Mr. Bennet’s Dutiful Daughter by Joana Starnes re-imagines Pride & Prejudice in a way that places the Bennet family not in imagined, future peril but in imminent financial peril when Mr. Bennet is suddenly struck down by illness and unmoving. Elizabeth is struck by the news, as her father is her dearest connection besides Jane. However, as the circumstances of his illness are made known to Mr. Darcy without her knowledge, Elizabeth must weigh not only her father’s illness and recovery but also her own ability to save her family from being thrown out by Mr. Collins should the worst happen.
“It had been rather satisfying to see her cousin quailing before Mr. Darcy like the coward that he was. Without a doubt, Mr. Darcy’s protection was worth something.”
Knowing that she has little choice, given the absence of Mr. Bingley from Netherfield, Elizabeth dutifully accepts the offer and hopes that her father will recover. Elated as Darcy is, he has convinced himself wrongly about why she has accepted his hand — offered in the most unusual and less-than-flattering way. As Elizabeth contends with her father’s care and her mother’s nerves, she has little time to contemplate the future, until it is too late.
“But you must be patient with predictable lapses. For five years I have had to consult no will but my own.”
“The trouble without has very little power when there is peace and joy within.”
Starnes’ story is unique in that Elizabeth is forced into a marriage out of duty — a role reversal of sorts — and although she is grateful for his protection, she sees Darcy as a virtual unknown once she begins to get glimpses of his private nature. He becomes not stern and proud, but mercurial — guarded one moment and open the next. As she begins to get to know his true nature, her sense of duty to her family fades away, but when trouble rises again, can she convince Darcy that her heart is true to only him and their life together?
Mr. Bennet’s Dutiful Daughter by Joana Starnes is a roller coaster ride of emotion, and when Darcy and Elizabeth try your patience, you’ll still be cheering them on. You want their happily ever after more than ever with all the obstacles and trauma they have endured.
About the Author:
Joana Starnes lives in the south of England with her family. A medical graduate, in more recent years she has developed an unrelated but enduring fascination with Georgian Britain in general and the works of Jane Austen in particular, as well as with the remarkable and flamboyant set of people who have given the Regency Period its charm and sparkle.