Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Darcy's Voyage, originally published as Pemberley's Promise in 2007, is a phenomenal Pride and Prejudice alternate path in which Mr. Darcy's and Elizabeth Bennet's first meeting is altered. Instead of meeting in the Meryton Assembly room, Darcy becomes acquainted with Elizabeth on a ship bound for America. Elizabeth is traveling to America to visit her Aunt and Uncle Gardiner who are in New York on business. Darcy's sole purpose for journeying to America is to accompany his sister Georgiana home from her visit with Mrs. Annesley's family. On a boat full of strangers Darcy is even more reserved and aloof than his natural wont. In addition, he criticizes his fellow female passengers as looking “meagerly tolerable” and deems them not “handsome enough to tempt” him. Elizabeth, on the other hand, while sleeping in the stifling and overcrowded steerage, enjoys befriending her fellow passengers and charitably spends her time tending to those who are unwell.
Even though Darcy claims to find no interest in the ladies on board, a vivacious young woman does catch his eye. This young woman, named Elizabeth Bennet, does not pay him undue flattery like all the other single women aboard the ship. This peculiarity and the fact that she enjoys early morning walks piques Darcy's interest in her. Elizabeth is bewildered by Mr. Darcy's attention and company, yet at the same time, finds her esteem and regard for him rising daily. As you can imagine, with no Caroline Bingley or George Wickham on board and with a lesser amount of pride and prejudice, Darcy and Elizabeth are able to fall in love without much impediment. However, because they misconstrue one another's feelings and harbor some insecurities they both hesitate in revealing their true feelings for one another...
This clever and unique version of Pride and Prejudice is one of the best Pride and Prejudice variations I have had the pleasure of reading. I read it three years ago as Pemberley Promise's and after rereading it again as Darcy's Voyage, it still remains one of my beloved favorites! I love the fact that my favorite characters are well-drawn and bear strong resemblance Jane Austen's originals. In addition, I take great pleasure in Ms. Louise's remarkable story-telling capabilities and attention to details. Her subtle nuances and nods to Pride and Prejudice are diverting to discover!
What really impressed me was how Ms. Louise entwined her story with Jane Austen's so harmoniously. Even though she took the plot of Pride and Prejudice off course, by having Darcy and Elizabeth meet on board a ship, Ms. Louise dexterously weaves in various events and conversations from Pride and Prejudice. It was interesting to see conversations such as Darcy's confession that his “good opinion once lost is lost forever” or Elizabeth's visit to Pemberley occur out of sequence yet fit in seamlessly. Moreover, I delighted in seeing how Ms. Louise rewrote Lydia running off with Wickham and Lady Catherine's visit to Elizabeth to correspond with her retelling. There are so many excellent scenes to choose from it is hard to find a favorite! I loved the tender romance between Darcy and Elizabeth, felt deep despair at their separation and uncertainty, and laughed out loud when Mr. Darcy and Colonel Fitzwilliam gave Lady Catherine her due!
If you are interested in reading a tale where the romance between Darcy and Elizabeth traverses an alternate course, Darcy's Voyage by Kara Louise is a novel you will not want to miss. While some may find parts of Darcy's Voyage a little extraordinary, “my mind was more agreeably engaged” on the beautiful, poignant, and wonderfully well-written love story between my two favorite characters of all time!
Note: I believe the only differences between Pemberley's Promise and Darcy's Voyage, besides the title, are grammatical. In addition, this is a very clean romance suitable for all ages.
This is my eighth completed item for the "Everything Austen Challenge II" hosted by Stephanie's Written Word.