Rating: **** – 4 Stars
GENRE: Regency Romance
BOOK SUMMARY: There’s only one fact that notorious rake Lord Charles Carlisle and his cousin, Fitzwilliam Darcy, can agree upon: a house party given by the Marquess of Bentham is bound to be intolerably dull. To relieve his boredom, Lord Charles accepts a bet that he can seduce his sister’s pretty friend during their stay at Bentham Park. After all, it’s easy money for an experienced seducer. Why should he care if his staid cousin Darcy disapproves?
But when Darcy discovers that Lord Charles’ new target is none other than Elizabeth Bennet, the woman who refused Darcy’s offer of marriage, he cannot stand by and watch as the woman he still loves is callously ruined. What he doesn’t know is that Lord Charles has a dark secret, and that his attentions to Elizabeth may not be what they seem. After a midnight rescue, clandestine meetings, a long-lost son, conspiracies, blackmail, and an attempted elopement, everyone can agree that this house party is anything but dull.
REVIEWER COMMENTS: Another “What if?” of Pride and Prejudice, starting when Elisabeth Bennet leaves Kent after Darcy’s proposal. She stays at the grandiose Bentham Park with an old friend, Eleanor, who is part of the “ton” and is thrown into her life’s drama. Elisabeth and Darcy meet by chance, as he is visiting a friend nearby and happens to be connected with the family at Bentham Park himself. The progressing of their relationship, therefore, takes a different turn from the original story. The romance component is strong and Reynolds is very descriptive of the inner feelings and struggles of them both. Darcy is more expressive of his feelings for Elisabeth and so is she. We find our heroes often passionately kissing and exchanging physical affections before there is an understanding between them. While I find this uncharacteristic of the way Austen would portray it, it is often the case in these types of fan fictions and I don’t mind it as long as it doesn’t cross certain boundaries. And this book doesn’t. The romance is sweet and believable, paced masterfully, and I cannot tire of reading Reynolds’ accounts of how my Darcy and Elisabeth came to be together.
SEXUAL CONTENT: A few passionate kisses and some sexual references
ADULT LANGUAGE: None
*Conclusion: This was a page turner for me until about the last few chapters, when the focus switched from our two protagonists to other minor characters. However, I had no trouble finishing it and enjoying it throughout. A 4 star winner for me!