by Jann Rowland
Genres: Classic Romance, Historical Regency Fiction, Regency Historical Romance
Release Date: May 19, 2021
Purchase from: Amazon
My Rating: ★★★★☆
Longbourn estate in Hertfordshire, home of the Bennet family, is entailed. Armed with this unfortunate knowledge, the females of the family have long lived with the threat of eviction from their beloved home should Mr. Bennet pass away before his time.
When the unthinkable happens, the Bennet ladies prepare to leave their home as the heir arrives to take control of his inheritance. Salvation comes, however, by the most surprising of news: Mrs. Bennet is with child.
While waiting for the child to be born, Elizabeth takes control over the estate, determined to save as much as possible in the brief season she has been given. Fortunately, the Netherfield party arrives, and the attentions of the new master of the estate bring them all to hope that Jane, at least, will achieve her heart’s desire.
But little does Elizabeth know she is also the subject of a gentleman’s interest, for Mr. Darcy sees her as an excellent woman who is eager to uphold the trust with which her father favored her. Despite his feelings, Elizabeth is slow to understand the love that might be within her grasp, as she struggles with her duty under the specter of the heir, who believes the Bennets have cheated him of his inheritance and will do whatever he can to ensure he gets what he believes is his.
**Please be aware, this review contains spoilers.**
In Default of Heirs Male (IDoHM) was a very different look at some favorite Pride and Prejudice characters, To begin with, I thought we were going to get pleasant versions of Caroline and Luisa. The famous Meryton assembly introduction gives us, from Darcy’s perspective:
As soon as the party is revealed to be Fitzwilliam, his sister Charity, Anne de Bourgh, and Darcy, I realized we weren’t getting the typical, “Mr. Bennet dies, but Mrs. Bennet is pregnant.” What follows is a delightful romp through a story that bears virtually no resemblance to Pride and Prejudice.
Fitzwilliam is no longer a Colonel and has leased Netherfield thanks to an unspecified inheritance. While an unnecessary detail, I would have enjoyed knowing his worth and where it came from. After all, wealth plays such a huge part in Pride and Prejudice.
Charity and Anne are well-bred and congenial, rather similar to Bingley Pride and Prejudice. Georgiana is shy, but easy to coax out of her shell once she makes friends with the younger Bennets. Kitty and Lydia are much as they are in Pride and Prejudice, but more mature as a result of their tragedies.
Lady Catherine is much more reasonable, and quite kind, befriending Elizabeth, who she takes a particular shine to. She’s like a grandmother to the Bennet girls, which is nice to see.
Bingley and Darcy do not start out as friends, but passing acquaintances from their school days. Bingley is much as Jane Austen’s portrayal, but perhaps more frivolous, maturing as the story progresses. The Hurts married for affection and both have little patience for Caroline, who is basically one-dimensional
Mr. Rowland takes Jane Austen’s Caroline’s interest in climbing the social ladder and makes it her only personality trait. She is cruel and dismissive of those that she feels are beneath her because that is how the girls at her school acted. She wants to marry a wealthy husband because she expects entry into the first circles of society. She seems to almost eat, sleep, and breathe status, and her willful ignorance of anything that isn’t ash she desires gets tiresome.
And then we have Mr. Collins. His storyline drags on far longer than makes sense. Given his actions, it’s unbelievable that he’s only given repeated warnings. No one follows up on their warnings or threats, conveniently forgetting about him over and over.
I enjoyed IDoHM, but I think it could do with some tightening up. Some scenes become repetitive, and could easily be edited out to speed up the story, or replaced to address a couple of information holes.
However, if you’re looking for a “different” Pride and Prejudice, this is a good one.
About the Author
Jann Rowland is a Canadian, born and bred. Other than a two-year span in which he lived in Japan, he has been a resident of the Great White North his entire life, though he professes to still hate the winters.
Though Jann did not start writing until his mid-twenties, writing has grown from a hobby to an all-consuming passion. His interests as a child were almost exclusively centered on the exotic fantasy worlds of Tolkien and Eddings, among a host of others. As an adult, his interests have grown to include historical fiction and romance, with a particular focus on the works of Jane Austen.
When Jann is not writing, he enjoys rooting for his favorite sports teams. He is also a master musician (in his own mind) who enjoys playing piano and singing as well as moonlighting as the choir director in his church’s congregation.
Jann lives in Alberta with his wife of more than twenty years, two grown sons, and one young daughter. He is convinced that whatever hair he has left will be entirely gone by the time his little girl hits her teenage years. Sadly, though he has told his daughter repeatedly that she is not allowed to grow up, she continues to ignore him.
NOTE: This review is based on an eBook I purchased from Amazon on October 31, 2022.