In her sixth Pride and Prejudice variation, Reynolds imagines what obstacles might have stood in the way of Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy s love had Elizabeth s father died, driving the Bennet family out of their estate at Longbourn. Elizabeth s older sister Jane is forced to marry a much older shopkeeper, and Elizabeth moves in with her uncle and aunt Gardiner. Despite Elizabeth s diminished circumstances, Darcy tracks her down, but when he finally gets around to proposing, she misinterprets his awkward bid for her hand as a request to become his mistress. As soon as that miscommunication is cleared up, Elizabeth s younger sister Lydia shows up, pregnant and abandoned by a feckless military officer. Lydia s situation necessitates Elizabeth return to her family, leaving Elizabeth to wonder if this latest disgrace will deter Darcy s determination to marry her. Austen purists won t seek out Reynolds takeoffs, but readers who can t get enough of Darcy and Elizabeth will find that Reynolds does an admirable job of capturing the feel of the period in this entertaining diversion. --Kristine Huntley
About the Author
Abigail Reynolds is a physician and a lifelong Jane Austen enthusiast. She began writing the Pride and Prejudice Variations series in 2001, and encouragement from fellow Austen fans convinced her to continue asking What if - ?A" She lives with her husband and two teenage children in Madison, Wisconsin.