Mary Lydon Simonsen is one of the most versatile Austen fan fiction writers out there. She’s given us contemporary Pride and Prejudice retellings that take place in WWII England, what-ifs that pose Georgiana Darcy and Anne de Bourgh as matchmakers, stories where Mr. Darcy is a werewolf and one particular tale with a widowed Darcy in Italy getting a second chance at love with Elizabeth Bennet. This is just a small sampling of the imagination present in Simonsen’s stories. And now with the publication of her latest novel, Another Place in Time, time-travel gets added to that list!
In an exciting take on Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, we find Mr. Darcy approached by Hannah and Jacob Caswell, time-travelers from the modern era, who inform him of the existence of Elizabeth Bennet. After he is saddened by her rejection at the Parsonage, he is counseled by them to travel to the future (2012) to seek out the assistance of Ms. Christine O’Malley, an expert on both Jane Austen and the Regency era. Upon his arrival Darcy finds Christine engaged in a panel discussion about Austen in Baltimore. Although his arrival excites many at the conference, Christine is reluctant to assist him as she feels he is an actor and an imposter. Finally, after much coercion, Darcy is able to convince Christine to travel back in time with him in order to help him win Elizabeth back. During their time in Regency England Christine soon finds herself falling for Mr. Darcy’s cousin, Colonel Fitzwilliam. Will she be able to consolidate her rational, modern-day attitude with her heart’s yearning for a man from the past?
Simonsen’s books are always such a pleasure to read, mainly because of her ability to weave humor, history, and romance into her novels. Her wit truly shines in Another Place in Time. Envisioning Darcy in modern-day America trying fast food, learning how to use a smartphone, looking up the definition of “Googling”, and so many other instances added a perfect undertone of levity to the writing.
Her infusion of history added another element often missing from Romance novels. Right from the beginning we’re treated to tidbits of information about the history of Baltimore and Maryland, forward-thinking scientists of the Regency era, English monarchs, social structures of the early 1800s, and so much more. This information sprinkled throughout the novel changed it from just another love story to a novel with weight, value, and depth. Her character development is superb as always, and her portrayal of Darcy from an arrogant, proud man of wealth—to a despondent, scorned lover—to finally a content man in love, was a wonderful journey. I liked Chris and Col Fitzwilliam’s paths of development as well, as they both started out completely skeptical towards time-travel, and eventually their respect for another character (in Chris’s case, Darcy; in Fitzwilliam’s case, Chris) allowed them to see the truth and possibility that it would work. In short, this is another fantastic job by Simonsen. Smart, quick and chock full of fun, Simonsen has another hit on her hands that will be sure to please. This is definitely one to add to your shelves ASAP.
5 out of 5 Regency Stars
Another Place in Time: A Pride and Prejudice Time Travel Romance, by Mary Lydon Sinonsen
Quail Creek Publishing, LLC (2014)
Digital eBook (253) pages
Cover image courtesy of Quail Creek Publishing © 2014; text Kimberly Denny-Ryder © 2014, Austenprose.com