The titular story poses the question: what if Mr. Darcy left Meryton the day after the assembly in which he makes his disastrous “not handsome enough to tempt me” statement, and never met Elizabeth again until her visit with the Collins’ in Kent? Upon finally meeting again Darcy finds the words he so erroneously spoke about her are still on the tip of Elizabeth’s tongue. Darcy is taken aback, realizing simultaneously how much he loves her and how much he hurt her at the same time. Thus, they begin to rekindle their relationship with a walk in Rosings Park. With the help of his cousin Anne, Darcy comes up with a plan that will hopefully have him winning Lizzy’s heart. Will the feelings of Elizabeth’s heart be able to overcome the doubts in her head?
The second (bonus!) story by Simonsen is entitled Darcy Steps In, and asks: “what if Darcy finds out that Mr. Collins wants to propose to Elizabeth? Darcy is unsure as to what Elizabeth’s response would be if a marriage was proposed between Collins and herself, due to the entail on the estate. He begins to feel nervous and jealous, which thrusts him into action. He decides that he must have a chat with Collins that will hopefully give all parties their desired wishes in the end. Will Darcy’s plan work, or will Elizabeth’s feelings of duty outweigh those of her heart and mind?
As always Simonsen injects her subtle humor into the stories, especially as these stories include none other than that ridiculous oaf Mr. Collins! It’s these subtleties that always make me enjoy her writing. She has a way of writing a more playful Darcy, and really who doesn’t want to read how their relationship would play out with that kind of Darcy? Simonsen’s Darcy freely teases Lizzy for her impertinence, and is honest about his opinions and feelings. (Not opinions and feelings like “oh you’re terribly wrong for me but I’ll make you an offer of marriage anyway”) Darcy himself is humorous and it’s watching Lizzy fall in love with that man that makes Simonsen’s work a favorites of mine time and time again.
Both short stories were wonderfully imaginative and could definitely have the potential to become full-fledged novels on their own. Both had a well-developed plot that could have easily carried the story through many more pages. However, she was able to take these stories and move them along quickly so that we got right into things without further ado. I feel that this definitely worked to her credit, and made both stories exciting and a quick read. These works definitely show her strength as an author, for the strong plot lines Simonsen has imagined easily pulled me into her world of “what-if’s”, and made me glad to follow this latest iteration of the genre she’s mastered so well! I would highly recommend this novel to those readers who want to cut out the supporting characters in their JAFF works. With A Walk in the Meadows you’re either with Darcy or Elizabeth the whole time, much to the readers delight!
5 out of 5 stars
This is my twenty-sixth completed review for the Historical Fiction Challenge