Colonel Fitzwilliam is supportive of Darcy’s choice of future wife, but unimpressed by his arrogance and utterly aghast at the thought that he is planning to make Miss Bennet aware of his condescension in overlooking her family being so far beneath him:
“Go and propose to her by listing all her failings and see what good it does you! Do not imagine though that I will spare you the ‘I told you so’!”During the journey, Darcy is unable to find an opportunity to speak privately to Elizabeth, but unfortunately the Colonel does, and, as per his role in 'Pride & Prejudice'. while trying to further his cousin’s suit, instead he manages to drop him right in it instead! The gentlemen deliver Elizabeth to her family and leave. We see a very perceptive side to Lydia here, who, in the space of less than 24 hours manages to make Mr Darcy aware of his blunder in splitting up Bingley and Jane and also channels her mother’s matchmaking intuition and instantly sees something that Lizzy has been blind to:
“Oh Lizzy, just think – and he said you were not handsome enough to tempt him. Oh, what a laugh! Who would have thought it? Mr Darcy!”
“Hush, Lydia!” this time Elizabeth and Jane urged, both at once, and Jane stared at her sister in concern, as Elizabeth’s mouth literally fell open.Unable to propose, and slowly coming to the realisation that that the lady he loves might not feel any affection towards him and that she might also be extremely angry with him, Darcy decides that he needs to set things right for Bingley as soon as possible, and moreover, that he needs to head for Falmouth, to see what he can do to recover the situation. There, after a delay in discovering the exact location of the Bennets, he discovers three problems. Firstly, he has a rival for Elizabeth’s affections, his nemesis Wickham is working as a steward at a neighbouring estate, and something very fishy is going on.
This was quite different from Joana Starnes’ previous books but I was absolutely riveted by it. Darcy’s slow realisation of the hash he’d made of things was almost painful. Since Darcy doesn’t make his proposal rudely, and knowing and pitying him for his unreciprocated feelings rather than being taken by surprise means that the ‘Hunsford’ moment wasn’t full of vitriol and indignation as in canon, but just utterly heartrending. I thought the emotion in this story was fantastic, Darcy’s despair, Elizabeth’s anger and later her sadness for the pain she’s had to cause, and lots of romance. The story was certainly not lacking in action, and we even got a swordfight! There were also some fisticuffs, which were unfortunately off page, as it involved a character I would love to see being a bit more active! On the downside, I felt that some of the romantic feelings did evolve a bit too quickly, which to be fair, is something that is actually addressed in the book. I would have liked part of the story to take place over a few days rather than a single night so that the feelings could develop at a slightly slower rate. I also wasn’t convinced by one of the pairings without seeing much of the couple together.
One of the things that I’ve noted before in Ms Starnes’ books is that she gives Mrs Bennet some sympathetic treatment – often in JAFF Mrs Bennet is portrayed pretty harshly, which I think is a shame, as I think Austen views her affectionately. Here, Mrs Bennet doesn’t play much of a role, but she warms markedly to Darcy when she sniffs a potential suitor in him. This reversal of attitude from ‘Pride & Prejudice’ really tickled me:
“Well! I trust you know that you are always welcome at Landennis, Mr Darcy,” she offered warmly, “and at Longbourn of course, when we return to Hertfordshire, though I have no notion how soon that would be.”
She fanned herself, then pursed her lips and added, pointedly, looking straight over Bingley’s shoulder:
“And I suppose you can bring your friends, if you so wish...”We saw some character development of two characters in need of it too, Mr Bennet, who realises he needs to question his parenting, and I was also pleased to see Lydia being given a chance to redeem herself, as the life she had committed to in 'Pride & Prejudice' was not likely to lead to much happiness or respectability. I would definitely recommend reading this book; there is action, intrigue, despair, joy, and so much romance. I found it thoroughly enjoyable, and I’d rate it as a 5 star read.
*I received an ARC of this book from the author for my honest review.
Joana has very kindly offered to give away an e-book of the winner's choice of one of her books to an international commenter on this post. So you could choose 'From This Day Forward', a 'Pride & Prejudice' sequel, 'The Subsequent Proposal' which sees characters from both 'Persuasion' and 'Pride & Prejudice', 'The Second Chance', which features characters from 'Sense & Sensibility' in addition to those from 'Pride & Prejudice', or this book, 'The Falmouth Connection'. Just comment below to enter the giveaway, which is open until Sunday 7 December 2014. Please leave a way for me to contact you should you win, twitter handle, email address etc. To prevent spam, please leave your email address with an (at) instead of an @. Please note this giveaway is now closed.
Many thanks to Joana Starnes for sponsoring the giveaway and giving me the opportunity to read 'The Falmouth Connection'! You can connect with Joana via her website, become a fan on Goodreads, or follow her on twitter.