Sunday, 21 September 2014

Pride & Persistence By Jeanna Ellsworth

Pride and Persistence had me laughing from Hunsford to Meryton! I have been struggling to find time to read as of late and commitments to review other books that were not Austenesque have taken me away from JAFF and although a refreshing change, it was not until I read Pride and Persistence that I realised I have been a fool for thinking I could read anything else. It may be an ignorant statement but I have dearly missed anything Austenesque, I know it has only been four weeks, but is that not long enough? This book was what the Janeite in me needed, it was the perfect reminder of why I LOVE JAFF!

Okay shall I tell you about the book? J Charming, delightfully funny and a pleasant surprise! After reading the blurb I was confident I knew what this was about, obviously if I had, there would be no need to read the book, however that is the sign of a good blurb, thanks for the twist Jeanna, I did not see it coming!

After the terrible proposal at Hunsford, Darcy does not meet Elizabeth in the grove and has to visit the parsonage in order to give her his letter. Unfortunately (or fortunately in this case) it is raining and Mr Darcy falls off his thunder spooked horse, hitting his head and breaking a leg. The result, a few weeks stay on Mr Collins’s chaise and short term memory loss! (I am still not sure which is worse) After the doctor assigns Mr Darcy a nurse, it soon becomes evident that his confusion and agitation each morning upon awaking, can only be calmed by the one and only, Elizabeth Bennet, no surprises there! Elizabeth’s reward for her helping Mr Darcy is having to endure him propose to her every day, as he seems not to remember his first disastrous proposal, oh how very convenient!   
I loved each subsequent proposal he gave, his proud and haughty demeanour vanishing with each. He was a perfect gentleman for ninety nine percent of the book and a man most worthy of Elizabeth's hand indeed. I found it hard to understand why she had refused the first proposal! I may be a tad biased of course!

The question is, with Darcy mastering the art of proposing, would Elizabeth eventually accept him on the bases of a near perfect proposal? Probably not, she has other provocations you know, which Darcy is unaware of as a result of his short term memory loss!  "Those were your words. You know not, you can scarcely conceive, how they have tortured me" (J.Austen) I am sure the Darcy from canon would have appreciated such memory loss, he would have saved himself such torture :)

 I  adored watching Darcy’s transformation, his slow realisation and understanding of where he had gone wrong was painful yet delightful all at once. Elizabeth’s acknowledgement of the man Darcy really is and her self reflection on all of her previous dealings with Darcy were great. These reflections were like an autopsy on canon and I enjoy seeing P&P from the author's point of view. The Colonel's words of wisdom were an added extra and I am always happy to see Darcy's cousin. An amiable, sensible and dependable Colonel is just what the doctor ordered.

"She tried to be honest with herself. Was her pride so hurt that she wanted to show him just exactly what he was missing when he refused to dance with her? Did she intend to show him just how tempting she really was? Did she behave differently with him than any other man? Was she different with Bingley? With Wickham? She groaned with the realization that she did indeed behave differently with Mr. Darcy. She was so prideful that she had crossed society’s carefully created rules and treated him differently than any other man she knew. To Bingley, she was cordial, happy, and polite. To Wickham, she accepted his kind compliments graciously and humbly. But with Mr. Darcy, she had argued and quarreled. She debated every issue she could with him. She had not behaved as a proper lady should." - Jeanna Ellsworth

Jeanna has created a most appalling Mr Collins, to which I give Charlotte my deepest sympathies. Of course I have no objections, as we can never be too short on valid reasons or justifications for Elizabeth’s refusal of his hand at Longbourn.  I laughed wholeheartedly at everyone dodging Mr Collins's spit as he spoke and the humour of Mr Collins’s cook always brought a smile to my face. A sly and conniving Lady Catherine adds to the drama and I do delight in loathing Darcy’s aunt. The wonderful nurse sent to take care of Darcy can only be another reflection on Jeanna herself.

Elizabeth and Darcy's personalities are slightly different to how I imagine them in canon, but they are great none the less. Elizabeth is funny, witty, kind and I loved her. Darcy is sweet, adorable, venerable and persistent!!

While reading this book I had a most persistent cough, the type that has people wondering if you are snickering at them, the kind that is set off at the slightest provocation. I took my Kindle with me to A&E because my daughter had an allergic reaction to a mosquito bite on her leg, I know not nearly as serious as Darcy's broken one. I was at a part in the story where Elizabeth and Darcy are writing letters to one another. Every time I chuckled it started my coughing off and at one point the nurse looked over as if to say “are you sure it is not you who needs to be seen?” Suffice to say I was chuckling for the best part of an hour and considering most people were ill or in pain, I thought it was bad taste on my part to be laughing so unabashedly, therefore my kindle was reluctantly put away. Although they do say laughter is the best medicine, I unfortunately did not have forty copies of Pride and Persistence to hand. I know I have digressed but this book has humour and wit in abundance and if  a story about frequent coughing bouts best convey that message, then so be it!
"After twenty minutes of sipping tea, Elizabeth couldn’t stand it any longer; she made her excuses and escaped to her father’s study. She found her father there, staring out the window, laughing at the team of people helping Mr. Darcy out of the carriage. “Ah, Lizzy! I do not think I have ever seen a gentleman scoot on his bottom before. You just missed it. I am not sure how many more people can fit into that carriage or huddle around the door, but apparently Mr. Darcy has made it safely to the ground.” - Jeanna Ellsworth

I would like to take the time to say thank you to the kind nurse, who I am sure every Austen fan is now indebted to, for nursing Mr Darcy back to health!
I thoroughly enjoyed this story, especially Darcy's vulnerable side. It is a light hearted, funny, clean read that cheered me every time I picked it up!

This book is worthy of 4 & half hearts - Mr Bingley & Mr Darcy!

As always I delight in  hearing your thoughts!

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