Life is a series of calculations, steps, and decisions that make up all of our experiences. What would happen if we had the ability to see how certain decisions affected the rest of our lives? Would we willingly change our fate and the fates of others or would we follow our instincts? C.P. Odom explores these questions in his latest Pride and Prejudice variation, Consequences.
We often see the consequences of Elizabeth Bennet’s choices in a different light via Pride and Prejudice retellings. In Consequences we find her rejecting Mr. Darcy’s first proposal at the Hunsford Parsonage, only to set forth a series of events she could not possibly have imagined. This fateful decision affects not only her own path but the lives and livelihood of her entire family, with shocking final results. Of course, Elizabeth could not possibly have known that one single decision could have such a lasting impact on her life; but would reflecting on the potential outcome change her decision? C.P. Odom shows us how one single point in the seemingly endless parade of decisions in one’s life can have such a visceral impact on the paths we travel.
Every so often a book will come along that has the ability to take us on a wild emotional ride. Consequences is just such a book. I’m still reeling from the extreme emotions that this book was able to incite within me. There were times that the writing was so moving that I had to put the book down and just reflect for a bit. Odom is certainly a person who understands the depths of the human condition. The inner musings that Elizabeth and Darcy experience throughout the book are extremely reflective, and in my opinion certainly resemble the inner turmoil they must have felt in Austen’s original work. There were times that the writing got a bit depressing (the first half of the book in particular), but I was pleased to see the events turn around enough to lift my spirits in the end.
Consequences may very well be one of the most unique variations on Pride and Prejudice that I’ve ever read. It’s difficult to write about why the book is unique without giving away what makes it so special. So instead of ruining it let’s just say – the beginning of Part II of the book will absolutely surprise, astound, and shock you.
It’s also refreshing to see Elizabeth and Darcy’s story written through a male author’s perspective. Prior to reading this, I’d only ever read one other male JAFF (Jane Austen Fan Fiction) author’s work by Jack Caldwell. I think that in most retellings/variations/what-ifs I’ve read, the majority of the blame for the multiple misunderstandings between Elizabeth and Darcy is placed on Darcy. And while I agree that he is at fault for his haughty behavior, I also know Elizabeth is just as responsible for misjudging him. Odom writes the inner thoughts of Darcy and Elizabeth very self-reflectively. They both realize the errors of their previous actions and take pains to make amends. Moving, deep, and thought-provoking, Consequences is a unique reading experience you’re really going to want to go on and on.
5 out of 5 Stars
Consequences: A Cautionary Pride and Prejudice Variation, by C. P. Odom
Meryton Press (2013)
Trade paperback (284) pages
Cover image courtesy of Meryton Press © 2013; text Kimberly Denny-Ryder © 2014, Austenprose.com