From the desk of Katie P.:
The third book in The Brides of Pemberley series by Nancy Kelley is Against His Will, which chronicles the continuing saga of the Bennet and Darcy families. The second volume in the series, Loving Miss Darcy, was focused on Georgiana Darcy and Colonel Richard Fitzwilliam, with other characters including Elizabeth Darcy, Mr. Darcy, Kitty Bennet, and Fitzwilliam’s spy friends, Sebastian, Ashford, and Colin. In Loving Miss Darcy, a crisis and mystery needed solved, and the best friends of both Georgiana and Richard helped to save the day. In this latest installment in The Brides of Pemberley series, the focus is on the much-ignored Bennet sister, Kitty Bennet, and is a tale of romance, adventure, murder, and espionage.
Kitty Bennet has been secretly in love with Sebastian Montgomery ever since their fascinating conversation during a dance last Season. His sharp wit, lack of tact, discerning mind, uncanny observations, and piercing grey eyes have long been in her memory and heart, despite her remembrance of the painful conversation she overhead between Sebastian and his friend, Colin, after their dance. Sebastian’s painful words to his friend about is knowledge of Kitty’s love and his plans of doing everything he could to make her dislike him still angered and wounded Kitty after almost a year’s time.
Thinking of Sebastian as the independent and unattainable object of her affection suits Kitty just fine, until she bumps into him at her best friend’s wedding and finds his conversation and attentiveness hard to resist. When she finds out that he has asked her uncle to court her, she knows that he must have ulterior motives—why else would he be pursuing her, the wallflower of the Bennet household and the woman he declared he had no interest in?
Sebastian Montgomery is perfectly content with being a free and independent bachelor—ignoring social conventions, etiquette, tact, and most importantly, marriage. He has no need to settle down and start a family, and instead of spending his time searching for a rich bride, he spends his time keeping up to date on the uneasy relations between France and England, brushing up on his old spying skills, and avoiding single females (who, with the exception of one, all bore him within five minutes). But when his grandfather and uncle die in a suspicious carriage accident, Sebastian discovers that he is the new earl of Lisle, with not only a country estate to manage, but also the responsibility to marry and have an heir.
Sebastian has no wish to be an earl or to be married to one of the irritatingly insipid females of his acquaintance. But when his strong-willed mother gives him an ultimatum—either he must marry one of his greedy and flirtatious cousins or someone of his own choice by the next Season—Sebastian names the first woman who comes to mind, and the only woman who doesn’t bore him—Miss Kitty Bennet. But before his plan to pursue Kitty can go into action, he is attacked at night by a masked man intent on killing him. Sebastian knows that this murder attempt is somehow related to his grandfather’s death. As he gets closer to solving the mystery, can he manage to woo Kitty, who is becoming less boring to him every day? And can both Kitty and Sebastian outwit his grandfather’s killer, who is quickly closing in and putting their future and very lives in danger?
Against His Will is focused on Kitty Bennet, a character from Pride and Prejudice who gets far less attention in sequels and continuations than she deserves. In Pride and Prejudice, she is seen as the flirty, giggly, irresponsible shadow of Lydia, but Nancy Kelley has created an older, more mature Kitty, one who shows that more was going on behind the scenes than meets the eye, and that her place in the Bennet family would have affected her as a character. At first, I felt exasperated with Kitty’s lack of confidence, but thanks to Nancy Kelley’s insightful explanation I discovered the reason why: Lydia had been the apple of their mother’s eye, Lizzy her father’s darling child. Jane was beautiful, Mary was good. Kitty just…was. Too silly, too plain, too loud, too annoying. All her life she had been too much of something…(Kindle Locations 903-905). The crisis that Kitty faced in Against His Will—who was she really—was one that virtually everyone faces at some point in their lives, and one that was as equally compelling to read as Sebastian’s quest to find out who was his grandfather’s killer.
Even though Against His Will can be read as a standalone, I strongly suggest that Loving Miss Darcy be read first. Loving Miss Darcy introduces Fitzwilliam’s circle of close friends who had served as fellow agents in France spying for the British, and while Against His Will has its own set of main characters and its own well-written story that can be enjoyed by itself, the knowledge of the back-story and characters’ histories from Loving Miss Darcy will make this story (and the ending) a more satisfying read.
Against His Will is a lovely romance, with a hero and heroine who are both trying to figure out who they really are, what they really want, and what is expected of them. I confess—since reading this book I have flipped through it again and again, rereading all my highlighted sections (who knew I had over 50?!), and I fully admit—without shame—that the last couple chapters have each time made my heart flip. I love a good ending, and this ending brings “perfect happiness” to not just the characters in the book, but also to the reader. Add to that the various lovable and quirky members of the Bennet and Darcy households (especially the indomitable Mrs. Bennet) and you’re in for a treat!
5 out of 5 Regency Stars
Against His Will: The Brides of Pemberley (Volume 3), by Nancy Kelley
Smokey Rose Press (2013)
Trade paperback (194) pages
Our previous reviews in The Brides of Pemberley Series
Cover image courtesy of Smokey Rose Press © 2013; text Katie P. © 2014, Austenprose.com
Disclosure of Material Connection: We received one review copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. We only review or recommend products we have read or used and believe will be a good match for our readers. We are disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”