I had a delightful time reading this book! The story starts with Mr. Bennet finding out his days are numbered, prompting him to seriously consider his children and wife’s prospects upon his demise. Instead of locking himself in his bookroom, he takes charge in making sure his daughters are marriageable, if not through their dowries, at least through their talents. He hires masters for music, French, and he himself teaches the girls literature and history. Kitty and Lydia are no longer out, and Lydia is moved back to the nursery.
Mr. Bennet then decides to bring his family to Margate to enjoy the seaside, but before they all go, Jane is to go to London to visit the Gardiners, and Elizabeth is to go to Kent to visit Charlotte. Of course, Elizabeth meets Mr. Darcy in Kent. And Mr. Darcy. Dear, sweet Mr. Darcy. He is such a sweetheart. He is so obviously enamored with Elizabeth; I almost felt bad reading the part where he was “courting” her because Elizabeth had no idea of his feelings and intentions. Zero. Nada.
By the time the Bennets have arrived in Kent to pick up Elizabeth, Mr. Darcy has made up his mind to ask for Elizabeth’s hand in marriage. Instead of immediately proposing to her, he goes to Mr. Bennet to ask permission. Mr. Bennet, knowing he could not possibly reject a respectable suitor, gives his permission and blessing. The next day, Mr. Darcy proposes, and Elizabeth had no choice but to say yes.
The rest of the story revolves around their engagement, with Mr. Darcy waxing poetic declarations of love in his first letter to Elizabeth, and with Elizabeth coming to terms with her impending marriage to a man she once abhorred. Mr. Darcy finds out she doesn’t feel as strongly as he does, but he tries his best to warm her up to the idea of spending the rest of her life with him. Slowly but surely, the two learn more about each other, and Elizabeth learns to see Mr. Darcy in an unbiased light. I loved that she did not fall in love with him immediately.
What I also liked about this book was that Jane learned to be more discerning. She still tried to see the good in people, but she wasn’t as naive as she was. She questions Mr. Bingley’s character and intentions, and if she’s better off with her steadier suitor.
Without major conflicts like Wickham, Lady Catherine de Bourgh, and Caroline Bingley, this was a fairly light read. Seeing Mr. Darcy have free reign in expressing his love and affection made me grin and feel butterflies in my stomach.