on January 31st, 2017
Source: via Author
Mr. Darcy is tempted beyond what he can endure when Elizabeth Bennet leaves her private journal entries in the parlour of Netherfield. Upon reading her writing, he is appalled to find that she overheard his unflattering remarks at the Meryton Assembly and despises him for his thoughtless comments. He wishes with all his heart that he could undo the damage.
During a restless sleep, he dreams of two powerful beings who can give him his heart's desire - Elizabeth's admiration, respect, and love.
Will he take the offer to change the past so that he never makes the offensive statement? Will he make a deal with the Devil, or is the price too dear?
What would you do to get exactly what you want? How much would you be willing to pay?
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.
I enjoy reading stories written in Mr. Darcy’s perspective, and it’s always interesting to see how an author weaves a story of their own from the canon and how they portray Darcy. In Understanding Elizabeth, we have Mr. Darcy at a crossroads—to listen to the angel or to the demon both visiting him in his dreams. While the demon him offers him his greatest desire, the angel warns him of the consequences if he gives in to temptation.
The story starts at Netherfield Park when Jane gets sick and Elizabeth stays to care for her. Darcy gets a hold of Elizabeth’s private journal entries, and he finds out she overheard his disparaging comment about her and that the people of Meryton thinks poorly of him. In vision-like dreams, two figures visit him, one of darkness and one of light. The darkness offers a second chance while the light warns him of the darkness’ cunning and deceitful nature.
Now that Jane’s condition takes a turn for the worse, the two eldest Bennets are forced to stay longer in Netherfield, the Bingley sisters leave the manor to avoid becoming ill, Mr. Bingley summons his physician, Mr. Stedman, and Mr. Bennet stays in Netherfield to chaperone his unmarried daughters. This gives Darcy the opportunity to make it up to Elizabeth, and a chance to get to know Mr. Bennet.
Unlike in Pride and Prejudice, most of the conflict that gets in the way of the couple’ happily ever after is taken away early, leaving Mr. Darcy’s inner struggles as the main conflict. His burgeoning feelings for Elizabeth lead him to make decisions he knows are not exactly proper (reading Elizabeth’s journals without her knowledge), and he almost succumbs to the demon’s offer to erase the moment at the assembly, give him the second chance to start over, and own Elizabeth’s heart for a price.
I really enjoyed the changes the author has made in the story while still following the canon. The timeline of events happen earlier than in canon, but the major plot points still occur, with significant changes added to make the story its own. There were new interesting characters that added color and twists to the story—Mr. Darcy’s valet, Watkins, one of the Netherfield maids, Molly, and Mr. Stedman.
I also loved the changes in Mr. Bingley, Georgiana, and Mr. Bennet. These three are more assertive and have a bit more backbone than in canon. Mr. Bingley and Mr. Bennet especially.
What I loved the most in this book was Mr. Darcy. I mean, I always love that man, but it was a pleasure to read a story in his perspective, and to see firsthand his struggles and feelings for Elizabeth. And we all know he has a lot of feelings for her. Like in the canon, at first he focuses on what he’s giving up for her, what he’s going through because of his feelings for her, and he doesn’t give much thought to what Elizabeth might be giving up, what she might be feeling. When he finally understands, swoon! Just… swoon!
The story is very introspective, and although I enjoyed that, I do agree with Debbie Brown that Darcy’s inner monologues are enlightening but becomes excessive as the story goes on. Other than that, I loved everything else.
Understanding Elizabeth is a delightful and well-written story told in Mr. Darcy’s POV. It had everything I loved in Pride and Prejudice, but with added sprinkles to make the story brighter and original. We have matchmakers, a private chess game, a lot of sweet moments, and a second chance. In Darcy’s plight to understand Elizabeth, the readers get the chance to understand Mr. Darcy better. I don’t know about you, but understanding Mr. Darcy is one of my favorite hobbies.
The lovely Robin M. Helm is offering two giveaways to our readers! One winner from the U.S. may win a copy of Understanding Elizabeth (with a choice of Kindle copy or paperback), and one international winner a Kindle copy. To enter, simply post a comment on this blog post. Giveaway ends on March 9th, 2017, 8PM EST.