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Could have been so much better
on 12 May 2008
'Without Reserve' is a variation on Pride and Prejudice which explores what might have happened if Elizabeth had accepted another man's proposal before seeing Darcy again after he proposed to her. It is another interesting variation on P&P, well written and often a convincing imitation of Austen's style.
Where the plot falls down, and this for me is a failing of all of Reynolds' P&P variations (with the possible exception of 'Impulse and Initiative'), is the continual resort to sexual content. After a while it becomes irritating that such a talented writer feels the need to embellish every story with graphic adult scenes when in my opinion the stories would stand up well without them- indeed, I believe this story would have been improved without such scenes. After all P&P has stood the test of time without anything like that!
That said, I would still recommend this book and all Reynolds' others- I read them one after another and enjoyed all of them. I just wish she would do herself justice and write one where the chemistry between Darcy and Elizabeth is implied rather than made explicit.