Book Review #90: A Pemberley Medley by Abigail Reynolds
A Pemberley Medley
by Abigail Reynolds
Genre: Short Story Anthology / Romance / Jane Austen Re-tellings
Ages: 16 and up
I recieved an e-book from the author in exchange for an honest review. Thank you, Abigail!
Five pathways to Pemberley! It's the best of all worlds in this collection of five short Pride & Prejudice variations by bestselling writer Abigail Reynolds. Can Mr. Darcy win Elizabeth Bennet's heart... or are they doomed to misunderstand one another forever? Can Mr. Darcy stand by and watch while Elizabeth loses everything she holds precious... including him?
Contents include "Such Differing Reports", "A Succession of Rain", "Reason's Rule" (an excerpt from The Rule of Reason), "The Most Natural Thing", and "Intermezzo".
I positively melted into this book, drowning in Darcy. I didn't leave my computer for two hours as I read the whole thing from start to finish. If anybody had looked in on me they probably would have seen a silly little smile on my face while they failed to catch my attention.
In this story, Darcy and Elizabeth have not reconciled in time for Bingley and Jane's wedding and Georgiana attempts to discover the woman who is making her brother miserable.
I have read this story three times and still it makes me go aww. It is so sweet with a little humor and kissing and more kissing...sorry, spacing out in remembrance. Maybe I should go read the kissing scenes again, I'll be right back...
Such Differing Reports
In Such Differing Reports, Elizabeth gives more credence to Charlotte's theory that Darcy is in love with her and her boldness causes quarrels, a rather lovely letter and more kissing.
The fights and awkward conversations in this story are wonderful. I love the premise that Elizabeth had an idea of Darcy's affections before he proposed at Hunsford. It changed their interactions completely and led to a whole new level of miscommunication and misunderstanding. I loved the scene where they were communicating with each other right under Lady Catherine's nose and she didn't have a clue.
This is an excerpt of a variation of a variation. When Abigail Reynolds wrote To Conquer Mr. Darcy (aka Impulse and Initiative), she had two ideas of where she wanted the story to go. In the end, she chose the version that went into To Conquer Mr. Darcy. However, since she still liked the other version, she wrote The Rule of Reason and this story is from that. In this story, Darcy and Elizabeth are happily engaged when the news comes of Lydia's attempted elopement. Elizabeth tries to protect Darcy from the scandal, but he is having none of it.
I loved Darcy and Elizabeth's growing relationship in this one. They are both in love and together, but they are still learning about each other. I loved Darcy's reaction to Elizabeth's letter when she tried to leave him to protect him. Utterly swoonworthy. The conversations between Mr. Bennet and Darcy were massively entertaining. Though I did get a little ticked off at Mr. Bennet at one point, Darcy's response was just perfect. I am going to have to get a copy of The Rule of Reason so that I can see how this version goes in its entirety.
The Most Natural Thing
The Bennet family is in trouble. Mr. Bennet has passed away and there is nobody that Elizabeth can turn to when Lydia's foolishness threatens to ruin them all. So she goes to the only person she can think of, Mr. Darcy, and offers him the only thing she has, herself.
This story would probably be the most shocking to Austen purists. I mean, Elizabeth offering her virtue to Darcy as part of a bargain? And yet, I can see her doing something like that to save her sisters. Darcy's determination to be gentlemanly is strained to the limits; I loved the part where Darcy tells Elizabeth to throw him in a river.
The Most Natural Thing has them underestimating both themselves and each other. Elizabeth makes incorrect assumptions about Darcy from her lack of knowledge of his character and Darcy believes lies about Elizabeth because he doubts that she could ever love him. Poor Darcy has a really hard time of it in this one, which makes the ending all the sweeter.
A Succession of Rain
What if the rain kept Darcy and Elizabeth from their wandering walks and it was impossible to get any privacy? What might Darcy resort to for a conversation?
A Succession of Rain is pure light-hearted fun. All problems are solved, Darcy has hope that Elizabeth might love him, Elizabeth has hope that Darcy still cares about her...but it is raining and they have no opportunity to talk. After days of uncertainty and veiled conversations, will Darcy's frustration get the better of him? If it does, what will he do? This story made me laugh because of their annoyance at the natural circumstances conspiring to keep them apart.
This collection of short stories is simply delightful. I fully intend to read them over and over again. The combination of Austen's magnificent characters and Abigail's wonderful imagination is utterly perfect.