There are a lot of different tropes in the Pride and Prejudice variations: Forced Marriage, Marriage of Convenience, Kidnappings, Injury, and many more. So in continuing my lists of P&P variations, I thought I’d review some of the variations by trope.
First up is the Befriending Georgiana trope, wherein Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy’s sister become friends that throws Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy into each other’s path. Sometimes, Elizabeth and Georgiana meet first, or Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy have already met independently of Elizabeth and Georgiana meeting. Other times, Elizabeth and Georgiana meet because of Mr. Darcy and then become friends against Mr. Darcy’s “better” judgment. However it happens, being friends with Georgiana gives Elizabeth more opportunities to get to know Mr. Darcy, and vice versa, leading to the inevitable happily ever after.
Through Pemberley Woods: A Pride and Prejudice Variation by Emily Russell
Summary: Elizabeth is spending the Ramsgate summer in Lambton with Mrs. Gardiner’s relations. She happens upon Mr. Darcy in the Pemberley woods and is ordered off the lands. Elizabeth is offended. Unbeknownst to Elizabeth, thieves are said to be hiding in the woods, so Darcy is trying to protect everyone by keeping them out of the woods. Independently, Elizabeth befriends Georgiana which keeps Georgiana from going to Ramsgate.
Review: Low Angst. This was an enjoyable version. The many adventures are fun and unique in the readings l have done so far. I like that there are not pages and pages describing Darcy’s torment at wanting Elizabeth, but not being able to have her. I also like that at the end I didn’t start to feel that their attraction was almost more lust than love. My biggest complaint is the bad editing—it’s distracting to have wrong words and missing words. Overall I would recommend this to anyone who loves P&P variations.
Darcy’s Angel by Jennifer Kay
Summary: When disease strikes Longbourn, sixteen-year-old Elizabeth Bennet and thirteen-year-old Kitty are sent to London to live with an old friend of their father’s. While Kitty relishes in the change, Lizzy feels lost in her new world, constrained by society’s expectations, and dreadfully homesick. That changes when she meets Georgiana Darcy.
Review: An interesting premise for getting Elizabeth and Darcy to meet five years earlier, in London. While clever how much of the same people and/or situations arise (Elizabeth overhears an insulting comment from Darcy, Mrs. Younge is hired, Wickham tries to elope with someone for money, etc), I kind of wished things had been more different. Not that there aren’t differences—there are. It was the fact that I really liked the differences—Lady Lichfield, Darcy almost proposing to someone else(!), baby Bennet—that I wish there had been more.
Lovely Darcy; unhappy Elizabeth; baffling Mr. Bennet.
Some editing issues—especially wrong words, either misspelled or misused.
Overall, this is a really enjoyable story. I definitely recommend it.
Betrothals and Betrayals by Cinnamon Worth
Summary: After Mr. Bennet’s death (pre-Ramsgate), Elizabeth takes a job as a companion and is living in Ramsgate. When Georgiana arrives with Mrs. Younge, Elizabeth happens to meet and befriend her, ultimately helping to prevent Wickham’s elopement scheme. After this, Jane is hired as Georgiana’s companion.
Review: I like how slowly Darcy and Elizabeth get to know each other in this story. I like that the things that initially set them against each other are different from the original. I even like that though Wickham is still a bad guy—he’s not without the ability to find a usefulness.
The Houseguest by Elizabeth Adams
Summary: When Georgiana Darcy comes to Netherfield to visit her brother, she becomes friends with a neighbor, Elizabeth Bennet. After Miss Darcy has returned to London, she invites her new friend to stay with her at the Darcy home in town … unbeknownst to Mr. Darcy.
Review: I enjoyed this book a lot—I loved Elizabeth and Georgiana’s relationship. And I thought Sir Malcolm and Lady Matlock were great characters. I am not sure I agree with the epilogue choice for Georgiana’s spouse. And some parts, especially at the end were a little too sappy for me. But mostly I really liked it—some parts were so funny I laughed out loud—always a good sign.
Found in the Snow by Jaeza Rayleigh
Summary: To escape a nefarious cousin, Georgiana runs away into the snowy Pemberley woods where she is discovered near death by Elizabeth who takes her home with her to the estate of her Great Aunt by marriage. Unable to say much, Elizabeth and her GA won’t release Georgiana to Darcy until they know more. Darcy is furious, and says Hunsford proposal-like insults. GA tells him he’s a lot like the nefarious cousin.
Review: I’m not really sure how to rate this story—I like the story of how Elizabeth finds Georgiana, the rocky start Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy get off to and how they slowly (and with little angst) get to know and love each other. I also like the resolutions for Lydia and Anne—however, since they were not at all connected to the first part of the story, they have a slightly tacked on feel, as if the author just wanted to make sure there was a happy ending for everyone. Having said that, I did appreciate those storylines, even getting a little emotional reading Anne’s story (interesting interpretation of Lady Catherine as suffering something like Munchausen Syndrome).
The writing is a bit stiff, and a little heavy on exposition and saying more than needs to be said. Yet it was an enjoyable story.
Darcy’s Melody by Jennifer Redlarczyk
Summary: While staying with the Gardiners in London, Elizabeth gets involved in the charity work her Aunt Gardiner does with an organization headed by Mr. Darcy’s aunt, Lady Matlock. Through this work, Elizabeth meets and befriends Georgiana.
Review: This story is quite different from the original in that many of the characters and issues in the original are not here at all. Elizabeth is shown to be quite competent at things we don’t get to see in the original. The plot is pretty good, but the dialogue is not great—it tends to the syrupy side. The ending seemed to drag. There were also some editing issues. I have to admit, I was a bit disappointed by this one.