by Caitlin Williams
Genres: Classical Rewrite, Historical Fiction, Romance
Release Date: June 7, 2015
Purchase from: Amazon
My Rating: ★★★★★
So much in life depends on chance and sheer luck. How much do we often owe to being in the right place at the right time?
In Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, Elizabeth Bennet plans to visit the Lake District with her uncle and aunt, yet ends up at Pemberley instead, just as, by coincidence, Mr Darcy also arrives home. They meet, understand one another better and all eventually ends well.
But what if they did not have such luck? What if Elizabeth actually went to the Lake District and was nowhere near Pemberley, and she and Mr Darcy never met again until another four years had gone by?
Now they are very different people, altered by marriage, time and situation, although, Mr Darcy’s failed proposal in the Parsonage at Hunsford still haunts both of them in different ways.
Elizabeth is a companion to her Aunt, Mrs Mountford, a widow of great standing in society who married exceptionally well and ‘Miss Bennet’ finds herself accepted in the very best of circles and able to marry whomever she might chose.
Mr Darcy did his duty by his sickly cousin, Anne de Bourgh, and married her to protect her from the tyrannical force of her mother Lady Catherine. He has come to Bath, however, a widower, with his family, the Fitzwilliams, and his sister, Georgiana. Darcy sees Elizabeth, the woman who rejected him, in the opposite box at the theatre and cannot help falling in love with her all over again. Now though, it seems there are even more hurdles to overcome for them to be together, including Elizabeth’s new suitor, the handsome and charming Mr Yorke.
Mr Darcy is still a little proud, still not able to ‘perform to strangers’. Can Elizabeth see past his reserve and awkwardness to the decent man underneath?
This book is a re-telling of Pride and Prejudice from Chapter 36 onwards (Darcy’s failed proposal and the delivering of his letter). It is a light-hearted mix-up of Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion, with a nod and a wink towards Northanger Abbey.
Ardently is a great re-imagining of Pride and Prejudice. I love how it offers up all our favorite characters in a completely new environment.
Mrs. Mountford is a great new character. I love her attitude, a lovely combination of sweetness and spirit. Elizabeth’s more mature characterization is delightful as well.
Darcy is still rather socially awkward, although making an effort to change. Caroline is still sly, cruel, and petty, though perhaps more out-of-touch with reality than she was in Pride and Prejudice.
I find Caroline’s decision towards the end of the story to be a bit out of character. To avoid spoilers, I won’t say too much, but it seemed like a decision made solely to spite Elizabeth, rather than to benefit herself. The Caroline portrayed in Ardently seems far more selfishly motivated — as opposed to revenge or spite motivated — to make a decision that doesn’t really benefit herself.
I also noticed a handful of errors throughout the book, but not enough to remove a star. Overall, it was a great read, one I barely set down until I finished.
About the Author
Caitlin Williams lives in Kent, England, with her family.
She fell in love with all things Regency as a teenager, but particularly admires the work of Jane Austen and the way she masterfully combines humour and romance, while weaving them through such wonderful stories and characters.
Her debut novel, Ardently, was written as a hobby, usually with her laptop balanced on the kitchen worktop, typing with one hand, a glass of wine in the other, while she also attempted to cook dinner and keep her children from killing each other.
She has since written the award-wining The Coming of Age of Elizabeth Bennet and When We Are Married. Her latest novel is The Events at Branxbourne. They are all Austenesque novels set in the Pride and Prejudice universe.
Disclaimer: This review is based on an eBook I borrowed from Amazon on February 4, 2019 as part of the Kindle Unlimited program.