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Bluebells in the Mourning by KaraLynne Mackrory

This re-imagining of Pride and Prejudice begins with a somber carriage ride. Mr. Darcy set out for the Hunsford parsonage with the intention of asking Elizabeth Bennet for her hand, but instead finds her in great distress. She has received word that her sister Lydia suffered a fall and then passed away. What is a gentleman to do but offer himself as an escort home?

This struck me from the beginning as a very interesting and original twist. For one, the Bennet family is in mourning, which means Darcy must delay his planned proposal for months. It also gives the story a mystery. How, exactly, did Lydia come to fall and did Wickham have anything to do with it? As the first chapter for a story, this caught me very quickly.

There was never a dull moment in this book from beginning to end. The author did a marvelous job in capturing the Bennets' grief; her interpretation of the characters was just about perfect, in my opinion. I loved the interactions between Mr. and Mrs. Bennet in particular. The story was not all sad; there were several moments of laugh-out-loud humor and the romance was enough to make anyone sigh.

For Elizabeth, there was no sudden revelation that Darcy was not the conceited bore she thought he was and for Darcy, there were no angry recriminations that led to a change in attitude. In Bluebells, things developed very slowly. Little things picked away at Elizabeth's opinion and Darcy's beliefs. I loved watching their gradual but significant character growth.

The only flaws I detected were a handful of anachronistic phrases. Other than that, I have nothing but good things to say about Bluebells in the Mourning. It was sad and sweet and memorable. I would highly recommend it.




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