After thoroughly enjoying both Falling for Mr Darcy and Bluebells in the Mourning I could not wait for this third variation, and my high expectations were not disappointed, in fact, they were exceeded! I would give this more than 5 stars if I could! I interviewed KaraLynne a few months back, so if you would like to get to know the author a little more take a look here!
I believe I can say that this has just become my favourite of all the variations I have read! It was absolutely brilliant. The paranormal aspect to this story was very different and unique. When I first read about the plot, I was a little dubious as I never thought that me and paranormal would mix. However, firstly, this was not Darcy turning into a vampire or Elinor and Marianne coming across sea monsters; this was not too wild or too crazy, and secondly, I love this authors work and so I had faith that she would be able to make it work. And I was right, I had no need to worry as I loved it - I seem to really enjoy the more far-fetched or obscure variations!
A spirited courtship indeed! Jane Austen’s much adored Pride and Prejudice is transfigured in this regency adaptation. That fickle friend Fate intervenes when an unexpected event threatens the happily ever after of literature’s favorite love story. The gentlemen from Netherfield have left, winter is upon the land and after a horrifying carriage accident, Elizabeth Bennet finds her spirit transported as if by magic into Mr. Darcy’s London home. Paranormally tethered to the disagreeable man, it doesn’t help that he believes she is a phantasm of his love struck mind, not the real Elizabeth. Somehow they must learn to trust, learn to love and learn to bring Elizabeth back to her earthly form before it is too late."
Before I comment on anything else, first let me say how well written this story is (and her others ones for that matter!) and how much I enjoy the authors style of writing. She has a wonderful talent for description - she can even manage to make the action of removing a cravat and throwing it across the room seem so beautiful and also so meaningful! The language used was brilliant and the writing always flowed really well. One of my favourites was the description of Darcy's library where Lizzy finds herself - from the way it is so beautifully described, I defy anyone who doesn't wish to go there!
What I also love about the authors style is the clever use of quotes or short passages we know from the original used in a completely different context or spoken by a completely different character! There are many that will make you laugh and many that will make you sigh, in a good way. For example... There is a bit of a role reversal during the conversation we know during the dance at Netherfield, a play around with the oh-so-famous opening line as well as many other famous quotes, and some clever use of the first proposal but in a rather different context!
As well as quotes, some events from the storyline have very different twists or outcomes. ( *cough* the time spent at Rosings for Easter *cough* )
Ok, returning back to the paranormal aspect to this story. Although this is, I suppose, a ghost story, it doesn't feel like it at all and even if you think "ghost stories are not for me" I would give it a go.
Lizzy's ended up in Darcy library in his London town house of all places, and is even tethered to the man himself, being unable to move more than 10 paces from Darcy. (Just think about that for a minute. Sleeping arrangements were certainly... interesting!)
Lizzy thinks she is dreaming, and Darcy thinks he is slowly going mad, and so hilarity and brilliance ensue!
If Lizzy is just a hallucination of Darcy's mind, then why should he hide his thoughts from his own imagination? Cue flirtatious, bold comments and a relaxed, charming and teasing side to Darcy we haven't seen before.
If this experience in Darcy's townhouse is all a very peculiar dream, then why shouldn't Lizzy enjoy the new ghost-like state she has found herself in, as well as make the most of this new, more charming Mr. Darcy she has discovered? Cue a teasing and sarcastic commentary to accompany Darcy's everyday life, making things difficult for Darcy to not let on to the fact that there is another participant to every conversation he has!
Such peculiar circumstances, as well as the fact the neither believes the other is real, mean that proper rules, correct manners and strict propriety all go out the window. The freedom this allows creates humorous, and sometimes embarrassing (again I say sleeping arrangements), situations and conversations, but it also creates some of the most romantic scenes I have ever read (again I say sleeping arrangements) whilst staying completely clean.
Darcy has an interesting journey through this story, thinking he is going mad, but eventually deciding that "if he was to lose his mind, it would be a comfort to know it was in pursuit of Miss Elizabeth." We really get to see the real Darcy, the Darcy when he isn't having to be the master of Pemberley at balls and soirées. The Darcy when he is alone, has finished all his duties for the day; his relaxed and open personality really shows through and he is most charming (and a little flirtatious, with Lizzy at least!)
Elizabeth also has an interesting journey - she is a ghost or spirit for most of it! I loved how the author described her new state and what it meant she could and could not do; she floats not walks, can move through furniture (this causes some hilarious moments!), is invisible to all but Darcy (again, very fun for Lizzy to be able to make Darcy look like a complete idiot taking to... the air (or even seeming to be giving himself a fencing lesson)) and one of my favourites, the ability to touch a book and feel and 'read' the book in a matter of seconds - now that would be really useful; so many books, so little time!
This is a very hard review to write without giving anything away, especially regarding the rather problematic situation of Lizzy being either a ghost, in a dream or in Darcy's imagination. All I will say is that how everything works out and resolves is very clever and the significant theme of fate and why Lizzy and Darcy have been tethered together and the importance of each of them to the other is just wonderful. It's no surprise that Lizzy eventually becomes 'whole' again and you will not be disappointed with how! It really was a brilliant, thoroughly thought through story. Did you ever think Fitzwilliam Darcy of Pemberley would break into a house or hide under a bed? No? Well you need to read this story then!
As I have already commented on a few times, the unusual situation results in some wonderfully romantic scenes. The connection between Darcy and Lizzy as it builds and builds is just so strong, and anyone who likes plenty of Darcy and Lizzy 'screen time' (or rather 'page time') will certainly enjoy the amount of time these two are forced to spend together, given that Lizzy can't ever be 10 paces from Darcy!
Another thing which made the romance and emotion even more for me was the fact that they couldn't touch each other, however much they wished to be able to at certain times. It really added to the emotion.
Aside from Lizzy and Darcy, as will always please me, we have a strong and more mature Georgiana, and a brilliant and funny Colonel Fitzwilliam, both who prove very useful at different times through the story, even if Colonel Fitzwilliam begins "to feel like a director having to deal with the emotional fits of his actors."
Now you may be thinking, with Lizzy stuck at Darcy's house, what about the rest of the Bennets? They do feature and many undergo a bit of a change; accidents and illness in families really puts things in perspective, and this has a profound impact on the Bennet's as a family, and Mrs Bennet and Lydia in particular. We also see more to Jane and to Mr Bennet. I enjoyed the glimpses back to Longbourn and what effect the accident was having on them.
And fear not, Wickham still makes an unwanted (and yet wanted - we just love to hate him) appearance - he even gets his due from a most unexpected quarter!
Of course, after a few more trials and tribulations we reach the much anticipated happy ending and what an ending it is! Due to the nature of the story and the relationship between Darcy and Elizabeth, the emotional tension and build up throughout the story means that the ending is even more wished for and anticipated, making it all the more romantic and perfect when you read it! My romantic sensibilities were going crazy!
I really cannot express just how much I loved this story! The plot itself was extremely clever and unique, it was absolutely hilarious and also supremely romantic. Just read it. End of.
To learn more about KaraLynne's work take a look at her blog. Or keep up to date with her on facebook. To purchase on amazon go here for US and here for UK. Or to buy on B&N, follow this link.
My thanks again goes to KaraLynne Mackrory for this interview and to Jakki for setting up this tour.
I wish KaraLynne all the best with this latest release as well as any stories in the future!
Your affectionate friend,