After Lydia’s elopement, Mr. Bingley returns to Netherfield, but sadly he is alone. His connections to Mr. Darcy are severed, crushing any hope Elizabeth Bennet had of finding happiness with the man to whom she has lost her heart.
As the years pass, grief turns into acceptance and Elizabeth marries. She is content to settle into her new life, but it is not to last. A fever claims the life of her husband and father, leaving her in the care of her new uncle, Gareth Amberly, who is determined to see her happy.
As this Pride and Prejudice Variation Novella opens, Elizabeth’s uncle introduces her to the man he suspects will make her happy ─ Fitzwilliam Darcy. It takes very little time for Darcy and Elizabeth to come to an understanding and for Elizabeth to discover the true reason for their separation. Is a complete restoration of relationships possible, or will their happily ever after always be tainted by separation?
The story starts five years after Lydia’s elopement, with a widowed Elizabeth coming out of mourning. No, she did not marry Mr. Darcy since he did not join Mr. Bingley when he returned to Netherfield. Instead, she married a Mr. Jack Amberly, a kind man who was similar in temperament with Jane.
Now that Elizabeth was no longer in mourning, her uncle from marriage, Mr. Gareth Amberly, insisted she join a Season to find a husband despite Elizabeth’s wish to never marry again. Unbeknownst to anyone, Elizabeth has been nursing a broken heart for the last five years. When Mr. Darcy never returned, she presumed it was because he did not wish to connect himself to a family connected to Lydia and Wickham. She saw his absence as a rejection, and thus she tried to move on. She admired her husband, but she was never able to give him her heart. It belonged to Mr. Darcy and continued to belong to him. She knew in her heart that she could not marry anyone but Mr. Darcy because she would never be able to give her heart to anyone else
Mr. Gareth is a sly but well-meaning man, and when he brought Elizabeth to one of the balls during the season, he introduced her to a man a few years older than Elizabeth; eligible, to be sure, but unmarried. Lo and behold, the man was none other than Mr. Darcy. It was apparent that five years apart have not lessened the strength of their feelings for each other.
In the span of a dance, the two have rekindled the past and confirmed that their feelings were returned. Mr. Darcy then proposed, and it was decided that the wedding was set a week later.
Some of the original characters appear in this story, but we are introduced to Mr. and Mrs. Amberly, Jack’s uncle and aunt. They are a lot like the Gardiners, but of genteel background and a family with more prominent connections.
This clean novella is a quick and light read with little conflict. We see Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth catch up after spending the last five years apart. The main conflict was surprisingly Mr. Bingley. It was a bit surprising to see him as an antagonist of some sort, and I felt miffed that he did not seem to see the irony in separating two people who loved each other.
Nonetheless, I had a pleasant time reading this novella and would recommend it to anyone in the mood for a quick, light Pride and Prejudice variation.
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