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Darcy's Christmas Wish: A Pride and Prejudice Variation Paperback – 8 Nov 2015
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About the Author
Sign up to be notified of new releases and other book news at: penelopeswan.com/newsletter Penelope Swan is the pen name of author, H.Y. Hanna, who also writes best-selling romantic suspense, mysteries and sweet romances under her other name, as well as award-winning children's fiction. She has been an avid Jane Austen fan since her teens and is delighted that she can now live out her Regency fantasies through her books. You can find out more about her and get in touch at: penelopeswan.com
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I found many aspects of this tale delightful: during a Christmas holiday 15 years ago, we have a young lad and a younger girl meeting because of a near death event. But they do not know each other nor can she be located or identified after he is found and taken back to the house and attended to by the people on his aunt's estate. Plus he isn't there when she brings help due to his condition and her physical inability to carry him to warmth and safety. He is told that no girl would dare step onto his aunt’s property as all in the area know of its exclusiveness, how Lady Catherine de Bourgh would react to any intrusion, how her estate is only for those of a certain level in society.
Years pass: Jane is married, Charlotte also, and rather than visit in London with her family Elizabeth accepts Charlotte’s invite to Hunsford near Christmas time. Thus our dear couple meets at Rosings but there are other things going on and it is on these rather than a possible romantic connection that the story focuses. Our dear Elizabeth's concern for others (think of how she nursed dear Jane) comes to the fore when she observes and later makes contact with a servant girl who is cast out, literally, into the cold (due to a “gentleman’s” accusations). Lady Catwitch has ordered that all ostracize this young woman. And, reader, know that great estates have far reaching tentacles as people rely on any income from Lady C’s employment or her purchase of goods, etc.
Elizabeth lets her conscience be her guide but finds obstacles along the way. Read here how she persuades those who care for her, i.e., Charlotte, Darcy, to bend the rules and even when they find they have to step back or even don’t buy into her interpretation of the girl’s circumstances, once again Elizabeth stands true to her nature. A servant girl, a lost pet, a young boy searching for his puppy in a winter storm all benefit from Elizabeth’s solace.
The feelings between our protagonists are not delved into with much detail in this story. Rather we read of long silent walks and love growing but the descriptions are not full of sexual tension and the electricity generated, per se. Rather I got a sense of a retelling about prejudices: against the servant class and against any animal not of pure breeding and, yes, some thoughts along that line by Darcy as he feels love stirring but also as he remembers the girl with the fine, brown eyes of years ago.
This was a short, sweet read. The title comes from a Christmas tradition concerning the stirring of the batter for plum pudding for the holiday meal. I did think that more could have been done with the relationship between Darcy and Elizabeth but, despite that, I can recommend this as an enjoyable read.
Revises Review 12-22-16
The start of our story is 15 years earlier in the life of Darcy and Elizabeth. He is nearly twelve and is visiting Rosings during the Christmas holidays with his parents and baby sister. He disobeys Lady Catherine’s instructions… or orders to stay away from the north side of the estate that is near the frozen pond. Of course that is the best hill and Darcy precedes to take his sled and attempts to navigate the hill only to be thrown onto the pond which cracks and he falls into the icy water. When he cries out for help, a very young Elizabeth [visiting a neighbor with the Gardiners] hears him and manages to pull him from the water. She runs for help but he was gone when she returned. Darcy [now returned to Rosings by servants who had been looking for him] couldn’t get anyone to believe him when he said that a little girl had helped him. His Christmas wish, over the plum pudding, was that he would someday meet the little brown eyed girl.
Fifteen years later, Elizabeth is visiting Charlotte Collins, nee Lucas, and Darcy along with Colonel Fitzwilliam and his son are visiting Lady Catherine. From here on the story falls apart for me. I know we want the hero moments and the author provided them numerous times; however, it is the space between those hero moments that doesn’t work for me.
Problems…Elizabeth was too outspoken even for her…far more than canon. Her sensibilities were way too modern and so was her speech and actions. Not only did she address and challenge men to their face, she also chided or challenged a peer…called him a liar to his face and in public.
I liked the story and the idea of the story. And, there were bits and pieces of it that were cute and enjoyable. However, there was this discordant note that kept sounding out of tune and felt not quite right.
The Darcy and Elizabeth moments were cute however, propriety, comportment, etiquette, and proper conduct was thrown out the window. Some things you just don’t do and they did them with abandon.
Colonel Fitzwilliam was a weak version of his canon self. I felt for him; however, I do not think he would have allowed things to progress the way they did. I believe he could have handled the situation differently. Being accustomed to raw recruits and recalcitrant soldiers, I think he could have creatively maneuvered around his small child. Three stars: I’m sorry.
Note: For a complete copy of my original review, please go to goodreads [dot] com. I didn't change it there.