Tuesday, 29 April 2014

The Secret Betrothal By Jan Hahn

Knowing a book is on the horizon months before it's release date is torture, especially when it is one of your favourite authors. So as you can imagine, when I finally got hold of A Secret Betrothal, it was read within days. What a premise, Elizabeth secretly betrothed to Wickham! "Well I never!!!!" Never did I think Elizabeth so blind! Yet I cast my mind back to the original P&P, when she believed Wickham's lies and was very partial to him at one time, even warranting a lecture from her aunt Gardiner on the evils of such an imprudent match.

What I find with Jan's stories is that Elizabeth has more Prejudice and Darcy has less Pride. Yet this storyline has to be the ultimate extreme of Elizabeth's blind prejudice, I was tutting and shaking my head throughout this book at Elizabeth's foolish gullibility, will she ever learn!! Looking back through my highlights and notes for this review I think the following note sums up my sentiments "Elizabeth, constantly Championing Wickham is getting on my nerves, why is she ignoring her gut instinct!!!"

"Being young and inexperienced and looking to Darcy as my model, I was lured into the gaming halls and, consequently, I ran up a bit of debt." - Jan Hahn

The story begins just before the Netherfield ball, with Bingley and Darcy tarrying longer to attend the Mistletoe ball in Meryton. Wickham notices Darcy's preference for Elizabeth and determined to have something Darcy cannot, proposes to Elizabeth; all the while managing to spin another tale as to why their betrothal must remain secret. Wow I thought Lydia was foolish, apparently not!

Rosings still sees Darcy's disastrous proposal, however as Elizabeth is betrothed to that weasel Wickham, she will not accept Darcy's letter of explanation.
Mr Collins is at his finest! His eagerness to please Lady Catherine leads to utter chaos and tragedy for dear Charlotte, leaving Darcy no choice but to stay on at Rosings a little while longer.  When Elizabeth meets him at Rosings again, with his shirt sleeves rolled up, we see indeed that the master of Pemberley has no improper pride, he is willing to get his hands dirty!!! Will Elizabeth finally get to see the Darcy we all know and love.

The second half of this story takes place in Brighton and I always love a new place so that my imagination can take hold,.With places like Longbourn or Netherfield I feel I already know them, before I have even picked up a book. But never before have I visited Lady Catherine seaside retreat nor do I think she would ever extend an invitation for me to stay there! However I did enjoy my time, especially the beach and rocks that featured so frequently.

Wickham was indeed a surprise despite the fact that I despised him, by the end of the story I actually felt I may have seen a glimpse of the man behind the deceit for a change. For angst, there was one particular scene at the Foresters ball in Brighton that had me literally holding my breath. I actually felt like I was in the crowd listening to it all  unfold, I was all astonishment as Miss Bingley would say and I felt all the nauseating symptoms Elizabeth would have been feeling, as well as the hurt Mr Darcy would have suffered. Well done Jan that was a great bit of angst, especially as you had me saying out loud "oh no, oh no, I cannot believe it" prompting family members to enquire after my health. "Are you okay?" "yes yes, but I could strangle that Wickham if given half a chance, he's despicable!!!" They look at you strangely and slowly step away.

"This man had held her close, so close he spoke of her scent . . . he had kissed her lips . . . he knew Elizabeth intimately. Darcy crushed the scrap of paper in his fist and slammed it against the wall, crying out with a curse of anguish too mournful to describe" - Jan Hahn

Darcy's despair in this book was conveyed so well, I really felt his pain and all because he loves Elizabeth. I cannot reiterate enough that with Jan's stories I never feel any dislike towards Darcy, yet Elizabeth is so stubborn and I constantly get annoyed with her. At the end of this book Elizabeth is left feeling guilty about an event that takes place and although it does her credit in showing she is very similar to Jane. I was yet again left feeling frustrated with her, argh!!!! Thank goodness Jane talked some sense into her as I had a few choice words of my own.

Another great instalment from Jan Hahn, although my favourite of hers remains the same. My order of preference is as follows The Journey, An Arranged Marriage, The Secret Betrothal.

As always I love to hear your thoughts!


  1. It was a book interesting but with a plot that I did not like. Elizabeth so vulnerable is awful. Although, Jan does a good job. This is a kind of variation that I would not read it again. Although I enjoyed rather of the moments that our partner shared together.

    1. I agree with you Warmisunqu Elizabeth's vulnerability was awful to see, I thought what happened to poor Georgiana was bad enough but what happened to Elizabeth was worse. Thanks for stopping by.

  2. I have this on my kindle and I hope to read it soon but it looks like it will be an emotional journey! I am storing up some emotional bravery first!

  3. Hi Ceri, I was frustrated beyond belief, Can't wait to read your review when you get round to it, as its interesting to get other peoples thoughts on it. :)


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