From the desk of Sophia Rose:
In the fifth entry in the sparkling Skirmish and Scandal series of standalone novellas written by multiple Meryton Press authors, Kelly Miller offers A Consuming Love. Inspired by Pride and Prejudice, Miller’s creativity shines once again when she alters what was the infamous first meeting in which the heroine Elizabeth Bennet is snubbed by the hero Mr. Darcy as not a tolerable enough temptation. In fact, Mr. Darcy finds Miss Elizabeth more than tolerable and a dazzling temptation. This new approach from the beginning launches the variation onto an alternate path when less pride and prejudice are on display, but misunderstandings and interference offer challenges on the road to love.
Fitzwilliam Darcy has agreed to accompany his friend, Charles Bingley, on a tour of a Hertfordshire estate that Charles is interested in leasing. When the steward is unavailable, a neighboring estate owner and his daughter are there to greet them, give them the tour, and respond to any questions. Charles is enthusiastic about the neighbors and the estate and Darcy even finds himself well pleased
to be in good company possessing charming country manners. The Bennets are not unaware of his wealth and status, but they are natural with him and Charles. In particular, Elizabeth is knowledgeable about the Netherfield estate and estate management in general. Darcy is strongly attracted to a woman for the first time ever, but is convinced that a lady with Elizabeth’s lower connections is not for him, so he goes back to London intending to stay away so he is not tempted by her.
However, a pleading visit from Caroline Bingley entreating Mr. Darcy to rescue her brother Charles and the family from ignominy, and a further plea from Georgiana to include her in helping with the situation, has him reluctantly rejoining Charles at Netherfield, but this time with Georgiana who has already surprised him with her mature observations. Darcy is supposed to be watching Charles and the eldest Miss Bennet to detect if she is wrong for him, and indeed, he is disturbed by the uncouth behavior of Mrs. Bennet and the younger Miss Bennets, but in truth, his focus is right back on Miss Elizabeth who he was unable to put out of his mind no matter how hard he tries. The longer he is in her presence, he wonders why he should resist.
A Consuming Love is a rather gently paced, low-angst tale that focuses on a change of heart and mind, first for Darcy, but Elizabeth as well. The story was fascinating the way it starts before the events of the original and finishes just after the Netherfield Ball. There were some iconic scenes like Elizabeth’s confrontation with Lady Catherine and with Miss Bingley—and oh yes, Darcy with the Bennet parents as well as the startling scene he experienced when he was private with Elizabeth. Those tart scenes balanced out the swoony romance that was not a given. Darcy had to prove he was the man for Elizabeth.
I listened to the audiobook of this novel narrated by Harry Frost. I have loved his work from the first time and appreciate the way he matches well with the characters. The entire story is from Fitzwilliam Darcy’s POV, so Harry Frost was a fab choice to tell his story.
All in all, this quick novella was a light, warmhearted pleasure that I enjoyed. I can recommend it to other Austenesque fans as well as sweet historical romance lovers as an appreciative audience.
4 out of 5 Stars
- A Consuming Love: A Pride & Prejudice Variation, (Skirmish and Scandal Series), by Kelly Miller, narrated by Harry Frost
- Meryton Press (11 February 2021)
- Trade paperback, eBook, & audiobook (130) pages
- ISBN: 978-1681310466
- Genre: Austenesque Fiction, Regency Romance
We received a review copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Austenprose is an Amazon affiliate. Cover image courtesy of Meryton Press © 2021; text Sophia Rose © 2021, austenprose.com.