After reading a good number of Pride and Prejudice variations, I’ve seen everything from a zombie infested Pemberley to Lizzie and Darcy existing as modern rock stars. So, although interesting, it was no surprise when I read the summary of Mr. Darcy’s Refuge by Abigail Reynolds. This time, it’s a natural disaster that impedes on their lives, and knowing Reynolds’ work like I do, I knew I was in for a great read!
We begin with Darcy traveling to Rosings Park, his initial disastrous proposal to Elizabeth barely underway when someone bursts into the room, breathlessly telling them that the river has overflowed its banks! Fortunately for the residents of Kent (and unfortunately for Elizabeth and Darcy), the Hunsford Parsonage of Rosings Park is high enough above the waters for everyone to escape to safety. Now, Elizabeth and Darcy have multiple unintended witnesses to the aftermath of Darcy’s proposal, which he thinks is successful while Elizabeth thinks otherwise. Additionally, with the flood forcing them to be together in the Parsonage for three whole days, Elizabeth’s reputation is at stake. With tensions rising, Elizabeth and Darcy are forced to confront their feelings for each other, while they soon find that Mr. Bennet is furious with the goings on and clashes with his daughter. What will happen to this powder keg of emotions and activity? Will Darcy and Elizabeth even be able to look at each other after this is all over?
Reading Abigail Reynolds’ books is always pleasant because of the unique “what if” questions she often asks. Putting Darcy and Elizabeth into a situation with no escape and a marriage that must be forced due to propriety has to be one of the harder “what if” plots to write. The flood was an excellent plot device for two reasons: it got Elizabeth and Darcy into a situation that they could not escape, and it cut them off from all of the other essential characters that would have been able to act as chaperones between the two. This was a great idea because it maximized the drama that was sure to unfold between Darcy and Elizabeth as it gave them literally no way out of the mess they were involved in. The most intriguing element of this read was the introduction of Col. Fitzwilliam as yet another suitor for Elizabeth. The conclusion to his story is one that completely shocked me and surprisingly made me happy. One thing that did disappoint me was the speed at which Darcy’s transformation occurred, as it seemed a bit fast for my taste. Other than this, however, I got to enjoy the superior writing style and tone that is always present in Ms. Reynolds writing. As always, it was a wonderful effort that any fan of Reynolds (or newcomer to her books) should add to their to-read pile!
4 out of 5 Stars
This is my thirty-eighth completed review for the Historical Fiction Challenge
Mr. Darcy’s Refuge by Abigail Reynolds
White Soup Press (2012)
eBook: 238 pages
Special thanks to Ms. Reynolds for sending me my review copy!