Where do I start? There were many things about this book that I did not like. I read most of the sample and the three other reviews (none of which mention what I'm about to mention unless I was just too tired to notice) and was convinced this was another clean continuation. Alas, if I'd actually *finished* the sample, I would've realized I was mistaken.
In Hunsford, Elizabeth had only just refused Darcy's proposal when she receives notice that her beloved father is dead. She sets out immediately to London to collect Jane and head on to Longbourn to be with their family. Upon hearing the news, Darcy follows her and, with Colonel Fitzwilliam's assistance, escorts her to London in his own carriage. Once there, he has a most interesting proposal. If she agrees to marry him, he will look after her mother and sisters. He will purchase a house in the area of Meryton and settle a sum upon her sisters as their dowries. A serious choice is before her. By marrying Mr. Darcy, she can, in essence, do what she would not do when Collins proposed--see to her family's support and safety. Of course, who in their right mind wouldn't choose Fitzwilliam Darcy over Mr. Collins? She unhappily accepts the proposal. This is a thoroughly interesting premise, so much so that I rushed into purchasing this book without really finishing my homework---a mistake I will *not* make again. If you are one who enjoys these romps in the hay with the Darcys, you may really enjoy this book, as there were many things to like (as well as *many* romps in the hay).
However, if you, like me, cannot stomach reading about most beloved characters' every sexual encounter, then you will not be satisfied with this book. I do not agree that Mr. Darcy kept lovers prior to meeting Elizabeth, despite the fact that I know this to be a common practice of the day. Jane Austen's Darcy, I believe, was above such a thing. Even in the book, he grew to heartily rue this behavior--even so far as to mentioning to the Colonel that if he ever had sons, he would discourage them from the practice. So I can take some pleasure in that. But still. There's no need to go there to begin with. I also detest reading about the sexual encounters of my favorite characters. I read the book and have seen the movies. I know that there was a love and passion between them. Moreover, I am married with four children of my own. So I can put two and two together as to what that passion translates into behind closed doors. I just don't want to read about it!!!!! I cannot put a stronger point on it than that. Yes, upon realizing what was to come, I should've just deleted it off my device. But I had this perverse need to know how it ended. Suffice it to say, there were many parts I skipped over.
Beyond that, however, there were other changes to my beloved characters that I just couldn't stomach. Jane Austen's Elizabeth and Jane are both respectability personified, who would never even so much as allow physical liberties to be taken with them prior to marriage--with, perhaps, with exception to a chaste kiss. Although, I do not recall ever reading about a kiss between Bingley & Jane and Darcy & Lizzy in the book after their engagements. Therefore, I do not believe Elizabeth would allow Mr. Darcy the extremely physical intimacies she permits him prior to their marriage in Ms. Wegner's book. Nor do I believe Jane would secretly conduct a correspondence with Colonel Fitzwilliam (what???!!!!!), agree to marry Mr. Bingley, and then, only weeks before the wedding, elope with the Colonel! She also allowed him to kiss her after only their third meeting. That is not the Jane Bennet that we know and love. Finally, as silly and irresponsible as she is, I do not believe Mrs. Bennet would encourage Lizzy to sleep with Mr. Darcy before their wedding, just to further ensnare him, nor encourage Lydia to entice an officer on her visit to Brighton and allow him to carry her off to Gretna Green.
These are not the characters I've come to love and admire over the years. But if this version of Darcy and Elizabeth is how the author views them, I will not be reading anything of hers again.