His Uncle’s Favorite by Lory Lilian
This variation begins with Lizzy accompanying Jane, Mrs. Gardiner and her children on an extended visit to London for the Christmas holidays. Jane’s heart is troubled by the sudden and recent departure of Mr. Bingley from Herefordshire. Lizzy’s heart is leaning toward a preference for Mr. Wickham, her high opinion of him not shared by her aunt. Mrs. Gardiner is not so easily influenced by his charms as she sees Mr. Wickham’s eagerness to share, with strangers, the intimate details of his association with Mr. Darcy, as ungentlemanly behavior.
Mr. Gardiner, a well-respected businessman, highly successful and intelligent, tragically died two years earlier. Because of his good reputation and business skills, along with Mrs. Gardiner’s refined manners and exquisite taste, the couple had many influential acquaintances and some very close friends among the ton. They not only attended many parties with this illustrious society but gave well received parties in their impressive home as well.
Thus, as a return to a somewhat normal life for herself and a much needed diversion for both her nieces, Mrs. Gardiner promises them attendance to some parties and maybe a few small balls from people that she still considered close friends! The first such invitation comes from the Earl of Matlock and his married daughter, Lady Selina, who had been dear friends of the both the Gardiners. The Earl is now a widower and has two sons that are single. He has a favorite nephew and niece that will be in attendance as well. Expect some fireworks at this dinner when Darcy and Elizabeth reunite unexpectedly. The Earl is extremely fond of Lizzy and her quick wit and he admires Jane’s quiet nature. He thinks either would be fine wives for his two sons, much to Darcy’s surprise! As Mrs. Gardiner and the two eldest Bennet sisters are often the special guests of the Earl and/or his daughter, there are many opportunities for Darcy and Elizabeth to spend time in each other’s company...and isn’t that what we all desire?
I loved the Earl of Matlock. He is a wonderful character and is central to the story. The Colonel is his lovable self and his brother, the Viscount, is nice and honorable. I adored Lady Selina and Georgiana! Lady Brightmore, Lady Selina’s mother-in-law, is delightful!
The Queen of Mean, Caroline Bingley, has a rival for nastiness in Lady Sinclair. They eventually get their put downs quite nicely! There is still the story of Lydia and Wickham but with a twist this time. It is a very interesting turn of events and is resolved in a manner unlike any I have read before. Nicely done, Ms. Lilian!
There are sleigh rides, balls, parties, theater visits and hunting trips---lots of time for Darcy and Lizzy to have misunderstandings; then time for Darcy to accept his feelings for Lizzy and for her to eventually change hers for him! The relationship that develops between Darcy and Mr. Bennet is wonderful and very enjoyable to read!
Although I prefer a PnP story to have passionate but chaste romance, this story is for mature audiences as it does contain several scenes of explicit sex after Darcy and Lizzy wed. If that is your preference you will enjoy the hot, steamy scenes in this book.
Overall, I enjoyed this variation very much. Lory Lilian is a good story teller and kept her characters true to their personalities and created some new favorites! I liked the way she changed some of the scenes from the original by using different characters to enact them. This book will be a great addition for any fan of Pride and Prejudice and JAFF. I found it difficult to put down!
Rated M for mature audiences and explicit sex
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