Almost from the very beginning, I knew that I would like this book, if the size of my grin was anything to go by!
I have recently been reading modern JAFF and if done well they can be great reads. However it is books like 'The Falmouth Connection' that totally encompass my love for Regency JAFF and the great ones put me in D & E literary heaven :)
"That a grown man could be so put out by the vagaries of the English climate was bordering on the ridiculous. One would have thought he had been blessed with perpetual sunshine over the hills of Derbyshire!" - Joana Starnes
Beginning at Hunsford we get straight into the thick of the story, Darcy has yet to propose and Elizabeth has been summoned to Falmouth to join her family at the request of Mrs Bennet's aunt.
Mr Darcy and the Colonel are only too happy to offer escort to Elizabeth and her maid, albeit it be all the way to Falmouth. I am sure you will not be surprised to hear that Lady Catherine was displeased at the impropriety of two young men escorting Elizabeth alone, the maid not worthy of the title chaperone!
Despite Lady Catherine's objections, Darcy and the Colonel are to escort Elizabeth. The latter aware that the former intends to propose and the former aware the latter will feign sleep on their journey. Not that a gentlemen of Mr Darcy's sensibilities would dream of proposing in a carriage with an audience, however when and how does he propose to do it? Lets just say there's no getting away from the 'last man in the world' speech when it comes to a good JAFF and it will eventually come, even if it is not in Hunsford but along the lovely coast of Falmouth. If Darcy is to win Elizabeth he's going to need more staying power than Bingley, all the amiability of the Colonel, a kind and compassionate author, all the while encroaching on the ambiguous hospitality of his love rival, Lord Trevellyan!
"As for the carriage, heaven help us! Aye, he would gladly have Fitzwilliam wait out in the rain - and perforce the poor blameless maid, into the bargain - but how the deuce was he to bare his soul to her, propose to her and, with any luck, kiss her - in his carriage, for goodness' sake? Or by the side of the road, like a common ploughboy? Or worse still, in the courtyard of a country inn, milling with all and sundry?" - Joana Starnes
The dialogue is delightful, Mr Darcy is amiable for most of the book! Although we know him to be taciturn in nature, this Darcy is Firth all the way, that smile when he told Mrs Gardiner (1995) that he used to run to Lambton as a little boy, the Darcy that rests his eyes on Elizabeth at the pianoforte at Pemberley (1995).
This book has it all, scoundrel Wickham, up to no good as per. An adorable and gullible Bingley who has his work cut out, when Jane does not welcome him with open arms (I do not blame her)! A witty Mr Bennet, who after witnessing his daughters being kissed, turns into the disciplinarian he should have been overnight! Lord Trevellyan, a rival for Elizabeth's affections, created the most heart rendering of scenes, between Lord Trevellyan and Darcy I did not know who to feel more sorry for. Mrs Bennet was great, I loved her matchmaking for once and she had my full approval. A fantastic Colonel who follows an unusual path to a happily ever after.
It is not often done but when authors make me like Lydia, it's gold stars all round, a surprising twist led me from shock to reconciliation, towards an idea so novel I had to smile.
"Mrs Bennet nervously prattled as she struggled with the daunting task of entertaining the most taciturn gentleman of her acquaintance, and holding him in place until she could ascertain whether her suppositions were in any way justified."
"Heavens above, how positively vexing! Just how long can anyone stretch a picnic? Where on earth are you Lizzy? For goodness sake, come home now. enough is enough!"- Joana Starnes
My absolute favourite part of the book is the night garden scene and from there I was sighing up until the last page. Joana sets the scene beautifully, the fear and adrenaline Elizabeth is feeling as a result of her walk through the woods in the pitch black of night sets the stage for a kiss that is executed perfectly.
"He did not linger there. Cards had never sparked his interest and were not likely to begin tonight. So he took another cup of punch from the obliging footman and returned to the parlour, steadfastly keeping his back to the great hall throughout - for he knew full well how badly he would have needed this final act of kindness, had the scales of Fortune been tipped the other way" - Joana Starnes
I was blissfully content to marvel in the absolute pleasure that I attained from the propriety and constraints of the Regency era which governed the direction of this book. 'The Falmouth Connection' has all the ingredients that a great P&P JAFF story should possess and I was hard pressed to find fault. Darcy & Elizabeth are adorably lovely in this heart warming story of true love.
|This book is worthy of 5 Hearts - Mr Darcy!|
Joana Starnes is kindly giving a copy of 'The Falmouth Connection', as a giveaway prize, comment on one reason you love Regency JAFF or leave a comment about the book. (open internationally)
Winner to be announced on the 27th Nov 14. Good Luck everyone! Thank you again Joana Starnes for the giveaway!
I received an Arc copy for my honest review.