Pride and Prejudice Variations

Sometimes my brain wants nothing but fluff, and during these times of brain vacation I frequently turn to terrible Pride & Prejudice variations.  Actually, it’s such an addiction that I have a separate book blog just for ranting about them.  :-D  I went through a whole batch of them at the end of May/beginning of June.  If you want the full reviews (which include a spoiler section with extra ?!?!?!), feel free to click through on the title to the P&P blog.  Below, I’ve just listed titles, authors, star-rating, and what makes this variation different from the original…

Unequal Affections by Lara Ormiston – 4.5*

Instead of giving Darcy what-for during the Hunsford proposal, Elizabeth keeps her temper in check and, eventually, decides to accept Darcy.  Lots of good conversations and interesting interactions.

An Unpleasant Walk by C. Rafe – 3.5*

If you consider a stroll where you are assaulted and almost raped to be merely “unpleasant”, your life may have some serious issues.  Anyway, instead of proposing at Hunsford, Darcy ends up extricating Elizabeth from a difficult situation.  Turns out he isn’t as bad of a guy as she thought, especially compared to a potential rapist.

Rain & Retribution by L.L. Diamond – 3.5*

Mr. Bennet decides Elizabeth actually should marry Mr. Collins when he proposes.  Elizabeth skips town and ends up trapped at an inn with Mr. Darcy, who turns out to not be as terrible as she originally thought.

Bluebells in the Mourning by KaraLynne Mackaroy – 4*

If Lydia is the main reason you don’t like P&P, this is the variation for you, as she gets killed off in the first chapter.  Elizabeth receives this news while at Hunsford, so instead of proposing, Darcy helps Elizabeth to get back to her family, where everyone rallies ’round and they all become better people as they work through their tragedy.

Remembrance of the Past by Lory Lilian – 2.5*

Have you ever wished that you could read Pride and Prejudice, except there would be this other random character who was super, super obnoxious and interfered in everyone’s lives but was viewed as a paragon by all who met her?  Then this is the variation for you!

Mr. Darcy & Mr. Collins’s Widow by Timothy Underwood – 3*

When Elizabeth is but 15, her father dies and she marries Mr. Collins.  When he dies less than a year later, everyone feels only relief.  Several years later, Darcy and Bingley arrive at Netherfield, and Elizabeth strikes up a friendship with the intelligent and handsome Mr. Darcy.  Both of them struggle against falling in love for different reasons, but who can resist fate?!

Alone With Mr. Darcy by Abigail Reynolds – 3*

Darcy and Elizabeth get trapped in a cottage together during a blizzard, which gives them a chance to talk things out.  But thanks to Mr. Bennet being an annoying brat in this version, they’re still kept apart through a bunch of miscommunications that I thought were never going to get ironed out.  Bonus: Darcy has a stepmother, and that whole side-plot makes zero sense!

Mr. Darcy’s Letter by Abigail Reynolds – 3.5*

Elizabeth refuses to read Darcy’s letter of explanation at Hunsford, and returns to Meryton still believing that Darcy is a jerk and Wickham is a darling.  Good concept, but Bingley was even more obnoxiously indecisive in this version than ever.

An Unwavering Trust by L.L. Diamond – 3.5*

If you’re going to ruthlessly slaughter most of the characters from the original, is it really a P&P variation??

Unequal Affections


by Lara Ormiston

Published 2014

As I’ve confessed in the past, I really enjoy Pride and Prejudice retellings, most of which I don’t review because I’m embarrassed to admit that I’ve read them, as the vast majority are really just dreadful.  Even so, I find myself endlessly fascinated by the many, many divergent paths those retellings can take, perhaps because it reminds me how one very small decision and impact a whole string of events.

The best part about Unequal Affections, which is actually a lovely book, and one that I’m going to end up recommending instead of hiding, is the introduction, wherein someone (I’ve had to return this book to the library as someone else had it on reserve; I finished this book in early March, so I’m sorry if I sometimes get a bit vague on the details!), not the author, basically explains how the majority of P&P stories are ridiculous because they have the characters scampering about stealing kisses (and more), and that’s all just truly not what would have happened.  In short, though she didn’t say it in so many words, the introductioner says Don’t expect shagging.  How singularly refreshing!

Unequal Affections starts (more or less) with Darcy’s proposal at Hunsford.  But in this version, instead of losing her temper and telling Darcy just what she thinks of him, Elizabeth listens to his proposal and asks for time to think about it before giving her decision.  This alone is enough to get Darcy thinking, as well.  Elizabeth eventually accepts him, and Darcy returns to Netherfield to be with her as they plan their wedding – and get to know each other better.

I think that the reason I enjoyed this version so much is that one thing that’s always made me a bit sad about the original is that this huge gulf of misunderstanding had to be overcome by Darcy and Elizabeth separately, as Elizabeth reads and digests Darcy’s letter, and Darcy relives and digests Elizabeth’s accusations at Hunsford.  In this story, Elizabeth freely confesses to Darcy before accepting his proposal that she does not love him, and through the course of their engagement, they end up working through what were the contents of the letter/proposal refusal in the original, together as they arise.

Darcy is very well-written, as a gentleman in love, but still a gentleman, and, honestly, still just a man who is often completely confused by Elizabeth because she is, after all, a woman.  Most of the original characters stay true to form, and the story flows just as naturally as the original.

Unequal Affections is a rare gem in a plethora of Pride and Prejudice retellings, one that is actually a worthwhile read, that involves story and dialogue rather than heated looks and stolen touches.  A lovely love story, but more importantly, a good story, I definitely recommend it.