Greetings, friends! Spring is busy as always, which means that blogging takes a bit of a backseat to the rest of my life. Yesterday I bought some more plants, not because I have an addiction, but because it’s spring and I have to buy plants. ::shifty eyes:: In case you’re interested (you know you are), I was mainly buying some little bedding annuals to go into containers – verbena, impatiens, salvia, lobelia. I also got some floating plants for the fish pond, a critical part of keeping the pond at least somewhat clean. This is both great and also sad because now it means I need to take a day and empty the whole pond and clean it and then refill it. Funny story, ever since I started getting floating plants every year, I’ve never had to feed our fish. The fish eat the roots of the floating plants, the floating plants eat all the fish waste, and our pond is just a mini circle of life!
ANYWAY did you actually want to hear about some books?? Spring always makes me feel like reading some fluffy stuff, so here are a few P&P variations I read recently. All three of them are available on Kindle Unlimited if you’re interested – I like to get KU for a month or so at a time and soak up the P&P haha
Duty Demands by Elaine Owen – 4*
So I actually really enjoyed this variation (although the cover is rather dreadful). It starts while Elizabeth is visiting Charlotte in Kent. Before Darcy’s proposal, Elizabeth receives word that her father has fallen very ill. He dies before she gets back home. A few days later, Darcy, via Uncle Gardiner, offers his hand in marriage. Elizabeth accepts, knowing that this is probably the only way that her family can stay together. However, she has no idea that love was the motivation behind Darcy’s offer. Her uncle says he assumes that Darcy is pleased to find a quiet country miss who will basically do his bidding and not make too many demands on his time or purse. So their marriage begins with Darcy in love – and assuming that Elizabeth at least likes him, since he didn’t receive a severe set-down in Kent, and Elizabeth still completely prejudiced against Darcy and assuming the worst of his motives at every turn.
What I liked here was that the angst felt realistic instead of overly-dramatic. There weren’t a bunch of horrific villains lurking around every corner. Instead, Darcy and Elizabeth have to find their way through their misunderstandings together. This was also a clean retelling, so while there are mentions of the marital bed, there is nothing detailed, which was nice. All in all a surprisingly pleasant retelling, although a bit towards the soap-opera end of the spectrum.
Miss Darcy’s Companion by Joana Starnes – 4*
I’ve read a couple of Starnes’s other retellings with mixed results (quite enjoyed The Falmouth Connection, but The Second Chance was SO boring). This one was overall enjoyable, although it’s more of an alternate storyline than an actual variation, as nothing really happens the way it does in canon. Instead, Mr. Bennet has already died before the story opens and through a series of events, Elizabeth ends up working for Darcy as Georgianna’s companion. I really enjoyed watching the friendship between all three of them grow, and the love story between Elizabeth and Darcy felt natural. This series of events meant that there wasn’t really a time where Elizabeth didn’t like Darcy, but it did also mean that there was more of a class distinction between them to make things awkward.
Eventually, Darcy goes to London to wrestle with his feelings and decide what he should do about Elizabeth. While he’s gone, an old family friend begins dropping by and being super smarmy – our old buddy Wickham. All of the Wickham drama actually felt completely natural for once, and I was genuinely caught up in the WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN bit. There was a little bit of over-the-top-ness, but overall this was a fun and engaging story with likable characters. It was also another G-rated version, which, I may have mentioned, is always nice.
Mr. Darcy Dances by Sophie Lynbrook – 3.5*
A few of Lynbrook’s other variations have also come my way – Lizzy’s Novel was a great concept that felt like it needed a bit more meat to it, and An Odd Situation was also a likable story, although one that really needed more of Elizabeth’s perspective to round it out. In Mr. Darcy Dances, the story opens with the assembly, except instead of standing around being a snob, Darcy dances every dance! Throughout the evening, we know that Darcy is determined to annoy Miss Bingley as much as he can, but we aren’t sure exactly why…
This story was a fun play on Elizabeth’s dislike of Darcy, as here she thinks him a rather obnoxious fop. While I did quite enjoy a lot of things about this version – it was quite fun to have a version that takes place entirely in Hertfordshire with the entire Bennet crew – I was never able to quite buy Darcy unbending to extent that he did during that first evening. This was another clean version, so it’s good to know that more of those are taking over this genre.