To Refine Like Silver by Jeanna Ellsworth
This latest release by Jeanna Ellsworth, To Refine Like Silver, is in keeping with her other works. It has a good story, is thought provoking and well-written as well as entertaining. As to be expected by anyone familiar with her writing, Ms. Ellsworth does another fabulous job of incorporating metaphors in her story. I am always fascinated with her ability to bring in the metaphor and tie it together with her story so that the thread runs seamlessly throughout her book giving it depth of thought and meaning, as well as conveying a certain relationship or theme. This one is no exception as suggested by the title.
The novel begins with Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy meeting in Derbyshire thus sparing them the disastrous first impressions of pride and prejudice at the Meryton Assembly. The Gardiners have become land owners in Derbyshire having inherited an estate and are neighbors to Mr. Darcy. Elizabeth is there to help them as she has helped her father run his estate. This allows for the meeting of Darcy and Elizabeth on more equal ground and gets them off to a much better start with less misunderstood feelings.
Elizabeth is a very strong character with much insight. Darcy is the caring and loving brother that we know him to be. He is a good man and cares deeply for Elizabeth. The Gardiner’s are lovely characters and good to Elizabeth. Mr. Bennet is a better father and manager of his estate. Mrs. Bennet is not a nice lady but even the hardest hearts can be softened. Caroline Bingley does not have any redemptive qualities (and even stoops to a new low) but Mr. Wickham is allowed a few, surprisingly.
This book is the most different Pride & Prejudice retelling or variation that I have ever read. It is religious in tone without being ‘preachy’ and has much spiritual awakening and development by the main characters. Georgiana Darcy is in a very dark place, in depression and despair from her encounter with George Wickham at Ramsgate. She is having a difficult time coming to grips with the situation and living with it. Elizabeth recognizes that dark empty stare in Georgiana’s eyes remembering a time from her past when she had that same blank stare. Because of Elizabeth’s strength and courage, aided by the patience of her father and Jane, she was eventually able to dig herself out of the despair and to learn and grow spiritually. That enables her to help Georgiana where no one else has been able to in the past. Darcy sees the changes that are taking place and that makes his already strong feelings even stronger. There is also much spiritual progression for him too.
I enjoyed the relationship between Georgiana, Elizabeth and Darcy and their growth as individuals. As I already mentioned, this is a very different book, a very good book and one that gave me pause for thought and some soul searching. Jeanna Ellsworth did a brilliant job of bringing home the points that she wanted to make with her story without overpowering the reader. The subject is a serious one that deals with depression and healing and is done in a way that gives the story much meaning, wisdom and hope…hope being the key word. I am glad to have experienced this novel as I feel it is not one that is just read but is experienced with the characters. Thank you, Ms. Ellworth for another excellent book.
As a special treat to along with the review, Jeanna Ellsworth is offering a signed paperback, US only, to one lucky person who leaves a comment below. Please leave your email in the comment so I will be able to contact you, should you be the randomly selected winner. The giveaway will end at midnight January 18, 2015.