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on 17 May 2013
With the application of an English dictionary, rather than an American one, this book would be perfect.

The characters are all so familiar and well written that it feels as though you're reading the original text. In fact (dare I say it?) this feels more like what should originally have happened. Darcy waits too long in the original before trying to put right the wrongs made against Jane and Mr Bingley, I hadn't thought of it quite like that before now.

Refreshing and absorbing and well above the usual standard of sequels and 'what ifs'. An excellent read.
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on 28 April 2013
Pride and Prejudice 'retelling' stories are a tricky thing and people either love them or hate them. If you enjoy them this is a must read!

We see the misunderstandings between Darcy and Elizabeth continue but we meet a Mr Darcy determined to redeem himself. A really enjoyable read!
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on 29 January 2015
When I started reading this book, I thought it lacked any warmth in the characterisations. However, it seemed to come into its stride and by the middle of the book and I was beginning to like it. The storyline was good and I began to look forward to reading the next chapters each evening. However, sadly, it wandered into the realms of the ridiculous as it approached its conclusion.

The problem for me, completely ignoring non-18th century words and phrases, Americanisms, the repeated use of gotten and fall, was the ridiculousness of either Elizabeth or Darcy agreeing to, firstly snog including tongues, second, groping and touching inappropriately before marriage and finally having full on sex on two occasions prior to their marriage. This sort of behaviour is simply not on in the context of a Jane Austen novel. This behaviour was imprinted in the psyches of, particularly females of the day, that is to say, ladies, but also gentlemen, as immoral and dangerous for a reason. What if, for one reason or another, perhaps an accident to Darcy, the marriage had not taken place and Lizzie was pregnant? That would put her in the same position as, and no better than Lydia. Do you seriously think the Elizabeth we know and love, or indeed Darcy, the ultimate in calm control, would take such a risk, rather than wait three weeks until they are married? I seriously doubt it. Most people at that time had a strong belief in God and that you would be judged in the hereafter for your sins on earth and sex before marriage, for good reason, was considered a sin. Extremely disappointed in this turn in the story, when it could have been so much better. Lydia's inappropriate behaviour could have been woven in, to place the wedding plans of both couples in jeopardy, for instance, or Mary could have been coaxed to London away from her books and discovered another clergyman whom sho would form an attachment towards. Anything but this. Very disappointed.
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on 28 August 2013
I absolutely loved this Pride and Prejudice variation and didn't put it down until I had finished the whole book. There was just something so innocent and endearing about it, and the use of original lines from P & P made this feel Austenesque and authentic.

It starts just after Elizabeth's refusal of Darcy's proposal at Hunsford. The story then follows Darcy in his quest, first to make amends with his friend Bingley through Jane, and then to Elizabeth, to show her that he is a better person.

I particularly enjoyed Lady Catherine being put in her place by Darcy, but Lord knows, she has waited two hundred years for it.

There were some beautiful moments, like the one in the library, which I absolutely loved. It was so sweet and kind and loving.

The only other criticism would be the Americanisms (for me these didn't distract from the flow of the story) and they have been covered by other reviews, so I won't sport with your intelligence in that regard. But I do wish that American authors would acknowledge that in England we say Autumn not fall!! Despite this the author has done a fantastic job and I wish she had done a second novel.

Can't recommend this enough for any Jane Austen fan.
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on 14 October 2011
This book was a very nice read indeed. I enjoyed the language as well as this what if plot. I like the idea of Darcy taking some steps to redeem himself rather than giving up until the chance encounter at Pemberley. Here his first thought is to correct J/B's relationship and this brings him to Elizabeth.
There are some really great scenes in the story, for example his misunderstanding of Elizabeth revealing of his proposal (which is of course Collin's) and the following argument. Then, there is the scene in the library: wow it is so romantic. I found I held my breath when they were looking at the map together...

Well, I recommend this story to any fans of P&P alternatives. You will love this. It is well written, the plot is engaging and, of course, there is happy ending.
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on 23 May 2013
Really enjoyed this book. I must have read the original P & P about 80 times now and I never tire of it. This book was a delightful adjunct to the original and devloped Mr Darcy's character more. Whilst it did depart from the original storyline at times, it was never to the detriment of either and I found it easy to follow and engaging. I laughed out loud at the stories developments several times. I was sad that it finished rather abruptly before the wedding, but then the epilogue did touch on the wedding and the subsequent few weeks. All in all, I would thorougly recommend this light-hearted romp through Darcy's softening and Lizzy's acceptance.
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on 4 July 2011
What a lovely version of this 'what if'. I have read almost every P&P variation and this one is up there as one the best written. The story is not far fetched and it is the interactions between Darcy and Elizabeth that is heart rending but certainly not mushy or squirmlingly romantic. I look forward to reading further novels from Maria Hamilton.
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on 10 May 2016
Absolutely loved this variation, it really concentrates on the growing relationship between our two favourite characters and emphasizes the loneliness of Darcy's position. It generally stays true to the spirit of the original, no other major storylines are introduced (apart from a potential rival for Darcy - loved their discussion on 'military manoeuvres') although many characters take a back seat. There is no Lydia/Wickham storyline to muddy the waters, personally I didn't miss it, it has been rehashed many times and can sometimes take over the the last third of the story with Lizzy and Darcy's eventual coming together almost taking a backseat. Also no trip to Derbyshire with the Gardiners, although there are many other delights to be had; the library scene is extremely touching.
Other reviews have criticized the pre-marital bedroom scene, I thought it was lovely (they're not going at it hammer and tongs as in some variations) not explicit, beautifully written and very romantic: all through the story the unconventional manner of their courtship is emphasized so I felt that this scene was more than acceptable and this is a 'variation' after all.
Amercanisms - OK, I find it is really 'fall' (Autumn! Autumn! Autumn!) and 'gotten' that really grate on one's sensibilities!
My only real criticism - after the scene in the billiards room and a further mention of whether Lizzy could play, I was waiting for them to have a match (the story intimates that Lizzy can play, Mr Bennett no doubt delighted in teaching her) I think this would have been a great scene and was an opportunity lost.
Otherwise - absolutely gorgeous!
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on 2 September 2013
I was really intrigued by this story and it was one of the ones I was most interested in reading as I always wondered how the story could have panned out had Darcy taken more steps towards showing Elizabeth his true nature, instead of acting upon it when the chance encounter at Pemberley brings them together, or at least act upon some of the criticisms Elizabeth lists off to him in the ill-fated proposal, such as the relations between Bingley and Jane, and I was not disappointed by this story!

This story really made me feel for Darcy; the way his feelings and emotions were described really made me pity him. You could really feel how much Lizzy's criticisms of his character and behaviour when he was rejected affected him, hearing her rebukes over and over in his thoughts. Seeing into his innermost thoughts and feelings really opened up his character, more than in all other variations I have read. Given that the story was told predominantly from Darcy's point of view, there was also quite a lot of background given to Darcy and a few tales told about his childhood and his time at Cambridge which gave depth to his character. I also felt I understood him more and the reasons behind his behaviour.

Once Darcy has decided to begin making amends for his actions, a rather unique relationship builds up between him and Jane, as he takes it upon himself to admit to Jane all his involvement with their separation and his wish to bring them back together. It was interesting to see those two talking at such length (giving Mrs Bennet the wrong impression which was rather amusing), as they do not speak much in the original story. You could feel how sorry Darcy felt as he was telling Jane how he accepts the blame for everything that has happened involving Jane and Bingley.

Once Darcy has explained to Jane, he then returns to explain himself to Bingley. For Bingley to completely understand, a full explanation, including his relations with Lizzy, was needed. I really enjoyed hearing his side of the story of the events leading up to the proposal.

Many times through the story, the authoress brought to my attention aspects of the story and to characters which I had never thought about before. I won't give away all of these observations but a few favourites... It was interesting when Elizabeth started to think about Darcy more closely, realising that they do in fact have many things in common, many which I had never thought about before, for example how both Darcy and Lizzy felt familial obligations to marry for convenience and material considerations, perhaps Darcy more strongly than Lizzy (but then again, actually maybe not) but how neither will give into the pressure of these obligations as they would both wish to marry for love. I had never thought about it before in that way...

My favourite new aspect to a character was undoubtedly Bingley. In many variations he is portrayed a rather simple-minded character and in some adaptations I have seen he seems even a little (I am sorry to say) pathetic. I will admit that when I first read Pride and Prejudice I thought Bingley was a little simple and not a strong character, mainly down him being so easily persuaded by Darcy and his sisters in regards to Jane. But this story threw a whole new light on the situation and while Darcy and Bingley were discussing all that had passed involving Jane, I came to realise why Bingley was so easily persuaded and it made him seem a much stronger character. I think my new opinion on Bingley is summed up in this wonderful quote spoken by Darcy to Bingley: "It is a good thing that you are so friendly and good-natured. It fools most people into thinking that you are simpleminded. It allows you to observe the world unencumbered. Very little gets by you, though, and most people never recognise it." I think that is a perfect quote and I really enjoyed this new way of viewing Bingley's character.

Towards the middle of the story there is a perfect scene set in the library at Netherfield, as well as being a very romantic scene between him and Lizzy, it also gives even more insight into Darcy's character; he is working through his correspondents which need seeing to and it makes you think about the weight of responsibilities he has upon him and at such a young age. You are also shown more into the way he handles his tenants and how he really is the best landlord and the best master, as Mrs Reynolds describes him.

As Lizzy and Darcy begin to build up a friendship, you see more and more of how those two do have dispositions which really do suit each other. Some of their conversations are very funny and witty and even teasing at times. Theirs is, understandably, a peculiar friendship but no less amicable all the same.

Mr Bennet is portrayed in almost a bad light, or rather (for a change) his faults, which he does have, are highlighted and are in fact contrasted and compared to Darcy, which was very interesting to read. (An example being how Darcy solves all the problems which he is told about from his tenants as soon and as fairly as possible, whereas, Lizzy observes, Mr Bennet ignores such problems in the hope that they will just solve themselves or go away.)

For once in a `what if' variation the story does not end with Lizzy and Darcy coming to an understanding, getting married and then a short epilogue showing a a glimpse into their future lives, all happening in about 20 pages. In this story they reach and understanding with still 150 or so pages to go. This allows for some very sweet conversations between the couple about their wedding plans as well as some wonderfully romantic scenes where they manage to steal a few secret kisses and intimate conversations. Although they have come to an understanding it was wonderful to see how their relationship still developed further once they were engaged, Lizzy taking on the role of mistress and taking care of Darcy as a wife would do. Their openness with each other is touching but also assures you (if you need assurance!) that their marriage is going to be a very happy and successful one.

(I will say here though that the only thing which bothered me about the whole story was that in the last 150 pages after they are engaged their behaviour becomes a little more intimate and eventually results in premarital relations. This would normally bother me a great deal but it did, in a way, fit with the story line and there was nothing too explicit so it didn't ruin my enjoyment of the story.)

There is an epilogue to this story, which I always enjoy reading, and for once it was based entirely around Lizzy and Darcy instead feeling the need to resolve the stories of all the characters in the book. This epilogue gave a wonderful insight into glimpses of their marriage as well as the preceding weeks after (which I personally prefer rather than skipping to 5 or 10 years later), providing every assurance that they will be completely happy together.

Overall this was a fantastic read, mostly because of the depth of character the story gave to Darcy as well as the new insights which the authoress explored, resulting in new ways for me to consider certain behaviour, actions and aspects of a character. It was wonderfully romantic, very funny at times and an extremely interesting take on my favourite novel.
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on 29 May 2013
I started reading this book with high hopes as I have enjoyed several other Jane Austen spin offs. Initially it seemed to be very promising but as I got further into it there were an increasing number of American expressions used and 21st century ones at that! Did the writer forget what period the book was set in? After Darcy and Elizabeth get engaged they begin to behave in a manner which Darcy found unacceptable in Wickham and I do not believe that Elizabeth Bennet would contemplate. It was almost like reading an erotic novel, so if you like your Austen heroines to be pure do not read this book.
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