Updated: Sep 24, 2019
Review by Christina Boyd
I have been a long time fan of Joana Starnes’s Austenesque novels, and it seems only fitting The Quill Ink’s first blog tour to participate in is for her recent release, The Journey Home to Pemberley.
In a field of many ardent and talented Jane Austen-inspired authors, we are blessed to be living in such days as these when self-publishing makes it easier for talented writers to find their niche. Starnes has long established her place at the top of several “Favorites” lists with bestsellers like Mr Bennet’s Dutiful Daughter, The Unthinkable Triangle, and Miss Darcy’s Companion. The Journey Home to Pemberley, her latest Pride & Prejudice reimagining, begs the question: How can Elizabeth Bennet find solace after she gives up the only man she will ever love?
In The Journey Home to Pemberley, that holiday to the Lake District with her aunt and uncle Gardiner takes place (remember in canon Mr Gardiner’s business would not allow an extended trip and so they had to content themselves with the celebrated beauties of Derbyshire) and, as Fate would have it, Elizabeth meets with Mr Darcy again. He was thrown from his horse and, when found, he was brought to the same inn where Elizabeth and her relatives have accommodations. While he convalesces, they reconcile their misunderstanding after that unfortunate proposal scene at Hunsford months before when she had strenuously refused him...and now love blooms. Can we dare to hope for a happily-ever-after so soon? Certainly not, as this is only the beginning of their journey. And as Pride & Prejudice-like circumstances arise, Elizabeth selflessly, even foolishly, alters their course:
“She could not inflict that curse upon him—have him bear that shame for as long as Lydia lived—for the rest of their natural lives, rather, for such an enormity would not be forgotten. Nor could she live with him day after day and witness the result. See the opprobrium eating away at him. See the love fading from his eyes. Between the surgeon’s knife and the gangrene’s slow poison, the choice was clear: she would take the knife every time. For his sake as much as hers. Cruel to be kind.”
Months after this folly, she learns what we knew all along: she erred in thinking her sacrifice had protected Darcy, creating only misery of the acutest kind. “Foolish, headstrong and misguided girl! Should you not have known better than to brave this alone?”
Oh Darcy, I couldn’t agree more!
But is Fate unkind throwing Darcy and Elizabeth together time and time again in this soul searching journey from the wilds of the North to Dorsetshire (and beyond) then full circle back to Pemberley? Of course not! We love that kind of push and pull as the tension builds, leaving us nearly breathless in anticipation for this hard won happily-ever-after:
“Her heart overflowing, Elizabeth ran her thumb in a gentle caress over the bold penmanship that was by now as familiar as her own. Just three words—but sometimes three words were enough. He had not gone as far as to plainly write ‘I love you’ lest the note be read by anyone but she. Yet it was all there—the love, the joy, the promise—in other words: ‘Not a dream.’”
(#swoon) Prose like that keep me coming back for more great Austenesque novels! This is author Joana Starnes at her best. For lovers of Darcy and Elizabeth, The Journey Home to Pemberley is a MUST READ. (Heat Index: rated Moderate for sexual references but not explicit)
Check out the Trailer. Lovely, isn’t it? Truly captures the spirit of the novel and makes me want to pack my bags for the Lake District now!
Don’t forget about the generous International giveaway that includes eight kindle copies, one paperback, and a fabulous bag of Pride & Prejudice and Jane Austen goodies. International raffle runs till 5 October. Good luck! Enter here.
About the author:
Joana lives in the south of England with her family. Over the years, she has swapped several hats—physician, lecturer, clinical data analyst—but feels most comfortable in a bonnet. She has been living in Georgian England for decades in her imagination and plans to continue in that vein till she lays hands on a time machine.
She is the author of eight Austen-inspired novels (From This Day Forward ~ The Darcys of Pemberley; The Subsequent Proposal; The Second Chance; The Falmouth Connection; The Unthinkable Triangle; Miss Darcy’s Companion; Mr Bennet’s Dutiful Daughter, and The Darcy Legacy) and one of the contributors to the Quill Ink anthologies (The Darcy Monologues, Dangerous to Know, Rational Creatures, and Yuletide). They are all available at Amazon in Kindle and paperback, and some in Audible too: Joana’s Amazon Page.
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