From the desk of Katie Jackson:
“O what a tangled web we weave, when first we practise to deceive!” said Sir Walter Scott, and such were the words that ran through my mind when I found myself entwined in the uniquely amusing events of A Longbourn Entanglement by prolific Austenesque author Monica Fairview.
On the day after the Netherfield ball, Fitzwilliam Darcy is tormented by thoughts of his charming dance partner, Miss Elizabeth Bennet. “He had known with absolute certainty that if he stayed a day longer, he would find it impossible to leave. And leave he must, because duty and position and the weight of centuries of tradition dictated that he could not even consider her a suitable candidate for marriage.” (23) Furthermore, his friend Bingley is on his own path to a potentially unsuitable attachment with Miss Elizabeth’s sister Jane. Darcy resolves to save them both from the delightful danger the two beguiling country misses represent by insisting he and Bingley depart for town immediately. “His friend’s unhappiness mirrored his own. They would have to weather the storm together – they would have to stay strong against the temptation to give in to their feelings.” (89)
Meanwhile, at Longbourn, Elizabeth is miserably ensnared in the parlor with her father’s heir and cousin, Mr. Collins, who is in the throes of a passionate proposal when circumstances turn chaotic. As he flees Longbourn on an urgent mission, he crosses paths with Darcy and Bingley and divulges the dire situation. Darcy perceives a dilemma of either saving himself or being Elizabeth’s hero. With his emotions vacillating between feeling foolish and unaccountably joyful, he concludes that “ultimately, he had no choice. It was, quite simply, the only honorable thing to do.” (147) He remains at Netherfield, determined to assist her and equally determined to protect himself from her influence.
But not everything is as it seems in the Bennet household. “That was how these things began, with a single precarious moment when the distinction between truth and deceit was hanging in the balance.” (1197) The tangled web only grows more elaborate as Elizabeth and Darcy grapple with the consequences of pride and ploys. What will they do when deception threatens to unravel their fragile connection?
Although the synopsis sounds quite serious, I assure you, dear readers, that this story is full of ample amusement. What a storytelling skill, to be capable of mixing some heartbreaking angst in the midst of some humorous antics! Unfortunately, I cannot include any of my most favorite quotes in this review for fear of spoiling the diverting larks in this short and sweet story. Suffice it to say that I laughed out loud more than once at the witty turns of phrase on display in this comedy of errors that is also somehow a somber tale and a beautiful love story all in one.
Austen enthusiasts will be delighted by the engaging and entertaining mischief, as well as the heartfelt declarations, in A Longbourn Entanglement.
5 out of 5 Stars
- A Longbourn Entanglement: A Comic Pride and Prejudice Variation, by Monica Fairview
- White Soup Press (September 27, 2021)
- eBook (151) pages
- ASIN: B09GNYQRTS
We received one review copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Austenprose.com is an Amazon.com affiliate. We receive a modest remuneration when readers use our links and make a purchase.
Cover image courtesy of White Soup Press © 2021; text Katie Jackson © 2021, Austenprose.com