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Unequal Affections: A Pride and Prejudice Retelling
Author: Lara S. Ormiston
Genre: Historical Fiction
Okay, can I start this review by saying how much I love Unequal Affections? Is that even allowable in the book review world? Because if it isn’t, it should be. This book is fantastic. Which honestly really surprised me.
But let us start from the beginning.
Have you ever wondered what would have happened had Elizabeth accepted Mr. Darcy’s first marriage proposal in Pride and Prejudice? Yes, I mean the proposal where he insulted her, her family, and her station in life. What would their marriage have been like? Could she ever fall in love with him? Would he ever learn humility? How about Elizabeth’s biased prejudice? Would she ever recognize it in herself?
Well, we no longer need to wonder. Unequal Affections answers all of those questions and more.
Unequal Affections begins right after Lizzie turns Darcy down…wait, I mean it starts right after Lizzie doesn’t turn Darcy down. Instead, she tells him that she needs time to consider his proposal. From there, an entirely different ending unfolds for one of literature’s greatest romances.
Ormiston does a remarkable job keeping the characters true to their Jane Austen originals. Of course, the story’s start requires a brief suspension of disbelief since it begins with Lizzie doing something very un-Lizzie like–accepting Darcy. In fact, his proposal seems to leave her in a state of shock in the first chapter. But once that evaporates, Darcy and Lizzie are back in the elements. And the rest of the story and characters feel incredibly believable.
The writing flows smoothly, and the plotline kept me turning the pages. It felt wonderful to be back inside the world of Pride and Prejudice. Only instead of knowing what would happen, this story had new twists and turns to discover.
Ormiston excels in knowing where to stay true to Austen and where to stay true to herself. While Austen’s characters and values remain the same, the author jumps between different characters’ viewpoints much more freely in her writing. My one criticism is that even though Lizzie and Darcy are engaged, I feel that Regency manners would not so freely allow the displays of affection they share.
I mentioned at the outset that I was somewhat surprised by how much I like this book. That surprise sprung from the many, many Austen related books I have read. Few have even fallen in the category of somewhat good. These books’ characters are usually stiff facsimiles of the originals, who inhabit a shallow plotline and awkward prose. Meanwhile, Ormiston seems to understand Austen and her characters. She captures the spirit and the rhythm of which the story’s heart beats. She combines all of that and crafts something beautiful.
- Overall Rating 90% 90%
- Historically Researched 90% 90%
- Characters 85% 85%
- Plot 100% 100%
- Style 85% 85%
If you love Jane Austen or Pride and Prejudice, then you should read Unequal Affections.
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