From the desk of Katie Jackson:
It is a truth universally acknowledged that unbridled pride can result in unintended consequences. Much to the dismay of those who realize it too late, it often requires an event of heart-wrenching significance to stir them from their self-righteous stupor. But what sobering fates will befall them due to their untimely awakening? Prolific and bestselling Austenesque author Abigail Reynolds explores the uncertain destinies of two such prideful characters in her latest Pride and Prejudice variation, The Price of Pride.
Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy had returned home to Pemberley in Derbyshire a broken man following the stunning refusal of his marriage proposal to Miss Elizabeth Bennet at Hunsford parsonage in Kent. “The four months since then had not been enough to begin to erase the traces of her from his heart. Instead, losing her had only deepened his feelings for her, the woman he loved so passionately but could never have.” (33)
In an effort to prove himself to be a better person than the arrogant, unfeeling gentleman he had been, Darcy reaches out with an olive branch to his younger brother Andrew, who had been disowned by their father many years before under mysterious circumstances. Now a clergyman and active abolitionist, Drew warily accepts Darcy’s offer of the generous living at the parsonage in Kympton. Darcy “was determined to change, to become a better man, one who could be worthy of a woman like Elizabeth.” (52)
In a cruel twist of fate, Drew arrives at Pemberley bringing glad tidings of his own unexpected betrothal. Although envious of his brother’s happy news, Darcy wishes him well, wanting only to repair the estrangement that has plagued the brothers for far too long. And then … Drew unknowingly informs him that the bride-to-be is a lady formerly acquainted with Darcy. “It could not be. Drew, engaged to Elizabeth? How was such a thing possible. How had his brother even met Elizabeth? Why had she never mentioned him? But all the questions in the world could do nothing to calm the agonizing pain ripping through him.” (77)
Elizabeth, on a pleasurable summer tour with her Aunt and Uncle Gardiner, happened to meet the affable Andrew Darcy while visiting the rectory in Lambton, near Pemberley, where her aunt had grown up. Certain that he must be a poor, distant Darcy cousin, she remains politely indifferent to him, albeit somewhat curious about his unusual animosity toward his Darcy relations. Still, she keeps her distance. “Mr. Andrew Darcy might be a good match, but she had no intention of having any connection to the Darcy family. Just imagine if her Mr. Darcy came home to Pemberley and found her married to his cousin! She would rather have a ruined reputation. Almost.” (628)
When a nefarious villain seizes an opportunity to avenge his perceived mistreatment at the hands of the Darcy family, Elizabeth is a convenient pawn in his plot. Soon enough, she learns the shocking truth of Drew’s true identity. “How could this have happened? She was all but engaged to Mr. Darcy’s brother. Good God, what would he think?” (726)
And so, dear friends, the angst-train has left the station! As a Pride and Prejudice enthusiast, I adore every version of happily-ever-after for our dear couple that I can devour. It was with trepidation that I approached this story, knowing that they would be separated by a shocking chain of events involving a heretofore unknown brother. Oh, the crushing pain! Yet this was only the beginning of the distressful obstacle course, as their integrity battles with their undeniable obsession. The electric connection between Darcy and Elizabeth is as palpable as their unyielding sense of duty to the innocent man unwittingly standing between them. Abigail Reynolds masterfully weaves an uplifting love story for the ages through what might otherwise be a dreadfully disheartening tale. Admirers of our dear couple may be discouraged by the insurmountable odds, but take heart. “You should believe it. You knew all along what was meant to be.” (5357)
The Price of Pride beautifully illustrates the powerful devotion of a couple who will go to great lengths to protect each other, no matter the cost.
5 out of 5 Regency Stars
- The Price of Pride: A Pride & Prejudice Variation, by Abigail Reynolds
- White Soup Press (December 15, 2020)
- Trade paperback, eBook, & audiobook (352) pages
- ISBN: 978-1954417014
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Cover image courtesy of White Soup Press © 2020; text Katie Jackson © 2021, Austenprose.com