A Fair Prospect: Disappointed Hopes by Cassandra Grafton
Volume I of Cassandra Grafton’s, A Fair Prospect: Disappointed Hopes begins at Hunsford with Mr. Darcy’s ill-worded proposal to Elizabeth Bennet. The setting has changed from the parlor to a picturesque copse of birch trees and amidst a deluge of rain, but the fate of the proposal remains the same. Although shocked, hurt, angry and disappointed, Mr. Darcy still behaves as the true gentleman we know him to be. Instead of leaving Elizabeth alone in the soaking rain, he insists on seeing her safely to the parsonage. Elizabeth’s stubbornness creates an unexpected intimate embrace with Mr. Darcy, an encounter neither will soon forget. It stirs feelings in Elizabeth that leave her confused and unsettled. For Mr. Darcy, it is a painful pleasure. Thus, the stage is set.---
Ms. Grafton does an amazing job with the characters created by Jane Austen. Not only does she keep them, in behavior and essence, true to the originals, she gives them added depth. When Elizabeth and Darcy misunderstand one another, we gain much discernment into their character by being privy to their innermost thoughts and feelings. Ms. Grafton delves with finesse and keen insight into the hearts of each and makes the characters come alive on the page. I felt Darcy’s agony, hopelessness and despair and Elizabeth’s troubled mind and shame of her poor judgment.
The relationship between Darcy and Colonel Fitzwilliam is much explored and is a joy to read. Colonel Fitzwilliam, one of my favorites, is determined to discover what is troubling his cousin. His endeavors are initially met with resistance but eventually bring him the knowledge he seeks. In the meantime, we are treated to the camaraderie and brotherly affection shared by these two gentlemen. I found myself pleasantly diverted.
Georgiana and Darcy communicate an attachment, borne by their circumstances, that is touching and heartwarming. Through a chance meeting in town, Elizabeth gets to witness the close relationship between Mr. Darcy and his sister. The tenderness and caring that he displays shows a new side of him and adds to the good opinion that Elizabeth is beginning to form of the man.
There are some likable new characters in this novel. Mr. Nicholas Harington, son of a wealthy family, is the godson to Mrs. Gardiner and an old family friend to Elizabeth and Jane. He is also considered a good match for Elizabeth, much to Mr. Darcy’s dismay. Mrs. Gardiner’s half-sister, Serena, is introduced but not met by the reader in Volume I. Her connection to the Harington’s is established and her history with the Bennet family is revealed. I liked these new additions and am anxious to learn more about them.
Through witty dialog and beautiful Regency language, this book is in the style of Jane Austen herself. I cannot recommend it highly enough. It ranks among the best of the Austenesque novels that I have read. I look forward, with much anticipation, to the continuation of this story in Volume II, A Fair Prospect: Darcy’s Dilemma.
5 out of 5 stars
PG rating for no explicit sex.
I was given a book by the author for a fair and honest review.
This is my sixth selection for the P&P Bicentenary Challenge of 2013.
All the Appearance of Goodness by Maria Grace
The Mysterious Death of Mr. Darcy by Regina Jeffers
Celebrating Pride and Prejudice: 200 Years of Jane Austen’s Darling Child by Hazel Jones and Maggie Lane
Watch for these book reviews as well as two movie reviews, one for the 1995 BBC miniseries of P&P and one for the 2005 movie, both of which I cheerfully re-watched for this challenge!