First off I am going say that I am not going to add pictures of this book as it is a BEAST broken into three parts. I don't have the physical copy yet, however it and other written by Ms. Wells can be found on www.meryton.com/aha/index.php?showforum=47 and there are so so many amazing stories there and not just Pride and Prejudice.
Now this IS a P&P variation but instead of following the standard form of what if's and staying in the similar time line as the original, this story starts off with Darcy returning from his grand tour at the age of 22 and Lizzy at the age of 15. It begins with Darcy coming home and finding out that his father is going to die soon and he needs to get ready to become the master of the estate etc...to control his grief Darcy goes to Hyde Park and is just lost until he hears a laugh that breaks through the fog, can we guess who? YES! Lizzy. He overhears a conversation and gets some preliminary info about her and she in turn gets the same when a 10 yr old Georgiana comes running to Darcy. Here is the catch, they did not actually meet. They saw, noticed, looked and smiled and that was the end of it.
Darcy returns home and learns how to become the master of all that is his and Lizzy goes back to Longbourne and life there.
The story then continues on with various chance sitings at the museum while the siblings are in mourning and months later at the Derby where Darcy befriends Bingley. Over the course of two years Darcy has erected a wall and is working to become the aloof man we all know and love in the original work. Lizzy is progressing towards her combative self as well. Within that two year period Lizzy is semi-courted and left by a friend of Darcy's Mr. Stewart and Darcy is facing his understanding of duty.
The great change takes place when Darcy informs a 12 year old Georgiana that she must go to school for girls and she lashes out because she believes he wants her out of the way so that he can enjoy the society his aunt and uncle are forcing on him...in reaction to this fight Darcy wanders off into Hyde Park again and at last meets Lizzy face to face for more than a smile...the rest they say is history...sort of.
Over the course of approx 1500 pages we watch D/E court, become engaged, marry, have children, grow, love and develop. It is a beautiful story and the part that kills me is how in love with, not only his wife, but his children Darcy is.
The standard secondary characters get a twist as well as some new additions. So what I will do is give a run down of the character and who they end up partnered with etc.
Mr. Bennet - in this story is a weak man who as usual does nothing to curb his wife and children but as the book ends has progressed to a more mature man who strove through the whole story to control and earn the respect of his family.
Mrs. Bennet - instead of just being a flighty busy body Mrs. Bennet is a cold hard woman. She loves Jane and she loves Lydia and that is it. She absolutely hates Lizzy and has no use for Mary or Kitty. She greatly resembles many portrayls of Lady Catherine. The reason for this disdain for her children was their gender and nothing more. I won't go into more but she gets her cumupance in the end.
Jane Bennet - spends her early life in this book being told that with her beauty she will snatch a rich husband and save the family and all she has to do is smile. When D/E get together Jane becomes an uncharacteristic shrew of sorts and lashes out in jealousy. She is finally courted by a man, Mr. Harwick, who later breaks the courtship due to mutual lack of interest, her family's behavior, and a budding interest in Mr. Stewarts sister. She later is courted by Mr. Bingley but married Mr. Robert Lucas of Lucas Lodge instead. - Children include Lucy and others.
Mr. Robert Lucas - Heir to lucas lodge and as much as I would love to expound on him he has no major growing pains to go through - but he is a wonderful member of the mens club.
Mr. Harwick - Landowner, widower, father, initial suitor for Jane Bennet, later married to Miss. Stewart. - Children include two girls from previous marriage and son poss more with second.
Mr. Stewart - Friend of Darcy, ex-suitor of Lizzy, brother to the second Mrs. Harwick, husband to Miss Henley, attorney.
Mary Bennet - is the only sister invited to D/E's wedding with her father. Is given and takes the opportunity to branch out away from Fordyce's sermond and later married the de Bourgh heir Captain Peter de Bourgh. Children include at least one daughter named Rebecca.
Peter de Bourgh - long unknown heir to Rosings Park. He gains the estate when Anne de Bourgh dies but moves in prior with his mother to help care for her when Lady Catherine is cast out to the dower house.
Michael de Bourgh - brother to Peter who marries Charlotte Lucas and is given the Hunsford living.
Charlotte Lucas - obv does not marry Mr. Collins (who blessedly does NOT play a major role in this book) and does in fact marry a de Bourgh.
Kitty Bennet - is the next sister to go to school with Georgiana and later develops into a wonderful family artist and marries Mr. Evans who has the living in Kympton.
Lydia Bennet - Lydia is the typical Lydia at the beginning of the story but changes when she is sent to a girls school for hard to control girls and her only friend runs off with an officer to be left in London. She learns by watching what happens to a peer's family what she was turning into. She grows and becomes closer to Jane and later Lizzy/Mary/Kitty. She is the only person who her mother will really listen to during later events. Later she marries Mr. Robinson.
Mr. Harris Robinson - landowner/tradesman dealing in exotic fruit. Initially marries Caroline Bingley who after giving birth to their son dies from a fever after a forced miscarriage. With the birth of his son, Wallace, Mr. Robinson changes dramatically from a cold man afraid to truly care for anyone for fear of losing them to a wonderful character.
Anne de Bourgh - Anne is in a word - crazy. She suffered from multiple fevers throughout her life as well as bleeding that was the main treatment in those days. She ended up developing Old Maids syndrome which is essentially a mental condition where she believes that she is married etc. This condition was encouraged by Lady Catherine in hopes that Darcy would marry Anne. Obv did not happen. I won't go into it but I can say that Anne was nuts, but a nut to be sympathized.
Mr. Collins - heir to Longbourne and very little heard from or seen and quite irritating.
Lady Catherine - Bitch. No other word for it. She tried to use her daughter to control Pemberly and Rosings and lost it all as well as her family for her behavior. She ends in Rosings dower house alone with rare visits from Peter's mother.
Lord and Lady Matlock - I'm grouping them together because they are a formidible pair but are such an amazing couple. The growth they go through in accepting Lizzy as well as her family and helping D/E in growing pains in society as well as Mary and Jane and later Kitty etc. Not much to say but fun to read them all the same.
Viscount Layton and Alicia - they were a couple (son of Lord and Lady Matlock and Darcy cousin and his wife) through an arranged marriage. Layton began as a colossal snob but in watching Darcy's relationship and the love shared with Lizzy, he began to reassess and change things in his marriage. A love story based on watching a love story unfold. Children include Margaret, Frederick and more.
Audrey and Robert Singleton - Another arranged marriage (daughter of the matlocks) who had to go through the same growing pains as Layton and Alicia and to deal with his gaming habits and his family issues. Children include Grace and a son who's name I forget and more.
Col. Richard Fitzwilliam and Mrs. Evangeline Cater (ne. Harwick) - I'm running out of steam on this but suffice it to say another set of characters who fell in love and had to deal with growing pains, but in this case they were of Eva's first husband who was abusive and so much more, to Richard's war injuries and eventual retirement at an early age etc. Children include Anabel and more.
Mr. George Wickham - no I would not forget him. Rather than run off with Lydia Wickham tried to rob and harm the Darcy's. He was caught in attempted robbery and was sentenced to go to Australia...he escaped before sailing and attempted to kidnap the Darcy's daughter Rosalie and was later sentenced to hang. He has a relationship with Mrs. Younge in this story, who was sentenced to Aussie land for theft of Georgiana's necklace as she was a teacher at the girls school.
Georgiana Darcy - We watch Georgiana growing up in this story as much as the other characters. I do no know who she ends up with in the end as that is not made quite clear but she has a lot of standard growing pains we all must go through in finding ourselves and our places in life.
Mr. Charles Bingley - Is adorable and lovable and typical Bingley and we watching him grow as he learns his place in society, marry off Caroline, grow closer to all friends and family, is adopted as a younger brother of sorts to Darcy, and later Marries Abigail Martin (who I think dies, but again the ending is not 100% clear). Children include Abigail and unknown?
Mr. and Mrs. Hurst - truly likable characters and nothing like those fom the original work. Hurst is not a drunk but he drinks too much in the beginning to drown out Caroline and later becomes a welcome friend to the Darcy's and others. Louisa is not insipide or a milder copy of Caroline. They are wonderful characters in this version. Children include Samuel.
Caroline Bingley/Robinson - Caroline is Caroline. In this she has met Darcy but has never been to Pemberly. Hates Lizzy because she wants the first circle status not Darcy as the man. She marries Mr. Robinson as a result to save her reputation after a public ending to a failed courtship with Mr. George Wickham. She gives birth to Wallace and avoids her son like the plague. She later dies of infection post misscarriage that was induced because she did not want more children.
Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner - typical characters for most P&P variations and aboslutely loveable.
D/E - You'll just have to read it to see how wonderful they are in this and I cannot wait to own this so as to be able to read it again and again and again AWAY from the pc. Children include - Rosalie, Asher, John, Michael, and Thomas +1.
My only complaint with this book is the ending. The chapter essentially starts off with Georgiana's coming out and later skips to Rosalie's coming out ball. You get caught up on major characters but some are still confusing...such as what the hell happened with Mr. Bingley and his wife...did she die did she not etc and who in the hell did Georgiana marry. The first time I read this I was thinking that she and Bingley got together as he would be a widow but the second time I am not so sure....and short of emailing the author I am left to speculate.
I know this is terribly long winded and I thank you if you read the whole thing...this is a wonderful story and I loved it as much as I loved the others by her and cannot wait for he next book she puts out. If you get a chance go to the website above and read her work as well as others...this site FEEDS my addiction. ;p
I know I say this with almost all of the books I blog on when I blog on them, which I wouldn't honestly if I didn't enjoy the book to begin with - but this is a must read if you are a P&P JAFF fan or hell if you just love a good romance. *wink*