Published by Vanity and Pride Press on November 14th, 2014
Genres: JAFF, Historical Romance
Source: via Author
The historical romance Dearest Friends retells Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice as a sensual adventure that will delight a modern audience. Fitzwilliam Darcy left Hertfordshire following a friend’s betrayal, but his heart remained with Elizabeth Bennet, the impertinent beauty who captured his attention in ways no woman ever had before. When he encounters her unexpectedly in London, he realizes he can no longer live without her and begins his pursuit for her hand. When he finds that Elizabeth is not free to marry, will he again walk away or will he fight for the lady he loves?
While Darcy and Elizabeth pursue their own happiness, around them friendships progress to love and infatuation leads to disappointment. Join a group of unlikely friends as they support our dear couple on their journey, each treading unique paths along the way.
I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Following the Netherfield ball, Elizabeth and Darcy flee to London in different circumstances. Both are betrayed by people they least excepted—Elizabeth with Mr. Bennet and Jane, and Darcy with Charles. After an accidental run-in at a bookstore in the city, the two find comfort in each other’s company and sooner than later, they’re on their way to falling in love.
It took me a while to get into the story, but once the ball started rolling, I couldn’t put it down!
This is definitely a darker and a more different story than the other existing Pride and Prejudice-inspired novels. Obviously, it’s quite different than the original, and some of the characters’ behaviors deviate from the original. One point to mention is Mr. Darcy and his having taken certain liberties with Elizabeth quite early in the book. I didn’t have a problem with it, but others may not feel the same.
Mr. Bennet and Jane, usually portrayed as Elizabeth’s most loyal champions, are the main detriments to her happiness. The former is fueled by addiction and his looming mortality, and the latter by jealousy and desperation. While the former could be easily forgiven and understood and maybe even excused for his madness, I couldn’t say the same about the latter. I guess I’m more of a Mr. Darcy than an Elizabeth.
It was interesting to see Jane as something other than the docile angel she was in P&P, and it was even more interesting to see a stark difference between Elizabeth and Jane. One has got all the goodness, and the other has all the appearance of it.
In Pride and Prejudice, Jane and Bingley’s relationship was a complete contrast to Elizabeth and Darcy’s, and it seems it’s the same case here but because of different reasons. In Dearest Friends, while Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy bring out the best in each other, Jane and Mr. Bingley bring out the worst. While one pair is seen as sincere and kind, the other is revealed to more cruel than imagined. Don’t judge a book by its cover and all that, I suppose.
Mr. Darcy was quite frisky in this story; a Fitzwilliam trait, so it seems. While Elizabeth managed to keep her virtue until their wedding, I can’t say Mr. Darcy didn’t take liberties. Other than that, he’s still the same caring, protective, and decent man we know in P&P.
The Fitzwilliams are a colorful bunch! It was quite entertaining to see them painted in a different light as the usual regal family they’re often portrayed—Lady Catherine, especially. You will not see her as a villain in this story. She is still as imposing as ever, but Pamela Lynne has given Lady Catherine an additional layer of a doting and caring mother who only mostly means well for her daughter. I had a laugh at some of her antics. Surprisingly risqué sketches, arguments about headpieces, and poor attempts at giving someone a new hairdo may or may not be involved.
I really like how Anne de Bourgh and Mary Bennet had their own time to shine here! They’re often cast aside because they’re seen as weak and plain, so it was great to read about them and see them have a more proactive role in the story. I like how they can turn two rowdy men such as the Fitzwilliam brothers into more serious and loving folks.
I love the different relationships and marriages shown in the story—Darcy and Elizabeth, Jane and Mr. Bingley, and two other couples. We’ll see the different inducements and detriments to marry; be it love, lust, friendship, financial gain, and financial loss among others.
The best thing I loved about Dearest Friends was that it kept me on my toes. I expect one thing to happen, but something entirely different happens instead. Pamela Lynne has put a different spin on Pride and Prejudice and made a story of her own, with characters old and new weaved together in a wonderful universe. I’m glad I gave this book a chance! I’ve fallen in love with the Fitzwilliam men (yes that includes Mr. Darcy!), and have learned to appreciate two lovely wallflowers named Anne de Bourgh and Mary Bennet.
I can’t wait to read the sequel (which is out now and is currently on a book blog tour!!!)
OTHER BOOKS IN THE SERIES
September 21: From Pemberley to Milton (Guest Post)
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