by Victoria Kincaid
Formats available: Paperback, Electronic
Pub Date: 4.13.17| Pages: 193
REVIEWER: Sophia Rose
Electronic version provided by author for review. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own except as noted.
Elizabeth Bennet is relieved when the difficult Mr. Darcy leaves the area after the Netherfield Ball. But she soon runs afoul of Lord Henry, a Viscount who thinks to force her into marrying him by slandering her name and ruining her reputation. An outcast in Meryton, and even within her own family, Elizabeth has nobody to turn to and nowhere to go.
Darcy successfully resisted Elizabeth’s charms during his visit to Hertfordshire, but when he learns of her imminent ruin, he decides he must propose to save her from disaster. However, Elizabeth is reluctant to tarnish Darcy’s name by association…and the viscount still wants her…
Can Darcy save his honor while also marrying the woman he loves?
What would happen if the events of Pride & Prejudice went differently after Darcy and the Bingleys leave Netherfield followed by another dark event? Will Darcy lay aside his pride and think of his love instead? That is the question in Darcy’s Honor.
The story is a variation of P&P opening at the point of the Netherfield ball, but going down its own path from that point on when a new character, Viscount vies for Elizabeth’s attentions.
I enjoy variations on Austen’s classic tales, which the author does so well, so I was glad to get my hands on this one. I thought it would be about a rival for Darcy, but instead the theme of this one is a lady’s tarnished reputation. How does her family, her community, and others beyond that respond when a young lady who has heretofore shown herself to be exemplary in all ways is suddenly, inexplicably found alone in slight dishabille with a young man? And then instead of doing the understood thing of accepting his hand in marriage, says ‘no thanks, I don’t like you.’
Historically, we know the social custom of that time in regard to women was unequal: whether friends, family and society believe her tarnished or not, reputation is worth more than truth. A woman would be shunned and rejected on all sides though innocent while a man would simply be labeled a rake.
My modern female heart silently screamed at the injustice of it.
But, it was an occasion for the proud, disagreeable (according to Lizzy) Mr. Darcy to really shine. Which he did. He was so gallant. He puts down the gossip occurring amongst his own set in Town, rushes back to verbally and actively support Elizabeth’s version of events and he acts out of love and honor to offer marriage.
I did have a few niggles. One was in the beginning with the set up to the compromise scene. I understand there needed to be some sort of device to get Lizzy into a room alone with the Viscount, but it seemed odd for her to naively be led into the Lucas’ drawing room to see a painting that the Viscount stated reminded him of her. Charlotte Lucas is her best friend and her near neighbor. Surely Lizzy would have known the drawing room and known there was no such painting.
My next niggle was later on when Lizzy accused Darcy of pride and yet her rejection of his suit showed her pride was more at issue. She said her rejection was to protect him from her scarlet woman image. Her marriage to him would not destroy him (he explains this) and she insisted that she could not accept his name or his help, that she would find employment and lodgings somehow. Going it alone without a guardian, male parent or female chaperone was just as, if not more, damning to a reputation than accepting Darcy’s proposal and assistance. In fact, in those days, no decent person would hire a woman on her own with no reputation or referral letter . The same goes for lodgings, something Lizzy already learned after failing at this earlier in the story. Hair shirt, Lizzy? Not that I didn’t enjoy that entertaining grand finale scene near the end when it was her plan that bested the villain as a result of things playing out the way they did.
It was a light story, even if hitting a darker subject (men- and women- purposefully compromising and sullying a reputation to gain what they want).
I enjoyed it overall. Caroline’s attempt to catch Darcy left me laughing and Lady Catherine’s shocking actions were a delightful surprise.
There was a good balance of humor, drama, and the build to romance with a solid conflict. I can’t wait to see what the author produces next and would definitely recommend her novellas and books to those who enjoy variations on Pride & Prejudice.
AUTHOR & PUBLISHER: https://victoriakincaid.com/