Published by Meryton Press on June 7th, 2017
Genres: JAFF, Pride and Prejudice, Historical Romance
It is a truth universally acknowledged that a gossip in possession of misheard tales and desirous of both a good wife and an eager audience need only descend upon the sitting rooms of a small country town in order to find satisfaction. And with a push from Lady Catherine,
Mr. Collins sets alight a series of misunderstandings, rumours, and lies that create obstacles to a romance between Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet. This slightly unhinged romantic comedy follows Darcy as he sets off to find himself a wife and instead finds himself pulled into the mire of his aunt’s machinations and his own fascination with Elizabeth, whom he believes betrothed to another.
As Meryton judges him the grieving groom of Anne de Bourgh and a caddish dallier with the hearts of others, Darcy must ferret out the truth behind his cousin’s disappearance, protect his sister from the fretful fate of all Fitzwilliam females, and most importantly, win Elizabeth’s heart.
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.
“Gossip, as usual, was one-third right and two-thirds wrong.”
– L.M. Montgomery,
Mendacity and Mourning is funny, a little raunchy, and a whole lot of absurd (the good kind), but the story is not too unimaginable if you consider nosy neighbors, wagging tongues, and idle minds in Regency England.
Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth’s story was not an easy path to a happily ever after as they faced rumors and misunderstandings that all stemmed from something Mr. Collins said. Theirs was a story that involved mysterious deaths, misconceptions about one’s future marital status, scandalous affairs, crazy aunts, exotic animals, pudgy parsons that reek of mutton, obscene paintings of cousins, mustachioed second sons who try to stand as the voice of reason, and unexpected sisters giving their support. It’s a lot to take in at first sight, but it’s a story I’d happily consume again in the future.
I enjoyed reading about the rumors and gossip and seeing how it affected Elizabeth’s and Mr. Darcy’s reputations. Wickham didn’t have a huge part in besmirching Darcy’s reputation in Meryton, but he was there as the annoying little bug we know he always is. Mr. Collins was more intolerable than usual, and Lady Catherine was bordering on going off her rocker. It was especially entertaining to read Ms. Ashton’s take on the Fitzwilliam family. A crazy bunch, that family.
I had no problems with Mendacity and Mourning‘s narrative, but I could understand why others would shy away from it. There were crass conversations and dialogue that sounded out of place/a little bit modern for its setting. Still, it wouldn’t hurt to give this story a try. We have a sweet but sometimes misguided Mr. Darcy, more sensible Bennet sisters than usual—Lydia and Kitty especially, which was quite a pleasant surprise—and hilarious and slightly crazy relatives, both from Mr. Darcy’s and Elizabeth’s sides.
Did I mention this book’s Mr. Darcy was sweet? Like the sweet kind that makes one giggle and swoon like a schoolgirl? Because he is. And you can bet I giggled and swooned like a schoolgirl… when I wasn’t busy laughing my butt off, of course.
Tropes: Pride and Prejudice
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After a search of the library, the study, and the conservatory, Hadley found him in the stables, preparing for a hard ride. Together, they rode silently out through the wood and up to the property’s highest peak, where they dismounted and strolled over to see the view.
“I know you prefer the rough, untamed looks of the north, but I find at least as much beauty in Warwickshire,” Hadley said quietly.
“It is more civilised here, more cultivated,” Darcy agreed. “That does not lessen the beauty. You have not imposed yourself or any French sensibilities on your land.”
Hadley chuckled. “No. But I believe I have imposed on you.”
Darcy glanced over at his friend. “I beg your pardon?”
“I owe you an apology. Cecilia and I never intended this as a hunting party with you as the prey.”
“I know that, John.”
“You have had enough of that, I think.”
“Yes…” Darcy tamped down a memory of a recent ball and the lady whose laugh and spirit haunted him at the most unexpected times. “I do not wish to be hunted, yet…” he continued, his voice low, “I believe I would like to be found.”
Hadley glanced at his friend staring unseeing out at the valley below.
“Found? Are you lost?”
Darcy shook his head. “Not lost at all. Searching, perhaps, for the happiness you have found and that your parents and mine enjoyed.”
The two men stood in silence. In the comfort of being with a friend who understood his meaning, Darcy’s mind wandered. He deliberated on the lack of easy conversation to be had with young ladies not named Elizabeth Bennet. He wondered whether she would retain that name for a few more days or weeks.
What will be her name after her marriage?
He had never thought to ask her this or many other questions. He had been content and safely happy to enjoy her witty observations and intelligent comments. He had never pressed Bingley to fill in the details about her intended husband and those two boys she would mother or the exact arrangement that Collins man had with another of the Bennet sisters. Another small oversight to be added to his regrets in life. He sighed. He needed to stop thinking about Elizabeth Bennet. Hadley’s voice broke through his dullness.
“This is unseemly, hosting you here with all these young ladies and Georgiana back in London. Rather the reverse of things, don’t you agree?”
Hadley laughed. “See, my friend, you can say those words. We simply need to find you the right lady to say them to.”
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