From the desk of Sophia Rose:
What if Lady Catherine never makes her infamous visit at Longbourn? What if Mr. Darcy never returns to the neighborhood? Can Jane Austen’s most iconic pair still discover a way to ‘only remember the past’ with pleasure together? It might take a bit of yuletide mischief and interference orchestrated by a talented writer, Heather Moll, whose tales I have enjoyed in the past.
A Hopeful Holiday opens with Elizabeth Bennet looking forward to the holiday season with a tired, dreary spirit. Her family has noticed and happily encourage her to accept Charlotte Collins’ invitation to visit Hunsford. Elizabeth accepts and is full of regrets over the outcome of her last visit and the heated speech she delivered to Mr. Darcy having no idea at the time that her feelings would be quite the opposite a half year later. If only he had come with his friend back into Hertfordshire so she could make him see that her feelings were all for him.
Fitzwilliam Darcy endures quiet misery that he must be forever parted from the one woman he could ever love. He is convinced that she could never look on him the way she had last summer at Pemberley after her sister ran off with Wickham and it was Darcy’s attempt to protect his family pride that prevented word to get out what a scoundrel was in their midst. And, if his aching heart were not enough, now he has drawn the short straw with his cousin the colonel to represent the family at Rosings for Christmas and Lady Catherine’s annual masquerade ball this year. Wouldn’t it be a lovely dream to discover that the Collinses had a special guest like the last time he visited his aunt?
A Hopeful Holiday is a Pride and Prejudice variation that picks up at a place late in the original story. With such a set up, it is most definitely written for those who are already familiar with the story. The setting is festive with each dwelling decorated so lovely and several scenes of jolly making including a game of Snapdragon, snowball fights, Christmas meals, and a lavish masquerade ball.
There is a feeling of second chances because Darcy and Elizabeth are meeting after the close of major events and in a new place during a time of reflection and renewal. I enjoyed this and appreciated that it fit well with the well-developed shorter story and faster-pace of the already existing romantic feelings.
I appreciated that it wasn’t all clear sailing, however. There are their own hesitating feelings about speaking up for fear the other person doesn’t feel the same, but yes, Lady C must have her say and doesn’t even realize that she is de trop. A new character arrives, Sir Hugh de Bourgh, Lady C’s nephew on her husband’s side, and he is definitely not a fan of Darcy’s. He has his own agenda for the Christmas holidays that include scotching Darcy and Elizabeth’s chances and promoting himself with his aunt.
All in all, A Hopeful Holiday was a light, entertaining, holiday romance pleaser that caught the spirit of the season and the magic of a second chance romance. Sweet holiday historical Austen fans settle in and click this one onto your reader.
4 out of 5 Stars
- A Hopeful Holiday: A Pride and Prejudice Novella, by Heather Moll
- Excessively Diverted Press (November 1, 2021)
- eBook (116) pages
- ASIN: B09H534MRN
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 Excessively Diverted Press © 2021; text Sophia Rose © 2021, Austenprose.com