This Pride & Prejudice variation started with a lot of excitement, but ended up being just really bland.
Thompson ruthlessly kills off Elizabeth’s entire family (except for Jane, who visiting the Gardiners) in a terrible carriage accident in the first chapter. Immediately, the heir to Longbourn shows up, except in this variation it isn’t the Mr. Collins we know, but that Mr. Collins’s father, who is a pretty terrible person. The reader is not surprised to learn that he probably had a hand in creating the carriage accident. He’s super creepy and everyone hates him, including his own son who doesn’t really like any of his dad’s plans but since his dad has always beaten him up when he disagrees, he pretty just goes along with everything.
Anyway, Mr. C Sr. wants Mr. C Jr. to marry Elizabeth. Since she isn’t really into that idea, Sr. decides that Jr. will have to compromise her. Elizabeth overhears them talking and discovers that she is supposed to receive an inheritance from her great aunt when she reaches her majority the following spring, which is what this is all about. She also hears about the whole planned compromise thing, and then listens as Sr. laughs evilly whilst plotting her ultimate demise after he gets his hands on the inheritance. Fearing for her life, she flees Longbourn in disguise, aided by the servants who all love her. She coincidentally meets up with the Darcys at an inn, and what with one thing and another is hired as Georgiana’s companion.
While I didn’t dislike this variation, there was just no character development. Elizabeth is absolutely perfect – kind, loving, thoughtful, generous, etc. Darcy is also perfect – kind, loving, thoughtful, generous, etc. Georgiana is quietly perfect – kind, loving, thoughtful, generous, etc. Guess who else is perfect? Jane, Mr. Bingley, the Gardiners, all of the servants at Longbourn, Darcy’s entire family except for Lady Catherine, a random dressmaker in Lambton, and even Elizabeth’s horse. Since all the good guys were already perfect, there wasn’t really any room for them to learn or grow. The bad guys were all super bad (in this version, Collins Sr., Wickham, Miss Bingley, and Lady Catherine), so they didn’t really learn or grow either – they just got punished.
Thompson did a decent job making things seem plausible, even hiring Elizabeth at a random inn. She stretches credulity but I still could get behind it. I mean, who wouldn’t hire an angel if they stumbled across them? And that’s basically Elizabeth’s character in this book.
The last 20% of the book was completely superfluous. All of the main storylines are resolved, and Darcy and Elizabeth get married. Except then all of the sudden we have this weird last bit where Lady Catherine shows up and causes trouble, but it felt really awkward, like this part was literally there just to make the story longer. There were also some minor editing issues; the main one that aggravated me was that the author couldn’t seem to decide whether Bingley’s aunt in Yorkshire was named Agnes or Agatha.
All in all, a 3/5 for a story that wasn’t terrible, just very, very bland.