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Sunday, 17 July 2016

Mr Darcy’s Journey by Abigail Reynolds - My Review

Book Cover: Mr Darcy's Journey by Abigail Reynolds
Earlier this week I was joined by author Abigail Reynolds for a guest post, excerpt and giveaway of her latest book, 'Mr Darcy's Journey'. Visit the giveaway post to enter to win an e-book copy of the book. You can gain a bonus entry by commenting on this review post.

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One of my favourite things about reading historical novels is the chance to pick up some knowledge of history in a more interesting manner. This latest story by Abigail Reynolds looks at what may have happened if Mr Darcy and Miss Elizabeth Bennet had somehow got caught up with the Luddite uprisings in the North of England, which happened at the same time that ‘Pride and Prejudice’ was set. In very basic terms, there was rioting and breaking of the looms – the machinery that had begun to replace jobs in the fabric mills. I assumed that this variation would somehow spring from the Gardiners’ trip to the North, but considering that the uprising had begun to take root by the summer of 1812 it might be unlikely that they would make the trip. Instead, this deviates at an earlier point in the story. Firstly, Elizabeth makes a longer stay with Jane at the Gardiners’ and makes the trip alone rather than in the company of Sir William Lucas and his daughter Maria, which leads to some adventure, and then to Rosings.

Mr Darcy doesn’t just come to Rosings with Colonel Fitzwilliam here; instead he is also accompanied by the Colonel’s mother and sister, Lady Frederica. At the request of his Aunt Matlock, Darcy has been making a show of paying attention to Lady Frederica, as she has been practically jilted, and the Ton is being none too kind to her. Lady Frederica is not treated well (or fed well, for that matter!) by Lady Catherine, who sees her as a rival to Anne for Darcy’s hand. So, Lady Frederica spends a good deal of time at the parsonage, where she takes a fancy to Elizabeth.

At Lady Frederica’s urging, Elizabeth accompanies the Fitzwilliam family party, including Darcy, to the North, where two of Darcy’s old friends are in serious trouble. It is considered treasonous to speak up for the rights of ordinary men and this what these ‘radicals’ have been doing. However, the danger of the situation has been underestimated by the party. Elizabeth, Darcy and the Fitzwilliam family, now further expanded to include another Fitzwilliam son, Jasper, find themselves caught up in the violence.

The Fitzwilliam family are certainly a bunch of characters – Colonel Fitzwilliam and his brother are both fond of a fight, and their sister has certainly not been brought up to be meek and mild. Their mama is a very managing female who nearly always manages to get her own way. The whole family is talkative and don’t see a need for privacy in their conversations:
‘It had been a most uncomfortable half an hour, having to pretend the various confessions of treason, slapping, confrontations, challenges, betrothal demand and family crises occurring were typical drawing room conversations.’
This was a very fun adventure and I was never quite sure what was coming next. It was interesting to see some of the scenes that towns such as Sheffield might have experienced when the Luddites revolted, and to imagine the steps that people who believed in the rights of their fellow men might have taken to rectify matters. Though this subject matter could be quite heavy, the story is not, it’s quite humorous. The Fitzwilliam family are such big personalities that they quite take over the story and the Darcy and Elizabeth storyline is a little pushed to the side at times, so it’s not highly romantic like some of this author’s other stories, though there are some lovely romantic touches sprinkled here and there, and the couple both have a way to go in understanding the other and learning to see things from the other’s point of view.

There are no sex scenes in this story, and although some of the characters are the victims of violence, it’s all off-page, so there are no distressing scenes. I’d certainly recommend this book as I very much enjoyed it. This is a 4 star read for me.

4 star read

*My thanks to the author, who provided me with an e-ARC of 'Mr Darcy's Journey' for my honest review.

19 comments:

  1. Great review Ceri, I look forward to reading it. Love when the Fitzwilliam family are more involved.

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    1. Hi Dung. I was struck by how different this Fitzwilliam family are to those in 'Mr Darcy's Obsession', absolutely poles apart but very funny.

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  2. Sounds like another winner from Abigail Reynolds. I really enjoy it when fiction mixes with real life events. It certainly seems like a different kind of variation.

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    1. Hi Anji, yes, it's a real departure from canon. In times of emergency the rules of society have to be bent sometimes too, so that's another thing to add to the mix.

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  3. The Fitzwilliam family sound wonderful,I usually love reading about the Colonel

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    1. Hi Vesper, we get a lot of the Fitzwilliams here, and they are something else! He is only a minor character, but I think Jasper was probably my favourite (the colonel's younger brother).

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  4. Thank you, Ceri, for such a complete review. I am looking forward to reading this book, as I have all of Abigail's stories. This soundsbm intriguing.

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    1. I hope you enjoy it when you read it, Deborah Ann!

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  5. Thank you, Ceri, for such a complete review. I am looking forward to reading this book, as I have all of Abigail's stories. This soundsbm intriguing.

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  6. Wonderful review. I am always happy for an Abigail release.

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  7. Carole in Canada18 July 2016 at 16:15

    Wonderful review Ceri! Looking forward to reading this one!

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    1. Thanks, Carole! I hope you enjoy it when you read it too.

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  8. Great review. I read and enjoyed this book also, as with all her books

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    1. Glad you enjoyed it Sheila, thanks for commenting!

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  9. Enjoyed your review,Ceri.I've read and enjoyed lot of Abagail's books and hope to do the same with this one.

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    1. I've read most of them too, Mary. Only a couple left and then I'm all caught up. I hope you enjoy this one when you read it.

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  10. Nice review, Ceri! I don't know anything about the Luddite uprisings so it will be interesting to learn something through a good novel! :)

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    1. It's a great way to learn a little more about history while making very little effort. I love that about historical novels!

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