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  • Hannah Fielding - Romance Novelist

From the blurb:

Elizabeth Bennet never imagined her own parents would force her to marry a virtual stranger.

But when Mrs. Bennet accuses Fitzwilliam Darcy of compromising her daughter, that is exactly the outcome. Trapped in a seemingly loveless marriage and far from home, she grows suspicious of her new husband’s heart and further, suspects he is hiding a great secret. Is there even a chance at love given the happenstance of their hasty marriage?

Disclaimer: I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Suddenly… I have come over all Austen! In truth, my favourite romantic work of English literature has always been Brontë’s Jane Eyre. I have read and enjoyed Pride and Prejudice in the past, but I never quite caught the Darcy fever. Until now…

I thoroughly enjoyed this re-imagining of Pride and Prejudice, in which Darcy and Elizabeth are plunged into marriage after a misinterpretation that leaves Elizabeth’s honour in question. I love that the author takes the ‘happy ever after’ point of the original book and turns it on its head, bringing the two characters together long before love has kindled.

The author’s knowledge of the Austen classic is superb; any Austen fan can read this book and entirely relax that no sacrilege of their beloved book will occur on the pages. I found so much of the reworking very clever against the original; the plot is imaginative and intricately crafted, and the understanding and interpretation of Austen’s characters is sound.

The writing style blends beautifully with the original, so I felt I really was reading classic literature, albeit there is a more modern pace that kept me turning the pages, eager to find out what would happen next. I loved the focus on dialogue, which is lively and brings the characters to life, and it felt true to life for the era to me.

Most of all, I enjoyed the lead characters, Mr and Mrs Darcy. Elizabeth is just as I’d expect her to be, had the twist of marring Darcy early on happened in the original story. She is impossible not to love, even as she makes wrong assumptions and mistakes; her heart is so good and honest. But it is Fitzwilliam Darcy who shines most in the book, which any Darcy fan will adore. He is himself absolutely, and so attractive for that!

I found the book to be a surprisingly emotional read, more so than Pride and Prejudice, due to a very painful time that Elizabeth and Darcy go through (which had echoes of Gone with the Wind, I think). I was very moved by the connection between the characters at that time, and especially by Darcy’s care. The love that grows between them is beautiful and powerful, and it was a delight to be able to experience this along with them in a way that the reader cannot in Pride and Prejudice.

My only complaint is this: when the book ended, I wanted more! Please write another, Ms James, and make it longer still. It is an absolute pleasure to visit a story world of your making.

Suddenly Mrs Darcy is available to pre-order from Amazon; click on the book cover below to visit the store.

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