From the desk of Kimberly Denny-Ryder:
What would you do if you realized your entire childhood was a farce? Of course, we occasionally hear of stories of children who are mistakenly switched at birth, or whose families raise them in oppressive cults or religions that distort their very realities. It would be quite a lot to take in once the truth was uncovered, and that is precisely the focal point of P.O. Dixon’s latest offering, Lady Elizabeth: Everything Will Change, the first of two works.
Over a decade ago, the Duke of Dunsmore experienced a great tragedy in his life: his only son and granddaughter died in a horrific carriage accident, with only his daughter-in-law and his grandson surviving. Wrecked with guilt, he is desperate to bring happiness back into his family’s life. While visiting Lambton he notices a young and pretty girl, kidnaps her and raises her as his own granddaughter. This girl, who is only four at the time, is raised without want for anything. She is known as Lady Elizabeth, and her life is quite carefree, that is until a Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy decides to upend it. He finds that Lady Elizabeth, whom he has known for her whole life, resembles the sisters of the Bennet family. They reside in an estate near Netherfield Park, where he is currently staying with his friend, Mr. Bingley. What will become of Darcy as he attempts to unravel this decades-old mystery? And what will become of the growing attachment he seems to have forged with the woman at the center of it all?
One of the best parts about this book was the unique material. I could have never dreamed up a plot that involved Elizabeth being kidnapped and raised under the guise of being the granddaughter of a duke for over a decade. It really highlights the inventiveness and intriguing nature of Dixon’s mind, and it was a great change from other Jane Austen fan fiction to which I am accustomed. I liked how Elizabeth’s witty and innate nature shone through despite discovering her real childhood origins, and the relationship that blossomed between her and Darcy was so romantic and fun to read. It really had all the hallmarks of first love, and it was great to see their love survive despite what Elizabeth is going through. I did have one point of improvement, however, and that has to do with the flow of the early parts of the work. I felt as if the first few chapters were isolated and disconnected from one another; the book did not seem to really gel until I got past this point. Afterward, it came together nicely, but it just took some time to get there, so take note readers. Overall, Dixon has provided us with another unique and fantastic take on our favorite two title characters. I’m eagerly awaiting the conclusion of this story in Book Two, So Far Away, coming soon.
4 out of 5 Stars
Lady Elizabeth: Everything Will Change Book One, by P.O. Dixon
Regents and Cotswold Book Group (2015)
Trade paperback and eBook (424) pages
Cover image courtesy of Regents and Cotswold Book Group © 2015; text Kimberly Denny-Ryder © 2015, Austenprose.com
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