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The Courtship of Edward Gardiner: A Pride & Prejudice Prequel Paperback – 20 Oct 2016
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Top customer reviews
As usual I am going to avoid any spoilers for two reasons: 1) I do not want people spoiling books or films to me and 2) it will leave you with the need to read such an awesome book!
You may have gather already that I have immensely enjoyed this book and not only because it is related to Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. I believe Mr. Gardiner and Mrs. Gardiner are two of the forgotten characters when it comes to JAFF but I can understand that other characters give more chance to write about.
Let’s start: Mr. Bennet has to go north to see his brother as he is quite ill and some things need to be done. He takes his two oldest daughters, Jane and Lizzy, two lovely little girls but with already the behaviour and personality that later on is told in Pride and Prejucide. Mr. Bennet’s brother-in-law, Mr. Gardiner travels with them in an attempt to forget his broken heart after being refused when he proposed to the lady that he thought was in love with.
The trip is thwarted because Jane gets ill and after the insistence of Mr. Gardiner, the girls and their uncle are going to remain in the nearest town to take care of the eldest Bennet sister. This town is a small but apparently lovely town of Lambton. However, even being their uncle, Mr. Gardiner, once Mr. Bennet continues the trip, needs a woman to take care of the little girls. Thanks to the owner of the inn where they are staying, they found a Miss Madeline Fairbanks, a young woman whose father is not a gentleman but who has taught his daughter to behave as a lady. She lives in the town and she accepts to help nursing Jane and taking care of Lizzy.
Here is where we have our two main characters for the first time. They will share a lot of nice moments, they will know each other better. He is a man in trade but close to a gentleman due to his education and savoir-faire. She, an only daughter whose brother is in London working, helps her father with the accounts and takes care of him who is suffering as he cannot read properly anymore. I will not tell you much more about them as it is very endearing and I think I cannot make it justice.
By the way, what do you think it may happen when one of the worst storms breaks in Derbyshire? What about having mainly one know-it-all little girl is actually helping two adults inderectly? What happens when a sensible woman meets Mrs. Bennet and Mrs. Phillips?
Apart from the adorable love story, I have really enjoyed reading about Lizzy and Jane when they were little. Moreover, as we are in Lambton, only five miles from Pemberley, Nicole Clarkston also shows us how Master Fitzwilliam, Miss Darcy and George Wickham were when little. It was very interesting to read how Fitzwilliam had to deal with George and how he learnt his principles , the same ones that would cost him quite dear on his first proposal years after to Elizabeth Bennet.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
The story focuses shrewdly—because who didn’t want to know?—on how Elizabeth Bennet’s aunt and uncle Gardiner came to be a couple. After Edward Gardiner’s first romantic suit (great opening scene) doesn’t prosper, Mr. Bennet has dragged his brother-in-law off on an expedition to northern England, intended as a visit to Bennet’s ailing younger brother. Benighted in Lambton by the timely illness of a nine-year-old Jane Bennet, Mr. Gardiner and eight-year-old Elizabeth are thrown into intimacy with a local young woman, the daughter of a bookkeeper. As with most contemporary romance stories, attraction is immediate, and with two such nice (in the modern sense) protagonists, little occurs to disturb the progress of romance.
Sadly, I must continue to rail, as I do ad nauseam, against the prevalence of modern language and modern sensibilities in period romance. In this case I have to deplore the use of unnecessary intensifiers in place of the serviceable “he said,” “she asked,” and the few other invisible signposts that readers can absorb without registering them consciously. “She intoned,” “he quieted her,” “he husked” (is that even a thing?), and their ilk are phrasings that simply distract the reader, and they are markers of the amateur writer. In a book as delightful as this one, it was a pity to find so many. Trust that your dialogue and action speak for themselves! I also had difficulty envisioning Mr. Bennet as a mischievous matchmaker, though in other regards his character was fairly entertaining. And Clarkston occasionally falls into the trap of over-intensifying the traits of original characters—Mrs. Bennet is one who is taken to extremes here.
The fact that most of the action takes place at Lambton should serve to alert the reader that many of the characters in *Pride and Prejudice* make an appearance in these pages. Sometimes the symmetries and coincidences got to be a bit much, but I was along for a pleasurable ride and so I went with it. Some of the crossing of social lines seemed a bit anachronistic, but in general Clarkston’s grasp of village society and working people’s lives seemed believable. And the basis she offers for the friendship of Darcy and Bingley is the most plausible I have seen.
I liked that the focus of the romance was on finding a good life partner, not on heaving bosoms and tightenings of the groin. And the children were all charming, leavening the tale and offering insights into their adult selves without overwhelming the story. This was a delightful read.
[I purchased a copy without being urged to do so.]
After failure to secure the hand of his first lady who he thought he was in love with and when he meets Madeline, he knows he found the perfect woman.
The author had through words described Lizzy to a tee as a child. I enjoyed reading about the adventure of their travels with Lizzy and Jane as children. The novel was interesting as well as entertaining and was an easy read.
Many of the characters were the same and not all included from previous novels and there were a few new characters added that made the plot interesting and added to the story.
At first when I bought the novel, I thought the courtship might have been one of the Gardiner children but low and behold it was the uncle. I gave it a five star review as it was worth everything a six star would be! Looking forward to the next novel from Nicole!