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Summary

After the untimely death of their parents, Elizabeth Bennet and her sisters are left to make their own way in the world, and the dubious decision to stay at Longbourn until they are forced out leads to chaos and confrontation two years later, when their cousin Mr. Collins comes to claim his inheritance. 

Hot on his heels is his noble patroness, Lady Catherine de Bourgh, a woman consumed by grief of her own after the loss of her husband and daughter in a terrible fire at her estate, Rosings Park. While her nephew Mr. Darcy is shocked by his aunt’s interest in the five orphaned girls, her niece Georgiana thinks it just the thing to soothe the dowager’s low spirits. Moved by the bonds of sorrow and a shared contempt of Mr. Collins, Lady Catherine offers the Bennet sisters her protection and assistance in society - and what better way to help them than to find them all rich husbands? 

Much to her chagrin, Lady Catherine is not the only one to meddle in Meryton’s marriage mart - Richard Fitzwilliam joins her, at leisure to make mischief, Charlotte Lucas, now an heiress in her own right, has a secret of her own, and Georgiana Darcy finds herself inspired to write a novel that will document - and change - the lives of her new friends.Tensions rise between Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy as they both bristle at Lady Catherine’s plans - for very different reasons. Misapprehension and misunderstandings abound, and plans go awry, as the great lady rents Netherfield Park and hosts a horde of single gentlemen in possession of good fortunes, who must be in want of wives. Will the Bennet sisters find love and happiness? What other Austen heroes and rakes might appear in the once dull village of Meryton? Will Darcy and Lizzy overcome the obstacles of their own making?

©2021 Jayne Bamber (P)2021 Jayne Bamber

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A Bridge Too Far

Lady Katherine De Bourgh becoming fairy godmother to the orphaned Bennet sisters is just too much. There's just too much happily ever after for my taste.

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  • MHTex
  • 30-01-22

Somehow the mashup of all mashups comes out like fine cuisine

This doesn’t follow canon to the letter, and yet it does give us the characters we love (and hate) and barely changes them. The circumstances that change the story arc and some of the characters are doozies. Shocking and sad. For Lady Catherine it has made her kinder and more generous, and greatly missing a daughter to dote on. So why not five ‘orphans?’ And who are our orphans? Tragically,it’s the Bennet sisters, who have take care of themselves and Longbourn for two years while waiting for the heir to show up. Lady Catherine gets involved when Collins gets his outrage coat on and informs Lady C that he’s leaving to kick out the criminals who have robbed him of two years of his inheritance.

Watch out, here she comes in all of her magnificent glory. Whee! What follows is just what I expect of Jayne Bamber’s gift at work. Just fasten your seatbelts and enjoy the scenic, bumpy, scary, heart-in-your-throat ride. The climax is a WOW! The wind-down is heartwarming.

Definitely recommend, definitely a re-listen.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Marie
  • 22-12-21

Magnificent!

Audiobook review:
This truly is the best Austen mashup I’ve read. Stevie Zimmerman truly is the best; in this case, having to distinguish her voice narration among so many characters. Truly outstanding. At the end of the year now, this book in in my 2021 top ten Pride and Prejudice variations.

My Goodreads book review, April 11, 2021:
A brilliant Pride and Prejudice variation that intertwines various Austen works and the characters that made them shine. This book sparkles with the delight in identifying the pieces and portrayals of all those stories coming together in one gleaming tale. I absolutely loved it! This isn’t a new concept, with many fan fiction writers mixing characters from different Austen books into their stories, but for me, this is the best one I’ve read that does so.

The story begins with Bingley and Darcy touring Netherfield in search of an estate for Bingley to let. Mr. Morris, the solicitor, relates how the former owners perished in a tragic fire during an assembly in Meryton, where many families also lost loved ones, including the Bennet and Lucas families. Bingley never does lease Netherfield, but other circumstances eventually bring Darcy back to Netherfield.

Lady Catherine has also faced a great loss. Sir Lewis and Anne have also perished in a fire at Rosings while Lady Catherine was traveling with the Darcys to Ramsgate. Now Sir Lewis’ nephew has inherited Rosings and she must leave. With Mr. Bennet’s death, Mr. Collins has inherited Longbourn. Lady Catherine doesn’t like his attitude towards his cousins and upon meeting them, and sympathetic to their plight, decides to make the five sisters her wards and moves them all to Netherfield. She decides to throw a house party and invites friends and acquaintances, some of whom are single men. Let the matchmaking begin! I loved this Lady Catherine. She is generous, kind and wise, lovingly guiding the sisters through their grief and new relationships.

Now we begin to meet the characters from other Austen novels, as they make the acquaintance of those from Pride and Prejudice. The author expertly does this, and skillfully attributes some P&P quotes to other Austen characters. Such a clever girl! Her matches are perfect, and I especially loved Charlotte and Jane’s stories. I needed a tissue more than once. Georgiana, Darcy and Colonel Fitzwilliam are also at Netherfield. Georgiana, caught up in reading novels, decides to write one of her own, and in the process, unwittingly uncovers a mystery that will effect the lives of her new friends—will her book become truth stranger than fiction?

I was enthralled from the beginning to the end of this book. The engaging plot and dialogue, which seamlessly flows throughout, will keep you turning the pages. The things we like/love and/or hate about the other Austen characters from her beloved novels are well blended into a magnificent new story.

This book definitely goes into my Best JAFF of 2021 stack to date. It will also go into my re-read stack, and I will also look forward to an audiobook. I highly recommend this fabulous read. Well done!

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  • Christine
  • 12-04-22

Too many characters to make you feel good

This book included all or at lease 80% of all books written by Jane Austen. There wasn't much time to enjoy E&D. Story line okay. Let me not very satisfied with ODC. I was disappointed. If you know this upfront you might love the story but when the title is a P&P variation you expect the main characters to be spent on ODC. You git to see Lizzy with Frank Churchill and never really understood Darcy's feeling on this.

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  • Kje17
  • 11-04-22

Would make a good mini series.

Kept me engaged in the story. I always hoped there would be cross overs from other Austen novels. Would make a great Austen fan mini series.

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  • RAY LYDENS
  • 12-03-22

A very different take

I’d say that just for the heck of it if you’re a P&P fan you definitely should read this one just for the interesting take on the characters involved. I won’t give anything away, but I’ve read tons of these variations and this one has a cast of characters that you won’t expect. Also, the ending is extremely unique.

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  • Ruth
  • 29-01-22

Well done!

I really love this version. It brought in characters from other Jane Austen books, which was a great surprise.

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  • Fabulous Mrs B
  • 25-01-22

Loved it.

Especially Lady Catherine. She was the best one ever. And all the different characters from Austen’s other books added to the story. Great intrigue and some angst. Just great. Great Jaff

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  • Pamela K
  • 15-01-22

Definitely a must read variation!

This had many surprises throughout the story. I was amazed at how the author included many characters from other Jane Austen novels.

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  • momof4
  • 12-01-22

Wonderful

This is one I will listen to again and again. It was narrated by a true actress.

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  • Kelly
  • 31-12-21

Top Tier Variation!

I am an avid Pride and Prejudice variation reader and this immediately went to the top of the list of favorites.

I love how in all of Ms. Bamber's books she makes liberal use of not just the cast of characters in Pride and Prejudice but in all of the Austen novels. It's such a treat to pick out all of the references to this different stories and revisit with some of the less mentioned characters.

The story here is so elegantly put together and that's all I shall say if it because it was such a delight that I would hate to spoil it for anyone. I will only say that I am rather ashamed that I didn't see the big twist coming, but of course that made it all the more fun!

Essentially the entire story takes place in Hertfordshire, and is refreshing in that the villain in this story is not one of the "big three" of Pride and Prejudice variation villains (Lady Catherine, Miss Bingley, or Wickham)

Other fun features here are a large house party, plenty of Austenesque witty banter, and one scene that quite literally had me weeping bittersweet tears right along with one of our favorite characters.

I can't recommend this or any other works by the author enough!

And of course Ms. Zimmerman knocks it out of the park as usual, another spectacular performance!