Sometimes I don’t feel like writing a full review for whatever reason, either because life is busy and I don’t have time, or because a book didn’t stir me enough. Sometimes, it’s because a book was so good that I just don’t have anything to say beyond that I loved it! Frequently, I’m just wayyy behind on reviews and am trying to catch up. For whatever reason, these are books that only have a few paragraphs of thoughts from me.
Heartstone by Phillip Margolin – 4*
I’m still working my way through Margolin’s back catalogue after the Amanda Jaffe series got me hooked on his writing. This one was a little darker than I like, but was still just thoroughly engaging writing. As always, my biggest complain with Margolin’s writing in general is his habit of dumping about 50 names on you in the first 50 pages without really indicating which of those names are going to be important later on. My bookmark for a Margolin book is always an index card with names/notes on it, which is just a little ridiculous. It evens out as I get into the story and the main players emerge, but still. While this isn’t one I would read again, it was definitely worth the one-time read.
On Equal Ground by Elizabeth Adams – 4*
We all know that I go through kicks where all I want to read is P&P variations, and I hit a mini-kick at the end of March. I’ve really enjoyed a couple of Adams’s other variations so I read two more lol This was one of those ones that’s actually just a different story with the same characters. While staying with her aunt and uncle, Elizabeth catches the eye of a wealthy widower some 20 years her senior. Adams has them marry and love each other without it feeling creepy or weird. Of course, the reader knows that the poor man is just a plot device, and probably the biggest drawback of this book was that I actually really liked earl and thought he and Elizabeth were a great match, and I spent the entire first half of the book dreading his untimely death. Still, it was handled really well, and Elizabeth falling in love with Darcy felt natural and was done well. Because Elizabeth has married an earl, she actually outranks Darcy in both class and wealth, so the big twist here is a difference in their prejudices from the original. This wasn’t my new favorite, and it’s definitely a little more thoughtful than a lot of P&P variations tend to be, but I overall really enjoyed this one. NB, this one didn’t have any explicit sex scenes, either, which was super nice.
The 26th of November by Elizabeth Adams – 4.5*
A mashup of P&P and Groundhog Day?? Sign me up! The best part of the Netherfield Ball from Elizabeth’s perspective – when it’s OVER! So it’s rather unfortunately that, for some reason, she has to keep living that same day, including the dreadful ball, over and over again. This is a very lighthearted variation, so don’t expect a lot of life philosophy, but I really enjoyed watching Elizabeth try to figure out why she is having this experience, and wondering if she’s supposed to “fix” something so that she can move on. This was an entertaining way for her to come to grips with some her prejudices and blind spots. Darcy isn’t living the same day over and over, but because his interaction with Elizabeth is different each time, he also has some changes of character as well. The ending is the whole final rendition of November 26 from Darcy’s perspective, so it was a little repetitive, but still interesting to see what, from his view, was just one day. If you’re looking for a low-angst P&P variation with some definite funny moments, this one is totally worth a read.
Pemberley: Mr. Darcy’s Dragon by Maria Grace – DNF
Usually I review DNFs at the end of the month, but I feel like I’m on a P&P roll here. I gave this one up about halfway through the story, despite loving the concept of an England full of dragons, with each estate having a dragon guardian. However, the story itself was sooooo slow. Everyone was spending all their time bickering and arguing (including the dragons) and Mr. Bennet was an absolutely GRUMP. There were random chunks of the original P&P just plunked in here and there, which really disrupted the flow of the story. I was already getting over the way no one in this version was likable, and threw in the towel when Mr. Bennet very condescendingly told Elizabeth that a man would be able to do her job better. It was just so completely out of character for Mr. Bennet to say something so derogatory to Elizabeth, and the way he said it was just beyond insulting and rude. Even my high tolerance for bad P&P variations was over this one.
Darcy Comes to Rosings by Andrea David – 3*
Technically, this was the first book I finished in April, but like I said, I feel like I’m on a P&P roll haha This one was a classic tale of two halves. The first half of the story takes place at Rosings during Elizabeth’s visit to Charlotte. However, Darcy and Elizabeth end up with a few more opportunities to converse, and Charlotte takes a much more proactive role in encouraging romance between the two. This part of the story was really engaging and I felt like it actually totally fit Charlotte’s character as well. But then I hit the second half, after Darcy and Elizabeth get engaged. All of a sudden, it was page after page of Elizabeth panicking and stressing out that she’s not good/rich enough for Darcy, going on and on and on and on and on despite reassurances from everyone. It was sooo repetitive and boring and I honestly didn’t feel like it was resolved all that well. I just found it hard to believe that saucy, self-confident Elizabeth, who was willing to write off Darcy for being a jerk in the original, would spend so much time agonizing about her self-worth. Lame.