do love Karalynne's interpretation of Mr Dracy, the way she expresses his inner thoughts are done so well. With the death of a sister, what a great way for Elizabeth to see his good side (oh dear that sounds bad too!). So very solicitous of her needs and as sharp as a tool, I so love a clever and generous Mr Darcy!

I do love when authors include the thoughts of the servants as they add another perspective and give more depth to the story. Especially considering they bare witness to many things within a household.

What I like about this author is her way of making Elizabeth humble, as we know Elizabeth can get on a bit of a high horse when it comes to her misconceptions of Darcy, although lets not forget some are wholly with merit. But this author will put Elizabeth in the most embarrassing, hilarious situations which bring her down a notch or two so that she can start to warm to the Darcy we all know and love.

Mortified for the second time in a half hour’s expanse, Elizabeth hastened towards the exit, wishing she did not have to walk past him to leave. “Excuse me, but I think I must be goin — Oomph!” Darcy grinned. Elizabeth was in his arms, having tripped on the rug. I shall never replace that rug, he vowed. - K.Mackrory

This author also has a wonderful and humorous way of expressing the story which makes the book more delightful, I really do love to know what someone is thinking in a situation.

Although we know from the original the Colonel was an amiable fellow, most books make him very witty and very funny, which I like. It makes me laugh and it does Mr Darcy credit to have such a cousin, who is sensible of the world, a close confident and fun to have around. 

You are sometimes too . . . bumbleheaded to manage your own love life. Somebody has to help.” “I am not bumbleheaded!” Darcy was very much affronted. “And I do not even think that is a word, Richard.” Richard merely laughed, enjoying his cousin’s aggravation; Darcy’s patience for this conversation was at an end. “You are correct; it is not. I made it up just now. - K.Mackrory

Mrs Bennet was the biggest surprise! I really liked her in this, how different it was to see what effect Lydia's death had on her. To finally get a possible insight and explanation to her previous behavior before Lydia's death was well done. Most surprisingly was the effect it had on her relationship with Mr Bennet, a truly touching story. 

I find KaraLynne's characters are always a delight and Wickham is the baddie we all love to hate! I really enjoyed the rouse to get their own back on Wickham! The Colonel was funny, Georgiana was a sweet darling of a sister who did everything she could to secure her brothers happiness. Mr Darcy was truly so very sweet. Mr Bingley finally had some conviction and Anne finally stood up to lady Catherine.

As always I do not like to spoil the story so all I will say is, a death in the family certainly had the most profound effect on this story. There were many surprising what if consequences, although at Lydia's misfortune! Another great read!

Bewitched,Body and Soul by P.O.Dixon

Darcy slowed his steed’s pace as he approached Elizabeth walking along the lane the next morning. “Fancy seeing you here.” “I rather doubt that, Mr. Darcy. If I know you at all, you have been pacing back and forth anticipating my arrival for some time.” “Indeed, you know me well.” “So, do you intend to remain on your horse or will you join me?” “I intend to remain here.” He extended his hand. “Come ride with me.” Elizabeth looked around. “Do you not think my riding with you is inappropriate?” “Indeed, entirely inappropriate, scandalous even. If caught, I might even be forced to marry you.” -  P.O.Dixon

This book follows Elizabeth to London after Mr Bingleys leave taking of Netherfield, Spending time with a relative that frequents the same circles as Darcy. Elizabeth is on a mission to speak with Mr Bingley to try to ascertain his true feelings in regards to her sister Jane. As a result we see a bolder Elizabeth prepared to skirt the edges of propriety in order to accomplish the task at hand.

Oh dear this boldness leaves Elizabeth in an awkward situation, ending up at Darcy's town house soaked through, very much like her sister Jane when she ventured to Netherfield park on horseback? Well the last of Mr Darcy's resolve not to have Elizabeth goes up in a puff of smoke, after Elizabeth takes ill and has to spend the night at his house!

With a scandal looming as a result of such a thing, Darcy will have to propose to Elizabeth but as per usual she will not have him.

Elizabeth’s heartbeat thundered with rage. “Never! The next time you boast of the great satisfaction you enjoyed in saving your friend from the prospect of such inferior connections, boast of saving yourself, as well!" -  P.O.Dixon

The consequences of Mr Bingleys abrupt departure leaves Jane in a state of depression, this gives rise to a budding relationship between Elizabeth and Mary, which is lovely. What I like about Dixon's "what ifs" is that she tries to change little aspects which show how slight changes in life decisions and how we ultimately react to them can lead to an altered path in life.

We meet Lord Latham and his sister Lady Gwendolene who has set her sights on Darcy. She is a lovely woman  who Darcy has no objections against, save for the fact that he is Bewitched, body and soul by one Miss Elizabeth Bennet of Longbourn.

Lord Latham may have enjoyed the title, but Darcy enjoyed the fortune inherent in being the heir to Pemberley. While aristocracy aspired to power, financial fortune equalled power.-  P.O.Dixon

The Confessions of Fitzwilliam Darcy by Mary Street

'I was taken aback, for even a hint of temper in Bingley was most unusual: as a rule, he is the most amiable of men. ‘Am I so disagreeable?’ I asked. ‘Sometimes you are.’ Then he grinned. ‘You know you are.’ ‘Have you determined what is to be done about it?’ ‘There is nothing to be done about it,’ he said seriously. ‘You are too clever. You will descend to the level of ordinary mortals only by falling violently in love and making yourself ridiculous.’ ‘Heaven forbid!’ ‘In your case, Heaven may,’ replied Bingley, ‘though I confess I have not entirely given up hope.’ - M.Street

I have read two Mr Darcy's diary's by different authors and although this was not a diary it was very similar, it tells us P&P from Mr Darcy's point of view in a brief yet succinct way, almost like a diary. I thought I might get bored as there would be nothing new, but was pleasantly surprised. The author managed to create many new view points and perspectives to account for situations that were not fully explained in the original P&P. Especially the morning  Elizabeth and Mrs Gardiner pay a morning visit to Georgiana at Pemberly. I never quite understood the anxiety when Miss Bingley mentions that the militia were quartered at Meryton, she does not particularly mention Wickham and I am not sure why Georgiana is over come with confusion and unable to left up her eyes , did she know Wickaham had been stationed in Meryton? Or was it Darcy's anxiety because he thought Caroline may mention his name, but this book seems to come up with a plausible possibility.

'She thanked me but refused and Sir William’s attempt to persuade her had no effect. After a few moments she excused herself and turned away. Thus it was that Miss Elizabeth Bennet had the distinction of being the first woman ever to refuse to dance with me. Far from being offended, I was, on the contrary, rather pleased with her for, had she accepted, she would have obliged me to join that noisy, untidy set and exhibit myself in a manner which would have afforded the most acute embarrassment.' - M.Street

Also when I have read other books that give an account of Mr Darcy during his time away, for example Netherfield to Hunsford I start to panic because I fear it will be boring and I would prefer not to skip it, so I hope the content is good enough to hold my attention (I am sure you know what I mean, Darcy and Elizabeth come as a pair so without them, it better be gripping or at least interesting). Luckily this book tries to avoid that altogether as Darcy quickly moves onto the bits we are really interested in. But parts the that do not involve Elizabeth are the parts we are all eager to know more about.

'She would have been a widow as soon as she was a wife, for I would have killed him. Aye, and swung for it, if I had to.’ ‘You could not!’ whispered Georgiana, appalled. ‘You could not court death and dishonour in such a way!’ ‘Better tried and hanged for murder than the disgrace of knowing you were tied for life to such a man, and through my carelessness.’ M.Street

I found Darcy's dialogue with Georgiana after finding her in Ramsgate very interesting and her reasoning was very realistic. Darcy in also quite the lay psychologist in how he deciphers what different situations mean in regards to Elizabeth, it is fascinating indeed and very intelligent I must say. Most books tend to follow a path of Mr Darcy's anger after the proposal, followed by a very gradual self reflection once his anger has given way to reason. But this book sees Mr Darcy quickly understanding  the meaning of  her reproofs and taking them on board fairly quickly which was surprising; then again considering how quickly he was working out the meanings behind everyone words and actions in this book, I suppose I am not surprised. A delightful Sunday read.

'There was but one person of our party who objected to my plan, and greatly to my astonishment: Mr Hurst was of the opinion we should not interfere. ‘Deuced fine woman,’ he said of Jane Bennet. ‘Bingley won’t find another like her.’ ‘No one is disputing that,’ I informed him coldly. ‘Her family is the problem: you know my views on that subject.’ ‘If he does not object, why should you?’ ‘He has not given the matter proper consideration,’ I said with finality. Overruled by the rest of us, Mr Hurst said no more, but his objection had amazed me. I would not have expected him to have any opinion on the matter.' - M.Street

Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy: The Last Man in the World by Abigail Reynolds

I will start by saying this book should have been called Elizabeth & Darcy's misunderstandings!
I have never known so many misunderstanding in my, life although this is typical Elizabeth & Darcy.
This book also needs to come with a no sleep warning as I could not put it down until these misunderstandings were resolved!!!

What would indeed happen if Mr Darcy assumed Elizabeth was about to say yes at Hunsford and kissed her soundly, unbeknownst to them in full view of the Colonel. Well I'll tell you, a marriage that propriety would demand without the change Mr Darcy and Elizabeth both go through in the original P&P. Oh dear this story was tragic indeed!!!!

"If all he expects of me is not to push him away when he wants to kiss me, it ought to be simple enough. She would have to ask someone, perhaps her aunt Gardiner, how much more there was to marriage. The thought made her blush, which seemed to please her new husband -to-be" - A.Reynolds

Lets just say if I could have jumped into the book and banged their heads together I would have done so! Frustration does not even describe how I felt while reading this book yet I could not put it down. I could really relate to the total despair that radiated from this book, not because I am a pessimist but who could not feel empathy and a sense of relate-ability to such feelings.

Perhaps I have not put this story in the best light and you maybe thinking do I really want to read this, well I have no regrets, there was humour, twists and wordplay on the original and the fact I could not put it down even if for all the wrong reasons, still has its merits. I was drawn into Elizabeth's world and felt as if I were there experiencing it all for myself. The anguish she felt when she finally realised she loved him ,but she thought he no longer cared was too much too bear, I felt her pain most acutely which must be solely to the credit of the authors portrayal and writing skill.

The colonel had me laughing although I do not think at times he was meaning to be funny!

"The colonel’s voice hardened. “Drink this, or I will drag you out to the old stable and thrash you soundly.” - A.Reynolds

See what I mean its not funny but I cannot help laughing.
I will leave you with some of the notes I had been writing during the book

"oh Elizabeth how naive"
"Oh wow strange that in this circumstance it is true"
"Mr Collins has vexed me more than Wickham!"
"This is awkward indeed"
"I cannot imagine, well I can but"
"Oh wow I need sleep it is 4 in the morning but I cannot put the book down"
"Oh Elizabeth"
"Oh Darcy"

“You are kind to be sensible of his position, but I hope you understand that as my future wife, you need fear no one.” She wondered if he thought it below her to worry about Mr. Collins. However agreeable she planned to be to her future husband, she did not intend to behave with his sort of pride - A. Reynolds

The Journey by Jah Hahn

An arranged marriage is one of my favorite what ifs but Jan Hahn's second book The Journey surpassed all my expectations. Elizabeth is travelling to London to visit the Gardiners after the Netherfield ball, to get away after Mr Collins's proposal. After Bingley suggests to Mr Bennet that Elizabeth can ride to London with him , she ends up in a carriage with Bingley's sisters and Mr Darcy! Their carriage is accosted by highway men and following a chain of events Mr Darcy ends up declaring Elizabeth as his wife! 

What follows is sheer delight! Yes I know, how could being accosted be delightful well I think you know the answer to that, a one Mr Darcy of Pemberley estates in Derbyshire. His present is so calming and reassuring, to be accosted did not feel as frightening as it should have been, okay maybe that just my opinion!
You will follow Elizabeth and Darcy on a journey neither you or they will forget! Each character is brilliant and close I think, in keeping with Austen's.

“Me? I was not speaking of myself, Miss Bennet! I most certainly do not seek a husband from anyone residing in the country. When I marry, it shall be to a man of breeding, a man who possesses a certain air, a definite manner of carrying himself, a cosmopolitan at home in London or Vienna, not someone who buries himself in country society.” “’Tis a pity,” Mr. Darcy said, “for that excludes the eligible gentlemen from Derbyshire.” Caroline gasped, realizing she had placed her foot squarely in her mouth, and began to stammer and sputter as to what she truly meant, but Mr. Darcy said nothing further.- Jan Hahn

Oh dear this excerpt is from the beginning of the book and we've only just started!  Darcy is too funny yet still his reserved and reticent self. He is every bit the rescuer in keeping with the side that rescued Lydia from her fate, at the time he said it has been all for Elizabeth, so you can imagine how far he will go when doing something directly for her and her alone.

This book is full of lovely humour especially Mr Bennet's delightful wit, along with all the usual Elizabeth and Darcy misunderstandings! Mr Darcy is so reserved just like Austen's that if you had not read the original P&P you would be hard pressed to know what he is really thinking as he is such an enigma.

He smiled slightly and turned his head aside. I rolled my eyes, wondering how I had come to this point in my life where I must confess to the last man in all of England I wished to converse with that I had a bruised derriere! I decided to speak of another matter - Jan Hahn

I really enjoyed this book, throughout I was either laughing, saying "that's so sweet" or "Elizabeth you are so blind! listen to your heart not your mind!" I do so love a jealous Mr Darcy! Well who doesn't want to feel important every now and then, although in Elizabeth's case she does not even see it! On more than one occasion I wanted to jump in the book and trade places with her.

Completely unbidden, I began to weep uncontrollably. I buried my face in my hands while my shoulders shook with relief. It was some moments before I ceased long enough to realize that I now stood within Mr. Darcy’s arms, and it was his voice I heard whispering comforting words in my ear. I realized that his hand was upon my head, and I did not struggle when he gently pressed my cheek against his chest. There he stroked my hair over and over, and once my sobbing lessened slightly, I was surprised to hear the ferocity with which his heart now beat in my ear. “Elizabeth,” he whispered, slipping his handkerchief into my hand, “Elizabeth, do not cry so. I cannot bear it.” I became aware of what felt like a kiss upon my hair, and then his lips touched my forehead in the softest of caresses. Was it my imagination? - Jan Hahn

Morgan the leader of the highway men is a lovable rogue and as usual Elizabeth takes an eager interest in his affairs! The compassion and understanding she had, Jane would have been very proud indeed.
All I will say is that this is one Journey that will not disappoint!!!!!!