Saturday, 13 July 2013

Rain and Retribution By L.L.Diamond

Rain and Retribution by L.L.Diamond

“A woman of the ton would not have cared if I had cheated Wickham of a living. She would not challenge or question my thoughts. Instead, she would simper and fawn to attract my notice, or possibly attempt to trap me in a compromising position.” - What an observation! - L.L. Diamond

This is a real refreshing change from the P&P 'what ifs' I have been reading recently. As with the usual 'what ifs' you can guess roughly where it is going and how it is going to turn out. However not with this book! Most variations change the basics, what if they meet in London before Pemberley or what if Mr Bennett died? This books changes the what ifs that could have occurred before the original P&P begins.

We do not see much of the Bennett family, but as a result we get more Darcy and Elizabeth, yay!! Usually with variations I need for things to turn out as expected regardless of how they get there. Enjoying the angst of will they won't they and misunderstandings galore. This book defies that and is the opposite to what I am accustom too, yet surprisingly I was not upset due to the fact the characters are skillfully built on a different 'what if ' foundation.
What I loved about this book was it's realism, Elizabeth was witty and impertinent, but not overly witty like so many variations which feel that she must say something that will amaze the whole room. The Colonel was a jovial character which was refreshing in comparison to other variations that make him really funny and suprise I actually liked Mr Hurst in this!
I loved the analysis that was done, incorporating the societal morals, values and customs of the era. Various concepts were explored which other P&P variations have not done in such detail, including why the late Mr Darcy seem to favor Wickham and why he was so jealous.
I loved this Darcy, a mans man who commands respect and oozes authority. He is very protective without being over bearing and loves Elizabeth most ardently.

“I do not believe you to be beneath me, Elizabeth. You have qualities I value which are worth more to me than money and connections.” -  I Love Diamond's Mr Darcy

Some of Austen's original words are twisted ( used in different situations or said by others) and there are some great ones but not loads compared to other variations that go over the top with them. Okay so briefly the negatives, the language was more contemporary than regency and some of it did not flow as well as it could; but this has to be excused in light of the fact this is a self published book. The making of this book has to be the in depth details that made it a pleasure to read. I look forward to another if the author cares to favor us. As always I cannot resist sharing another excerpt, so I will leave you with this.

“I could be wrong,” he said, trying not to smile. “But I would hope that I am a small improvement over Mr. Collins.” Whatever she had expected him to say next, it had definitely not been that. She began laughing," - L.L. Diamond

My obsession with Elizabeth and Darcy is getting out of hand!!

Okay my obsession is getting out of hand! Where do I begin since starting this bicentenary challenge to read or watch anything Pride and Prejudice related I have become addicted. Since I have never read any JAFF before you could think it understandable, but I'm not so sure. I agreed to 12 + items within twelves months (although I started the challenge in late march so make that 9) so far my total is 24!! I'm reading so much that I am behind on writing the reviews for them lol!! My life has revolved around my Kindle, although I have three kids and am finishing my access course to University. I will read and take my Kindle as far as propriety will allow and now I have the kindle App on my phone, things have gotten worse!! Pretending i'm texting when in fact i'm reading, although disguise of every sort is my abhorrence, its goes out the window when it comes to this. My Fiance and children can be heard saying "oh no shes reading again!" Only last week they came into the kitchen to find my kindle propped up against the toaster while I was peeling the veg. I am quite happy for delays whether it be at the doctors, in a queue or waiting for a friend, "take your time i'll just be reading lol".

I have been pestering my sister in law to read Pride and Prejudice for a while now and she finally got round to it and I am pleased to say we have another Janeite, she is now following my JAFF list. As she sometimes works in the city by Hyde Park  she says she looks at some of the houses and thinks I wonder if that is where Darcy lived lol! Finally! I have someone who understands my obsession, although I have been careful in reigning it in, less she starts to worry about me! I refuse to let any one or anything burst my Pride and Prejudice cocoon right now and that is worrying. On the one hand I feel a little scared that this obsession is not healthy but on the other hand I am quite enjoying myself!

I have also been planning my trips to the Jane Austen Centre in Bath,Jane Austen Museum in Hampshire and a trip to Chatsworth house in Derbyshire. Whilst on the Chatsworth site I noticed they held weddings and have fallen in love with the idea. I am getting married in the Caribbean in 2015, but already I am now torn between the two! However It has already been decided that regardless of the outcome I will have my Hen Do in Derbyshire, we will dress in Edwardian costume and visit Chatsworth for the day and party back at the hotel in the evening!

My sister in law and my daughter are also coming with me on a three day trip to Chatsworth. On the evening of the 1st August they are having an outdoor theater performance of Pride and Prejudice, which we will attend. The next day we will then go and visit the house and grounds and finish the evening back at the hotel by watching the Keira Knightly version, as Pemberley was filmed there. I will write a review for the performance and the movie for the challenge. Yay my Picnic basket has arrived for the Chatsworth evening!!

Mr Darcy's Obsession by Abigail Reynolds

 I will start with the blurb from the back of the book

 "Mr. Darcy is determined to find a more suitable bride. But then he learns that Elizabeth is living in London in reduced circumstances, after her father's death robs her of her family home...
What if...Mr. Darcy can't Help himself from see king her out...
He just wants to make sure she's alright. But once he's seen her, he feels compelled to talk to her, and from there he's unable to fight the overwhelming desire to be near her, or the ever-growing mutual attraction that is between them..." - A.Reynolds

This book is a Pride and Prejudice variation, if your someone who doesn't like Jane Austen's work meddled with then this book probably isn't for you; but if like me you love anything Darcy and Elizabeth (within reason) then it is an an enjoyable variation.  Jane Austen's fictional characters meet with a twist of reality which is refreshing. We really get to look at the seedy side to an era where offspring were regarded as pawns as a means of forming family alliances and fortunes. In one of the chapters  Darcy's uncle and cousins are talking about finding a husband for Georgiana; Darcy doesn't like any of the suggestions and we see how lucky she is to have the brother that Austen created.

"So a fop, a sot, or a fool was acceptable, but not French blood. Darcy was glad he had refused the port. Otherwise he might have been tempted to fling it in his uncle’s face." - A.Reynolds

It was great to see the impropriety of high society and Darcy's realization that Mrs Bennett is not singular in that quarter.  The importance of propriety and family honour is reiterated throughout the book which I always find it interesting.

In Austen's Pride and Prejudice we see that money and power is key in relation to freewill in Elizabeth's conversation with Colonel Fitzwilliam,

 “And if not able to please himself in the arrangement, he has at least pleasure in the great power of choice. I do not know anybody who seems more to enjoy the power of doing what he likes than Mr. Darcy.” “He likes to have his own way very well,” - Jane Austen

In Mr Darcy's Obsession although Power is freedom, we see in Darcy's case it is tied to a sense of propriety and the following realization I thought was great, 

"He had been raised to honour family and duty above all else, but he was no longer a child, and his uncle was not someone he could respect in anything except for his birth. What was the value of keeping such a tie?"
"The realization hit him with startling clarity. He did not need Lord Derby, Lady Catherine, or the ton. He had Pemberley, Georgiana, and Elizabeth, and that was all he needed. He was the most fortunate of men. Why look beyond them for a recognition that, in the end, meant nothing?" - A.Reynolds

The new characters introduced in the book were great, my favorites were a young street urchin named Charlie ' Mr Darcy's spy'  and aunt Augusta a woman with money of her own, who can do as she pleases. Augusta represents the power that is afforded to a women if you have money in a male dominated society. Elizabeth's wit was well done and there were many humorous moments throughout the book.  In this excerpt Mr Darcy's servant Simms sends his uncle Lord Matlock on a wild goose chase ,

"Augusta laughed heartily. “Brighton, Simms?” Simms bowed. “The boy might have said Meryton, but my hearing is not what it once was. It sounded like Brighton.” - A.Reynolds

Darcy's expressions of love were endearing and as usual I loved the fact that the author did not make Darcy a love sick fool. Overall the book is a little far fetched for Austen but plausible, hey it's fiction after all. If you love Austen fan fiction, then this is an enjoyable read. I will leave you with this last excerpt 

"Aunt Augusta laughed and nodded at Elizabeth. “You see, my dear, what a fine influence you have. One might almost think he has a sense of humour.” “Only a man with an excellent sense of humour would choose to marry me,” Elizabeth said with a knowing smile." - A.Reynolds

Feel free to voice your opinion, it is most welcome!

These Three Remain By Pamela Aiden

The last in Pamela's trilogy, from Rosings to the wedding this book is wonderful, I had 400 highlights on my Kindle!

"Hate Elizabeth? How could he? How could he hate the woman he loved for demanding of him the man he had always desired to be?" - P.Aiden

Don't know where to start! We get to see how Darcy found out Elizabeth was at Rosings, how he felt and that he could see Richard was enchanted by her.What was really interesting was Darcy's thoughts on why he thought Elizabeth did not come to Rosings, the night she plead a headache. The book is humourous as were the others in the trilogy so I have to include this excerpt of their arrival at Hunsford's Church at Easter .

Once the door was opened, he bounded out of the equipage, forgetting his duty to his aunt for the length of two strides before Darcy caught his arm. “Richard!” he hissed to him. Fitzwilliam stopped short, a question on his lips that Darcy answered with a silent cock of his head. “Oh, good Lord!” Fitzwilliam whispered fearfully and, pasting a smile on his face, stepped back to the carriage and offered his waiting aunt his hand down. “I shall write to your mother, Fitzwilliam,” Lady Catherine announced as she took his hand and descended from the barouche, her eye sharply inspecting his now blanching countenance, “and inform her of your unusual behavior. Further, I will advise that she read it to His Lordship.”- So lady Catherine!!!

Darcy's transformation was executed brilliantly I could not find fault, it was a pleasure to watch it unfold. Although Darcy's drunk evening when he confesses his history with Elizabeth to his best friend lord Brougham, did not sit well with me it was however necessary to Darcy's transformation because he would never have confessed otherwise (sober) and as a result his friends assessment of Darcy's failed proposal is priceless. Fletcher, Darcy's valet is yet again invaluable in this last book; especially his mention of Shakespeare's 29th sonnet which works so well with the idea of Darcy having hope.

"and she, with no money or prospects of her own, had roundly refused him— refused him, even with so much at stake. The consequences Elizabeth had embraced rather than trust her future to his care loomed more solidly before him than had they heretofore. What kind of woman would do so?" - Indeed what woman would!! - P.Aiden

I thoroughly enjoyed Darcy's passion for fencing as it really added more depth to his character. Was not sure about Darcy confessions to Georgiana, but it is portrayed in the original P&P that they correspond with one another and he loves his sister dearly. The conversation Darcy has with Bingley indirectly telling him to have more confidence in himself is a subtle master piece and Richard sights Elizabeth in London! These little details amazed me, what happened when Dracy left Pemberly to set off to London and what happened when he found Wickham and Lydia.
The meeting Darcy had with Hinchecliffe the late Mr Darcy's secretary was an eye opener; I always pictured Darcy just having the money to bribe Wickham, not thinking of the little details that money can be tied up in assets, meaning money is not available at a drop of a hat. What the Colonel and Brougham say to Darcy on his wedding day before he marrys Elizabeth continued to make up the wonderful details I loved so much about this book.
This trilogy has been an epic journey that I have thoroughly enjoyed, I do not think you will find another book which tells P&P from Darcy's point of view any better than this one and the language throughout is magnificent !!! I will leave you with this last excerpt as Darcy arrives at Pemberley just before meeting Elizabeth.

"He looked down on Pemberley House, questioning every exquisite line until that something found a name. Gratitude. Gratitude for what he had been given filled his breast. And for the first time in his life, Darcy felt that he might possibly be worthy to hold the great gift that had been entrusted to him." - P.Aiden


Duty and Desire By Pamela Aiden

Duty and Desire is Pamela Aiden's second book in her trilogy.

Covering the time between Darcy leaving Meryton after the Netherfield ball and just before he sets out on his journey to lady Catherine's at Easter. After his stay in London Darcy journeys to Pemberley to be with Georgiana.  Whilst there Georgiana speaks to him about whether he has managed to make amends with Elizabeth, as he related to her through correspondence about wanting to reinstate himself in Elizabeth's good graces. This is interesting because it continues to build the blocks in regards to what Georgiana knows about Elizabeth as we know from the original P&P, Georgiana visits Elizabeth with Darcy soon after arriving to Pemberly. Christmas is spent at Pemberley and throughout Darcy keeps picturing what it would be like to have Elizabeth at his side.
Darcy returns to London to find out Jane is there and is irritated by Miss Bingley's need for instruction on what to do about the matter, as we know disguise of every sort is his abhorrence.
Darcy finally manages to convince himself  that he must do what duty requires and marry, surely he can find a woman as beautiful and witty as Elizabeth within his own station. As a result he accepts an invitation to stay  at Norwycke Castle in making a beginning towards finding a wife.

From here on all I can say is Agatha Christie meets Mr Darcy!  It was different, yet enjoyable and Pamela's style of writing really has you feeling like you are there. I certainly felt all the suspense and drama within this old castle.

Fletcher (Darcy's valet) and Mr Darcy's relationship is great and a definite highlight of the book. The indirect communication through Shakespearean quotes continue and are pure genius. Upon arriving at the castle, whilst Fletcher is helping Darcy dress for dinner, Darcy says
“I have lately decided that it is time I took a wife.” 
“A wife, sir? Truly, Mr. Darcy, a wife?” A peculiar grin came over Fletcher’s face. “They are here, then, sir?” 
“Who is here? I have not the pleasure of knowing Lord Sayre’s entire guest list. Whom do you mean?” Darcy demanded of his man’s strange response. 
The valet looked back at him in confusion. “Then, why are we here, sir?” 
“Why? To look for a suitable candidate— that should be obvious! Where else should we be?” - P.Aiden
I laughed so much because the valet thought Elizabeth was there if Mr Darcy was looking for a wife.

I will not spoil the rest but as you know Darcy returns to London to set off for Rosings.
Overall maybe a little far fetched but Fletcher makes it a worthwhile read. In some reviews of this trilogy, some have left out this book but I would not, Fletcher alone makes it a good read. What Darcy observes in people of his own station is the eye opener and what he needs if he is going to consider marrying Elizabeth.