This book is what I would call, an understated, little gem!
You need look no further than the last chapter in Austen's Pride and Prejudice to understand Lory's vision for this book and to my sheer delight, her inspiration is the 1995 P&P with Firth and Ehle, squeak!!!.
For me the last chapter in P&P conveyed so much, yet gave so little, I selfishly wanted more and this little darling of a book does precisely that! When I was speaking to Lory about this book she said "Elizabeth and Darcy are meant to be the happiest couple in the world, right?" And I could not agree more!
Therefore if you were expecting Elizabeth and Darcy to be anything other than happy or for the Colonel to get horrifically injured or for some other ghastly mishap to take place, then you will be sorely disappointed. However, if like me, you believed Darcy and Elizabeth would have their happily ever after, then I am certain you will appreciate and enjoy this story, as much as I did.
Following Elizabeth and Darcy for little over a year, their first Christmas is spent at Pemberley along with the Bennets, the Gardiners and the Bingleys (yes including the Bingley sisters). You will be pleased to know that Mrs Gardiner's wish to tour the grounds in a small phaeton, were realised. Between June and August Darcy takes Elizabeth on a tour of England.
Returning to London in November to spend the season, we catch up with the two lovebirds at Darcy house. The Bingleys are to host a joint anniversary dinner and Lady Matlock, displeased that the Darcy's forewent the previous season, is eager for Elizabeth to throw a ball and be properly introduced to society.
"Darcy helped Elizabeth sit near Georgiana then took a place right across from her as he always did. She had asked him some time ago why he did not sit beside her at the table, and he had answered that he preferred to have a full view of her beautiful face and to enjoy her smiles, her fine eyes, and all the small gestures that for such a long time he had admired only from afar. Now, more than ever before, she could feel his eyes caressing her while the servants brought the first course and the others asked Darcy about his journey." - Lory Lilian
I loved this story for too many reasons to mention, but what I liked most, was that Lory tried to keep the characters as close to Austen's as possible in regards to how they might behave. For instance Mrs Bennet was kept how I like her, a little over the top but sensible enough not to ruin her daughter's marriages and reputations amongst the ton or the Matlocks for that matter! Lets not forget the business of her life, was to see her daughters married and I am sure she would do nothing to jeopardise that.
Lory does a exceptional job in addressing and expanding on the brief glimpse of the future Austen left us. I liked how the gradual change Bingley undertakes is conveyed, as he tries to gain his assertiveness in his new found position as husband and his conflict of interest in light of how his sisters behave. How would it have been? Although Caroline would not have been insensible in preserving her right to visit Pemberley, it does not follow that she would be so altered that her manner would soften towards Jane. As Mr Bennet observed, Bingley and Jane are so easy and generous that It came as no surprise that their marriage would run into a few problems. Darcy and Elizabeth had their fair amount of trials and tribulations in P&P but I felt Bingley and Jane's were on the horizon. After all, Elizabeth gained a sweet and loving sister in Georgiana but the same could not be said for Jane. Elizabeth was not settled too near her family, Yet Jane was just a stones throw from Longbourn!
"Mr. Darcy’s “ten thousand a year,” his estates, and his wealth meant little to her. His best qualities—those for which she felt herself blessed—were his generous nature, his kindness, his honesty, his fairness, his intelligence and knowledge of the world, his love of books, art and everything beautiful—and his love and passion for her. His dark gaze and small, hidden smiles when he looked at her, his soft, low voice whispering to her, his strong yet tender hands that offered her safety, warmth, caresses, and . . . Her own thoughts made her tremble," - Lory Lilian
The details for me, are what Lory does best, every question I had, she answered. For instance did Mr Bennet tell Mrs Bennet the truth about what Darcy had done for Lydia? It is these little details I appreciate because they are important to me and I think every Janiete can relate to that.
Keeping details realistic adds to the depth of a story, how did the Matlocks take to Elizabeth? How was she received by the ton? How did Darcy handle the fact that Wickham was part of the family? Lory pulled off a wonderful job in all aspects that mattered. Each of her Characters, old and new I adored and I frequently had a satisfied grin on my face.
My favourite scenes were Elizabeth's repartee with the Countess of Jersey, a patroness of Almack's, Jane and Bingley's enlightenment to how they had misunderstood one another, Mrs Bennet's heart to heart with Elizabeth and Darcy's worry and outrage pertaining to Elizabeth's health.
There is something lovely about Darcy's protectiveness over Elizabeth, it is so masculine yet heart-warming because it conveys how much she means to him. They both love each other without question but by closely keeping to the original characters we do not get the overly passionate or unbelievable Darcy. We do not see a Darcy that cannot bare to be apart from Elizabeth for even a moment, he still pursues his manly pursuits like visiting his mens' club, while Elizabeth enjoys spending time with Georgiana, Jane and Mrs Gardiner.
“So she went alone? Twenty servants in this house, and she went alone? Where was everybody? Sarah, Mrs. Benson—and Stevens—I already had a decided discussion with him. Does no one attend to their duties when I am away?” - Lory Lilian
Elizabeth is quite the lady and it was great to witness how she handled herself in her new station in life, in one particular scene, I loved how she pacified Darcy's displeasure with his aunt, while still showing him the respect a husband like Darcy should garner, without belittling him in the presence of company. Another theme that ran throughout was Darcy and Elizabeth's connection, through knowing glances they silently communicated with one another. Remember the 1995 piano scene at Pemberley, when their eyes meet at the piano while she turns the pages for Georgiana, shortly after Caroline's thinly veiled attack, if you do, then you will know what I am talking about. I was unhappy that the story was not longer, I could have read another 100 pages, covering Georgiana's coming out and Elizabeth's presentation to court , but then it would be unfair to criticize a book that at 110 pages is described as a short story, there goes my selfishness again!
Capital! I was pleased with everyone and everything in this book, Mr Bennet's wit, Mrs Bennet's love for her daughters, Mrs Gardiner's wise presence, Caroline's disdain, Lady Matlock's tender concern and family loyalty in promoting the reputation of the Darcy's and lets not forget Colonel Fitzwilliam's jovial manner. Jane and Bingley were too sweet. Elizabeth was kind, loving and considerate. Darcy was a great friend, generous and most importantly a gentleman. It should come as no surprise that both couples were most certainly, a Perfect Match!
|This book is worthy of 5 hearts - Mr Darcy!|
Without further ado, the Giveaway!
Lory Lilian is kindly donating one Paperback copy and one Ebook copy of The Perfect Match! This giveaway is open internationally and the winners will be announced on the 11th June. The winners will have 48hrs to contact me via my 'contact me' tab, located at the top of my blog.
To be in with a chance of winning this delightful Pride and Prejudice continuation, just leave a comment below and state your preference in regards to a paperback or ebook copy! Good luck Everyone!!!!