by Kimbelle Pease
Genres: Regency Romance
Release Date: September 30, 2021
Purchase from: Amazon
My Rating: ★★★☆☆
One warning, two cautions, and a note:
WARNING: In deference to a truth universally acknowledged that men do not behave the same when no women are present as they do in mixed company, this vagary does have occasional uses of profanity. The men in my life would consider it amusing but naïve to afford the same semantics of conversation for wholly different circumstances such as these, or they would should one of them choose to read it.
This vagary proposes an alternate telling of the original Pride and Prejudice and considers what may have happened should the characters have been afforded a slightly altered set of circumstances. What if Mr. Darcy had accepted quite early that he was falling in love with Elizabeth? What if Elizabeth was the least stubborn of her sisters? What if Mrs. Bennet was allowed to settle in mind and spirit? What if Mr. Bennet exerted himself on behalf of his daughters? What if Mr. Collins was in some way welcomed as the next owner of the estate? Those are only some of the twists within this tale, and while not canon, I hope I gave your favorite character a moment unto themselves that will make you smile.
CAUTION: I want to specifically state that this vagary is not for all Pride and Prejudice genre readers. If one reads to find fault in what is not canon, I’ve been most forthcoming about the fact that it is a vagary, so you should already be on your guard and perhaps pass it by. For those of you who are strict authoress-guidelines conscious, I will argue that in all time periods people spoke with the use of contractions. To that end, I was true to life rather than follow her pointed non-use of them. Outside conversation, however, you will not find them, and I hope that soothes any feathers which may be ruffled at such a bold defiance.
CAUTION: My editor also requested that I issue a point of clarification on her behalf. I confess that as an author em-dashes drive me nanabas, so in conflict with her excellent advice, I did not include many of them where she said they should be. Despise me for it if you must, but no novel, story, prose, or verse ever hinged on one’s use. The lacking or use of a comma, however, has cost millions. I promise that for those, I let her fully guide me.
NOTE: My personal pleasure in writing this book was the intent to make any who read it find themselves staying up at night; not because ODCs are near death, have been forced to do that which they despise, or are off chasing Lydia again, but because I believe I am not the only one of us who dearly loves to laugh.
**Please be aware, this review contains spoilers.**
One of the most important jobs an author has is to ensure their readers suspend disbelief as they progress through the story. Unfortunately, I just could not do this as I read through Something New to Observe (SNtO).
But, before I get into my issues with SNtO, I have to say I didn’t exactly dislike it. I wouldn’t recommend it, but the underlying storyline was enjoyable. However, I don’t know that I would have kept reading if not for wanting an answer to some of the sister’s secrets, which didn’t get revealed until the final 5% of the book.
I don’t want to harp on anything for too long, so I’ll stick with my general observations without going into detail.
In many places, it felt as though the author had come up with a bunch of background information and was determined to include it all, relevant or not; interesting or not. I found it tedious to get through these sections. SNtO would benefit from an editor.
There are several places where the author makes a point to mention details that I can only assume were meant to show historical accuracy. However, because the Napoleonic Wars are ongoing in SNtO, it must occur before 1815. Therefore, it’s easy to pinpoint inaccuracies in behavior, dress, etc.
Somehow, SNtO takes place over 2 or 3 weeks — The exact timing is a bit difficult to follow. We, as readers, are supposed to believe that somehow, with nothing but a confession of his numerous misdeeds, everyone — the Bennets and his own family — went from despising or disgusted with Darcy to very happy with him. Lizzy slapped him. Charlotte was so disgusted with him that she told him to stop walking her home. Mr. Bennet and his cousins were ready to thrash him. But, just a couple of days later, Lizzy has magically forgiven him and is offering him her support. And this isn’t the only similar situation. There’s just no way SNtO realistically takes place in 2, or even 3, weeks.
The main girls — Jane, Lizzy, Mary, and Charlotte — are somehow basically perfect women who have every virtue and accomplishment expected of Regency women, are highly intelligent, stand up for themselves, and have developed an additional talent that can earn them a living in secret. Not one of them has any real fault or failing.
For anyone who’s curious about the girls’ secrets, Mrs. Purvis is Lady Catherine. Their current music master is a duke and the Queen’s Master of Music. They have a close relationship with the Queen.
Their relationship with Lady Catherine raises many questions because her behavior as Mrs. Purvis — as recounted by the girls — in no way matches her behavior as Lady Catherine — as recounted by Darcy and Mr. Collins. Their previous music masters — who are frequently mentioned and made much of — despite being invited to the Bingley ball, are neither introduced to the readers nor do we see them speak to the girls at all, which seems odd. Their relationship with the queen is so close that they call her Aunt Charlotte. While it is never explicitly mentioned, I believe we are to infer that Lady Catherine met Queen Charlotte in Germany prior to either of their marriages.
About the Author
Kim grew up knowing that she would join the military. Every day she is grateful for the experience of having served with and for those alongside whom she worked. While her current day job allows her to put pen to paper, it is technical in nature and lacks the excitement, humor, and wit found in any that which she writes in her spare time.
In her Jane Austen Fan Fiction novels, Kim enjoys bending the rules, and one may even go so far as to say she breaks them. She’s not afraid to change events, characters, or to insert interesting twists with a view to producing an original story, however fanciful it may be. From these stories, Kim hopes her readers are able to find moments of humor or escape, just as she has from her own favorite novels.
In addition to reading and writing, Kim enjoys playing open-world video games and watching movies and sports. She lives with her husband, a former Marine, and her daughter, of whom she is immensely proud, in New England.
NOTE: This review is based on an eBook I borrowed from Amazon on January 23, 2023 as part of the Kindle Unlimited program.