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Mr. Darcy's Refuge: A Pride & Prejudice Variation
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
This is another of Abigail Reynolds what if scenarios on Pride and Prejudice. The book begins as Darcy is about to go to the parsonage at Hunsford to make his ill-fated proposal, but the difference is that it's been raining very heavily and the river bursts its banks while Darcy is there, before Elizabeth properly has a chance to reply. The village is flooded and Elizabeth and Darcy are stuck for days together in the parsonage with stranded villagers to look out for. Thus they are forced to spend a lot of time together and rather than have the heated argument followed by the letter and months of separation as in Pride and Prejudice, Elizabeth and Darcy begin to get to know each other better. I particularly liked how Darcy's character unfolds in this time. I would like to tell you more but don't want to give away any spoilers.

Some of the other characters are portrayed slightly differently from P&P, I am not massively keen on Colonel Fitzwilliam in this book, he is a tad flaky, and he does something that I wasn't very impressed with, for the same reasons that Lizzy isn't, so I am in good company! Mr Bennet is different, his behaviour seems illogical on quite a few occasions, but reasons are given for this.

I have read a few other Abigail Reynolds books and I felt that this one had less serious themes than some, and was quite low on angst although there are obstacles to overcome, but that makes it no less enjoyable to read, I'd certainly be happy to re-read it. The spelling is American English, but the words are not noticeably Americanised aside from that. Also, for those who are bothered about sex scenes, there is a sex scene. Personally I don't mind them as long as they don't seem to be out of character, and I thought that this one was fine in the context of the story and generally nicely written.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 5 May 2014
This is the first work I've read by Ms Reynolds which I was encouraged to read by all the good reviews.
To my disappointment I found this book just awful. It was let down not by the writing but by portrayals of the like of Mr Bennet and Col Fitzwilliam. And there is the quite unpleasant background story into why Mr Bennet is acting the way he does. The book misleadingly starts off really well but goes wrong rapidly when Darcy and Elizabeth come back from the village around about the first 1/3 of the book. I could only skim through the rest and found it getting worse and worse! I'm all for suspension of belief in Jane Austen fan fiction books (eg Darcy the pirate as in another book!), and don't mind a slightly bonkers story and I also accept that the characters are never quite as intended, but not when it takes on a nasty and cruel angle. Where's the fun? Where's the irony? What started as light-hearted silliness in this story turned into humourless lead.
I see this authoress has done a great deal of other writings however and hopefully this is not reflective of her other work.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 6 September 2012
Although, technically 4.5* because I can't view kindle format on my actual ereader & have to make do with my phone, plus I felt Darcy was a bit too hapless in one or two chapters for my taste and don't forget it was too short, or maybe I was reading it too quickly (I was disrupting the office with my laughing and couldn't wait to get home to enjoy the rest).
I've read all (excepting Mr Darcy's Letter and which I will do so next) of Mrs. Reynolds works' therefore I can't say it's entirely refreshing, nonetheless I adore this one as much as the others.

The characters are all alive and engaging in their different ways and the scenarios believable that I wonder Jane Austen did not write of the actual flood herself, especially as the flood was real.
Colonel Fitzwilliam is adorable and comical here (Darcy's best, of course) and I very much prefer him over Bingley for Jane. I sorta love/hate the twist with Mr Bennet, while thank goodness for Mrs Bennet's lack of on-screen-time, though this line is one of my favourite - 'Mrs. Bennet's icy comments about how pleasant it was that she would finally be able to attend the wedding of one of her daughters.'
Hm, summary... stranded at Hunsford from a flood, Elizabeth and Darcy are compromised in the eye of society, and while Elizabeth needed convincing, the major obstacle turns out to be Mr Bennet (somewhat under the influence of one of Darcy's condescending relative). But don't worry, both Darcy & Elizabeth still have other sensible relatives to help them reach the altar of HEA, with the occasional arguments here there. Yes, Darcy still gets to be the Hero as canon and Wickham even gets the sword *_<
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on 10 November 2013
I absolutely love variations where the dramas and pitfalls imagined by Jane Austen in the original story are avoided - only for our favourite characters to be faced with other ones! This is one such rewarding variation. Heavy rains and a terrible flood prevent Darcy from making his ill-starred Hunsford proposal and, moreover, the couple are trapped at the Parsonage by raising waters, together with a handful of distraught and dispossessed villagers.

During this trying time, Elizabeth gets to see facets of him she had not even anticipated. The strong man, the responsible master, the noble character who would not expect others to endanger their own lives by undertaking tasks he would not tackle himself.

Once a cousin with his own agenda is thrown into the mix, Darcy's palpable anguish is heart-rending but, as always, it makes for an absolutely delightful read, and it's wonderful to see how Elizabeth gets to know him, and how her previous dislike of him slowly melts into very different sentiments!

The path is not smooth, other stories are skilfully woven in, such as the very unexpected - and very damaging - effects of childhood bullying but, to me, the most delightful and the most rewarding is the story of Colonel Fitzwilliam's happy ending. I'm a great fan of the dear Colonel and I always thought he deserves a lot more happiness than most fanfiction stories allow him, and I was very pleased to see that in this story, he gets precisely that!
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on 11 September 2013
Yet another variation, which I enjoyed reading very much.

I liked the new Colonel Fitzwilliam and was pleased with who he ended up with. We don't see much of Bingley in this one, which is a shame as I generally like him but perhaps it is time he manned up a bit. I would love to see a variation where Bingley was decisive and refused to be deterred by his friend and family.

Mr Bennet was slightly harsh, but in line with the story so all good. Thankfully, we didn't see much of Mrs Bennet who grates on my nerves quite a bit, so no loss there.

The Americanisms / spellings were annoying as they always are in these variations (from American author's obviously), the exception being Anna Elliott books, who takes the time to ensure everything is authentic which is a very nice touch.

The sex scene wasn't the worse I have ever read and fit in with the story. On the whole, an enjoyable read so I will be checking out more from this author.
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on 15 February 2014
Abigail Reynolds appears to be one of the better P&P sequel/variation authors. This version is well written and mostly enjoyable, however, for me, it falls into the same trap a number of variations do - the unrequired need, on behalf of the author, to fill up its pages with twists and turns of storyline and the use of sex scenes. The enjoyment and romance from P&P comes through the intelligent use of language and humour not exciting tales and cliff hangers. Also, it has very small faults due to the author being American and unfamiliar with England, for example Crickets chirrping at night in Kent! This might sound nit picky but these mistakes do distract eventually.
That said, these are smallish points. Overall this is a good book and I would recommend it.
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on 30 April 2014
A really well-written, engaging, and well characterised story, I enjoyed this very much. Personally, I would've preferred the conflict and tension between Lizzy and Darcy to last longer as half way through the conflict comes from a source outside their relationship which drives the rest of the story. I also felt that Lizzy's change in opinion was a bit sudden (straight from dislike to love, with barely any confusion, or doubt). However, this novel is so warm, bright, and well-written that these points barely bothered me. A great read, I would definitely recommend.
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on 17 June 2014
I would have given this book 5 stars, but the behaviour of Mr Bennett stopped me. The book is a lovely turn on the original story. Lots of misunderstandings between both Elizabeth and Darcy at the start, but that is what makes the book such a good read. Mr Bennett's behaviour is odd, but there is an explanation for this. Read and enjoy.
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on 9 August 2013
While an enjoyable read I thought the sex scenes where unnecessary detailed, over long and did not fit with the style of Auste'mn's characters in the original book. However as a 'what if' variation of P & P it is quite interesting. The author has changed Elizabeth's father for the worse and Colonel Fitzwilliam for the better.
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on 21 May 2015
While retaining all the characters and their particular characteristics this variation takes a different path. It meanders its way to the inevitable and wantonly desired conclusion - but not without a whirlpool of twists and turns before reaching calmer (calmer?) waters.
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