Love is HARD WORK- Jane Austen got that. Her characters were given incredible challenges and personal conflicts that they overcame to earn the love they so deserved. Novelist Susan Mason-Milks decides to keep the idea of working at love alive in her debut novel, Mr. Darcy’s Proposal. Mason-Milks asks my favorite question when it comes to Jane Austen fan fiction: what if? This time, we’re treated to the question of what would happen to Lizzy and Darcy if he had not proposed due to circumstances beyond his control?
In Mason-Milks’ retelling, Darcy travels to the Hunsford Parsonage ready to propose to Elizabeth, only to find her devastated by the news that her father is critically ill and most likely close to death. Darcy offers to help take her back to see her father, and in the course of their travels discovers that she does not really care for him. Therefore, he is at a crossroads. Should he just deliver her home and forget it now that he knows her true feelings? Or should he try to convince Elizabeth that he is not the overbearing and prudish man she thinks he is? Will they be able to overcome their obstacles and find love against all odds?
Mason-Milks does a fantastic job at staying true to the Darcy and Elizabeth that we already know and love. Darcy is prideful and arrogant, but desperately trying to change his ways. Elizabeth is impertinent and rash, yet trying to be more open-minded when it comes to judging people. In having Elizabeth and Darcy marry early on in the story, prior to their misunderstandings being 100% out in the open, it created an interesting series of conflicts that kept a good pace for the novel, as well as an interesting story for the reader to follow.
My biggest complaint would be the length of time it takes to get to that happy resolution. It takes more than three-quarters of the book to get to an understanding between the two of them. That is not to say the journey to get to that understanding is boring or overdone, but I would have liked to have been rewarded with a longer interlude of the finally happy couple! Overall, it is a solid choice for anyone who would love another retelling of our favorite story from Ms. Austen. You won’t be disappointed!
4 out of 5 Stars
This is my ninth completed review for the Historical Fiction Challenge
Mr. Darcy’s Proposal by Susan Mason-Milks
eBook 897 pages