by Robin M. Helm
Genres: Literary Fiction, Regency, Romance
Release Date: January 31, 2017
Purchase from: Amazon
My Rating: ★★★★☆
Mr. Darcy is tempted beyond what he can endure when Elizabeth Bennet leaves her private journal entries in the parlour of Netherfield. Upon reading her writing, he is appalled to find that she overheard his unflattering remarks at the Meryton Assembly and despises him for his thoughtless comments. He wishes with all his heart that he could undo the damage.
During a restless sleep, he dreams of two powerful beings who can give him his heart’s desire – Elizabeth’s admiration, respect, and love.
Will he take the offer to change the past so that he never makes the offensive statement? Will he make a deal with the Devil, or is the price too dear?
What would you do to get exactly what you want? How much would you be willing to pay?
Please be aware, this review contains spoilers.
Understanding Elizabeth (UE) was not what I expected. Given both the description and the first half of the book, I was prepared for a true “good vs. evil” fight with heavy religious undertones. However, that wasn’t the case. That aspect was a secondary story arc at best.
After Darcy’s first dream, I anticipated his choice to have some bearing on Jane’s illness. I truly believed that if Darcy chose to make a deal with the demon that Jane would have perished. To find out later that she was not part of the deal at all felt like a letdown. It was as though a movie featured parallel editing only to veer off in another direction that showed the two scenes weren’t related.
Another oddity is the amount of page time dedicated to chess when, ultimately, it had little bearing on the plot. In most cases, a conversation could have substituted for the chess match. It would have been nice to see chess brought back in later, perhaps a chess piece included in Elizabeth’s bouquet for the ball, or engraved on their wedding rings, for example. Instead, once Mr. Bennet and Mr. Darcy shared their chess club names with each other, the entire subject virtually disappeared from the plot.
I did, however, enjoy Darcy’s relationship with Mr. Bennet, especially as it improved throughout the story. And Ms. Helm made excellent use of that relationship to provide Darcy with some nudges in the right direction.
Georgiana’s personality was also enjoyable. It was nice to see her after she’d overcome her issues post-Wickham. In UE, she’s a confident teenager, right on the cusp of womanhood. She teases her brother and makes secret plans to help him achieve his goals.
I would have liked an announcement scene for Darcy and Elizabeth’s engagement, if for no other reason than to read Caroline’s reaction. However, both Bingley sisters are virtual non-entities in this book.
Mr. Wickham is also almost nonexistent, but he does get his due in the epilogue, dying in a duel. I appreciate that this gave Lydia a chance to find happiness, despite how foolishly and thoughtlessly she acted.
Overall, UE is a good read, but I’d suggest reading it through Kindle Unlimited, if possible.
About the Author
Robin Helm’s time revolves around music as she plays and teaches. Her books reflect that love, as well as her fascination with the paranormal and science fiction.
Her latest publication is Lawfully Innocent: A US Marshal Lawkeepers story. Previously published works include The Guardian Trilogy (Darcy is Elizabeth’s guardian angel) and the Yours by Design series (Fitzwilliam Darcy switches places in time with his descendant, Will Darcy), Understanding Elizabeth (Darcy must decide how much he’s willing to pay to have what he wants), and More To Love (Darcy comments on Elizabeth’s weight at the Assembly).
Mrs. Helm is also featured in a series of anthologies with several other like-minded authors. A Very Austen Christmas and A Very Austen Valentine have been Best Sellers on Amazon in several categories. A Very Austen Romance is being planned for February, 2020.
She lives in (usually) sunny South Carolina and enjoys playing the piano, reading, and traveling.
NOTE: This review is based on an eBook I borrowed from Amazon on May 29, 2022 as part of the Kindle Unlimited program.