on March 6th 2017
Genres: JAFF, Historical Romance
One night, to decide his entire life's happiness.
Chastened by Charles Bingley following Mr. Bennet’s untimely death, Fitzwilliam Darcy determines he will offer marriage to Elizabeth Bennet, but she marries another.
Years later, a widowed Elizabeth is mistress of Longbourn, and has vowed she will never marry again. A house party at Netherfield brings them back together, but Darcy will have to win more than her heart if he is to have any chance at making her mistress of Pemberley.
Readers of Sophie Turner's more chaste Constant Love series should be aware that this novel contains decidedly adult content at certain parts of the story.
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.
The day after the Netherfield ball, tragedy befalls the Bennet household. Mr. Bennet passes away, and so Mr. Collins, who wishes to take a wife, inherits Longbourn. Without even waiting for the Bennet women to go on with their mourning, Mr. Collins proposes to Elizabeth and plans to have their wedding a while later.
Elizabeth is trapped in this hopeless situation with no choice but to comply. She knows she must marry the man, no matter how odious he is. When Mr. Bingley returns alone to pay his respects, Elizabeth hoped and prayed he’d propose to Jane, but when he didn’t, she knew she must sacrifice her happiness to save her family from destitution. So, off to the church they go.
News of Mr. Bennet’s death reaches Mr. Bingley and Mr. Darcy, and while Mr. Darcy tries to dissuade Bingley from going back to Hertfordshire, Bingley stands his ground. When he finds out about Darcy and Bingley’s sisters’ plan to separate him from Jane, he chastises Darcy and ends their friendship. The breach leaves Darcy contemplative, especially since Bingley said some things he’s never thought much about before—his pride and selfishness.
Worse, he loses his chance with the one woman who has intrigued him and captured his heart. He sees the news of Elizabeth and Mr. Collins’ engagement on the paper, and although he sends a counter-proposal for Elizabeth, he receives no reply. A few weeks later, Elizabeth and Mr. Collins are wed. It is then he vows to change into a better man. A man worthy of Elizabeth’s love, even if she is lost to him forever.
Years later when Bingley and Darcy meet again and reconcile, he is invited to stay with the Bingleys at Netherfield. Elizabeth is widowed and coming out of mourning. Darcy sees it as serendipity, and takes his chance to make things right. The two get reacquainted and closer than they ever were before.
Obviously, the story diverted from the canon after the Netherfield ball. Elizabeth’s marriage with Mr. Collins was short-lived, but it had a seemingly irreparable damage on Elizabeth. Mr. Collins didn’t respect her, didn’t listen to her, and didn’t care for her. When he died, Elizabeth is sure she never wants to enter another marriage. The emotional abuse she experienced and the pain she felt in the marriage bed were enough to keep her away from wanting to getting married again.
Elizabeth’s marriage with Mr. Collins has had an effect on all the remaining Bennets, the worst on Elizabeth. Lydia marries Captain Denny and moves out of the house (mainly because that’s just who Lydia is, and there’s the benefit of staying away from Mr. Collins). After living with Mr. Collins and seeing what he’s been doing to their sister, Mary becomes less severe, and Kitty a little disillusioned with marriage and love. Mrs. Bennet and Elizabeth’s relationship is more damaged, and even more so when Mr. Collins passed away.
The main thing getting in the way of our beloved characters’ happily ever after is Elizabeth’s trauma from her marriage and marriage bed. How the two will move past this, it’s hard to know. But Elizabeth finds enlightenment from an unlikely source, and she proposes a plan that might help them know if a chance of a happily ever after exists for them.
My heart broke for Elizabeth. Oh to be married to a man like Mr. Collins! I was so proud of her when she stayed strong and good-natured after what she’s gone through. Mr. Collins repressed her and took away almost everything that made her who she was. Her books, her will, her freedom.
I felt the love, longing, and absolute devotion Mr. Darcy had for Elizabeth. I was swooning throughout this story because this wonderful, wonderful man would give and give up anything for Elizabeth just to make her happy. During their reunion, courtship, even after their marriage, this man thought of Elizabeth’s needs first. Seriously. This man raises the bar for book boyfriend and husbands.
I always thought Mr. Bingley got off the hook easier than I believe he should have in Pride and Prejudice. I wanted Jane to make him beg. After being influenced by his sisters and Mr. Darcy to leave her, I didn’t think he deserved her. I wanted someone who had a backbone for Jane. So to see a Mr. Bingley who is not so easily swayed by Mr. Darcy or his sisters, a Mr. Bingley who is sure of his feelings for Jane, it made me feel incredibly pleased. This is the Mr. Bingley I felt 100% deserved Jane. And when he chastised Mr. Darcy for trying to convince him to leave Jane, I wanted to applaud him. You go, Mr. Bingley!
Mistress is a Pride and Prejudice variation told in the third POV. As the title suggests, this book is not for the younger audience. It has mature themes and scenes not suitable for readers under eighteen. Those scenes, although explicit, were written tastefully and with feeling.
My mind and heart were with this story from start to finish. I smiled, giggled, felt heartbroken, and in love with this book’s Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth. Mistress had its fair share of angst and pain, but it also had hope, heat, a second chance at love and happiness, and love.
(In this excerpt, Darcy has seen the news of Elizabeth’s betrothal in the newspapers and written to her, a letter that is essentially his counter-proposal. Because it was improper to write an unmarried woman directly, he has sent it within a covering letter to Mrs. Bennet.)
Darcy might have spent his days after the sending of his letter to Elizabeth Bennet entirely worried over her reaction, and what he should find in her response, but for the news from his steward three days after he had sent it that one of his tenants had died. Richardson could have handled the matter as regarded the tenancy, but it was the sort of event Darcy felt his presence necessary for, and so he had ordered post horses for a journey north.
He had found there enough to occupy his mind, so that sometimes many hours passed before he could wonder whether Elizabeth Bennet’s response would arrive that day, forwarded on from town. If the death of a tenant could ever be called easy, this was one of the easier ones to deal with – Mr. Stratton had been getting on in his years, and his widow was no more than five years younger than him. Stratton had left behind a comfortable fortune for his wife, and still more could be expected, upon the sale of his cattle. Yet those cattle required a buyer – ideally the new tenant – and Mrs. Stratton a home, for she had no family living that could take her in.
A place in Kympton was soon enough located for her, and Darcy interviewed several candidates to take on the tenancy, eventually finding one with sufficient fortune to purchase all of Mrs. Stratton’s cattle, who had the additional qualities of being a kindly young man, and one a little guilty of supplanting a widow in such a way. Young Mr. Baleman assisted the widow in moving her possessions into her new home, and promised he should call upon her every few days in such an earnest way that Darcy felt certain he had made the right choice for the tenancy.
He would have made his return from Pemberley entirely satisfied, therefore, except that no letter from Elizabeth Bennet had ever been forwarded there. During the ride back to London, with matters of his estate no longer occupying him, Darcy began to fear he would not receive a response. He thought over his letter, and wondered if it was too businesslike, not affectionate enough. He wondered if merely asking for her hand in marriage when she was already betrothed had been abhorrent to her – so abhorrent she did not even think it worth a response. He wondered if instead her lack of a response had been founded on her opinion of him, an opinion based on his behaviour in Hertfordshire, which he now knew to be nowhere near what it ought to have been.
And he wondered if her response had simply been misdirected in the post, or his own letter had gone astray, or he had been wrong about Mrs. Bennet’s willingness to give his offer to her daughter. Misdirection of one letter or another could be rectified, and Darcy held out hope that a letter had been delivered at the London house, but it had arrived near enough to his expected return that Miller had decided it should just be held there. If that had not been the case, he would have his carriage readied again to go to Hertfordshire the next day, and declare himself in person.
He arrived to find no letter, and considered making the journey to Hertfordshire then, but it was far too late in the day to attempt a call at Longbourn, and so he determined it better to go early the next morning. He passed his time with a quiet dinner, and then retired to his study to catch up on the last few days’ papers. It was there that he saw the wedding announcement.
He was shocked, at first – he had not thought things should progress so fast as they must have, with the Bennets in mourning. They should not have progressed so quickly, and his first reaction was anger – anger that his own plans had been so thoroughly destroyed, that Elizabeth had been required to marry so quickly, rather than being allowed to mourn her father.
Yet the anger merely delayed the inevitable, which was the realisation that regardless of the cause, regardless of how very wrong it was, Elizabeth was now married. With this realisation, his thoughts turned to despair, for his despair upon understanding that Elizabeth was now irretrievably lost to him was complete. She was lost to him, and whether it was by choice, or by lack of knowledge that another option existed for her, he alone had been responsible. Oh, Elizabeth! Poor, lovely Elizabeth, to be locked in matrimony with such a man!
Darcy amended his orders, now, that the journey should be a return to Pemberley, that it should be delayed until after Christmas, and that Georgiana and her companion should prepare their things as well. For that was his only desire, now, to take his sister and return home.
It was too late to make any improvements as a lover, but he could improve himself as a brother, and as a man. He could become a man who would have been worthy of Elizabeth. There might not be any promise of happiness in that, but there would be satisfaction, at least, in correcting his ways, in better doing his duty. That was all he had to live for, now.
Sophie created a lovely playlist that accompanies her book. Listen to the music below.
Ms. Sophie Turner is giving away two (2) ebooks of Mistress to readers at Of Pens and Pages!
March 18 / My Jane Austen Book Club/Launch Post & Giveaway
March 19 / Of Pens & Pages/Book Review, Excerpt & Giveaway (that’s me!)
March 20 / Margie’s Must Reads /Book Review & Giveaway
March 21 / More Agreeably Engaged/Author Spotlight & Giveaway
March 22 / A Lady’s Imagination / Guest Post & Giveaway
March 23 / Just Jane 1813/Guest Post & Giveaway
March 24 / Diary of an Eccentric/Book Review & Giveaway
March 25 / My Love for Jane Austen/Excerpt Post & Giveaway
March 26 / My Vices and Weaknesses/Book Review & Giveaway
March 27 / So Little Time…/Excerpt Post & Giveaway
March 28 / Babblings of a Bookworm/ Guest Post & Giveaway
March 29 / From Pemberley to Milton / Vignette Post & Giveaway
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