What I love most about this book is the research and language used to express the time period. Lathan’s diction is vastly superb – I had to look one or two words up. (Romance novels have all the credit when it comes to my 750 verbal SAT score from way back when.) The way she writes is very mellow, you’re not putting the book down feeling more anxious than when you started. This is an excellent novel to curl up with before drifting off to sleep. Who doesn’t love to dream of Mr. Darcy?
I am as much a fan of Pride and Prejudice as Lathan is, especially the 2005 movie rendition. I could not picture her version of Darcy and Elizabeth as Matthew and Keira after a few chapters, but I could see them in Jane’s original portrayal. Elizabeth is sometimes silly, seeming younger than she should, but I found it understandable if you remembered how young she actually was and the fact that Pemberley and its surroundings are all new to her. Her silliness does not reach at any point Lydia’s level of stupidity… more like Jane’s silliness when it came to Bingley during the hardships of their courtship. Little problems are solved quickly and easily if both Darcy and Lizzy open up to each other.
Darcy and Elizabeth are effusive in their declarations of love. I applaud Lathan for writing Darcy as a virgin hero. It’s hard to imagine him as experienced even with his deep passions, because he held himself apart from society and saw their superficial actions as crude and undignified (both in Austen’s novel I feel and expressly in Lathan’s continuation.) He seems like the man who would wait for the right woman. He is by no means asexual as you’ll find when you read this novel. They make love like bunnies, but the sex is never vulgar or overly detailed after their initial honeymoon weekend. In fact, the whole saga is about exploring Darcy and Elizabeth’s love for each other starting from the end of Austen’s telling.
What does marriage look like on the other side of ‘I do’ and happily ever after? Lathan unfolds their story slowly, taking her time, showing nights spent whispering secrets, days traumatizing Darcy’s valet, and Elizabeth’s struggles and successes in filing the role as Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy.
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