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"Sketching Mr. Darcy" is different from my other books because it is the first one that takes a big step away from the original – it moves from the day after the Netherfield Ball into a forced marriage scenario.
For some reason, all the time as I wrote this story, I had in mind Elizabeth and Darcy’s dance at Netherfield: a battle of wills, with two powerful characters trying to stay strong in a situation which they could not control entirely, struggling to discover the person next door – literally next door, as they slept in separate rooms smile emoticon – and to deal with their own feelings. In a certain way, the entire story is a dance – whose steps none of the characters knew well enough - lasting two weeks and almost 400 pages!
Hope you will enjoy following it to see how the dance ends – and I am sure Ceri’s review will be an excellent guidance through it!
Thanks everyone and good luck with the giveaway!
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‘Sketching Mr Darcy’ is a ‘Pride & Prejudice’ variation looking based on a forced marriage scenario. Here, Elizabeth manages to injure herself while out walking, setting out after refusing the unpalatable Mr Colllins’ proposal. Darcy is due to leave Netherfield that day, but decides to go for a ride while waiting for Bingley to be ready to leave, as he needs to keep busy to keep thoughts of a certain Miss Bennet at bay. He finds her injured and cold, and does what you’d expect of a gentleman, rescuing her and ensuring that she is safely returned home. Darcy then sets off for London, but Elizabeth’s wellbeing is on his mind. He decides to send his doctor to Longbourn to ensure that she will receive the best care, which is lucky, as Elizabeth ends up being quite ill.
This solicitous behaviour from Mr Darcy isn’t in line with the character Elizabeth thought he had, and she begins to revise her opinion of him. This is not the only area that Elizabeth begins to re-evaluate. A frank discussion with Charlotte, where the precarious financial situation of the Bennet sisters is touched upon, also gives Lizzy food for thought:
“You may laugh at Mr. Collins now, but have you considered what will occur if something happens to Mr. Bennet and none of you has made a favourable marriage? Where will you all go, Lizzy? Who will keep you? Let us hope Mr. Bingley does marry Jane because one of you needs a very wealthy husband to take care of you all. Otherwise, you, Jane or any of your sisters will gladly accept any offer, even from someone with more faults than Mr. Collins has. And would you then not regret that you so hastily rejected him?”The episode with Mr Darcy appears to be over and life moves on, except that somebody begins to maliciously gossip about the incident. It’s just as well she is open to changing her view, as Elizabeth soon finds herself in a position where she is faced with the prospect of having to marry him to stem the gossip. There isn’t much choice for her. We know he has his attraction for her as an ulterior motive, but here Elizabeth has additional reasons for marriage too:
‘There was Mr. Darcy, proposing to her, waiting for her answer. Here was the opportunity to marry a man who would be able to support her family in times of need, the opportunity to join one of the most illustrious families in the country, the opportunity to place Jane in Mr. Bingley’s path again in the future and save her sister from the danger of accepting a marriage proposal from a man who would make her unhappy, just to save their family.’
So Elizabeth enters marriage, hopeful that she can come to love her husband, and open to the idea that it will take a while to get to know him properly:
‘She remembered their discussion at the Netherfield ball, and yes, she had not managed to sketch his character, but she would have plenty of time for that – a lifetime’This was the first book that I’d read by this author so I don’t know how it compares with her others , but I’d say that this was a story that was romantic and generally quite low on drama until towards the end, where the drama is ramped up quite a bit. When there was a misunderstanding or argument (and there were examples of both), rather than draw out the misunderstanding for chapters and chapters things were usually resolved pretty quickly, which I liked as I see Lizzy particularly as a person with the courage to raise issues rather than let them fester under the surface. However, I was a bit surprised at how open they were with each other emotionally; by the end of ‘Pride & Prejudice’ I can see them being open because they’ve been through such a journey with each other but at this point in canon both of them are very private and keeping their cards close to their chests so for me, these characters seemed more open that I think was likely in such a short timeframe.
An aspect that some readers might find objectionable is that Darcy in this book has a romantic past. This is not an issue for me, as I think it was quite likely that he would have done, and also that a young woman marrying in those times would have expected her husband to have had previous experience so it wasn’t something that bothered me, and it was dealt with quite matter-of-factly by Elizabeth.
As I said earlier, I hadn’t read a book by this author before, and at some points I wasn’t sure where plot points were headed; there were a few occasions in this book when I felt that the author set up the potential to create a dramatic situation and then resolved it sensibly, which I liked, as sometimes you read books where you question whether a situation will ever be resolved as the characters just won’t talk to each other!
For those who like to know such things, there are a few sex scenes in this book, but they are not graphic.
I’d recommend this book to those who like a romantic, low-angst read, and I’d rate it as a four star read.
Note: I received an ebook of this title from the author for my honest review.
Lory has kindly offered to give away an ebook of ‘Sketching Mr Darcy’ to TWO commenters here. To enter, just leave a comment about the review, the book, or which of Lory’s books is your favourite. This is open to international entrants, comment by the end of the day on 2 October 2015 to enter. Please leave a way for me to contact you in case you are the lucky winner.