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Teaching Eliza by Riana Everly

Source: the author
Ebook, 352 pgs.
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Teaching Eliza by Riana Everly is clever and fun, just as George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion, aka My Fair Lady the movie, but also witty and romantic like Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice. Everly strikes a perfect balance between the two works and creates her own story for Mr. Darcy and Miss Elizabeth Bennet that not only defies convention and societal norms of the time, but also demonstrates how aristocrats and their peers can achieve the ends they seek with a little scheming.

Her Darcy is a bit more Shaw than Austen, but it is what we need in this tale to believe what transpires between Lizzy and himself. When Elizabeth and Professor Darcy meet it is after Charles Bingley has already decided on who his bride will be. He must merely ask her, and in this, Bingley is a stronger character than in Austen. I applaud Everly for giving us a stronger Bingley, even if he is still pleasant and easy-going in most things.

Once the tutoring of Miss Bennet begins and the scheme is agreed to, there is little room for turning back, and Elizabeth laments about her decision to enter into this scheme: “Oh, I find myself dreading a headache which will last six months.” But despite her misgivings, she finds that she enjoys the challenge of transforming her speech and manner as much as Professor Darcy. But like all great creations, they often disagree with their creators, and this makes for entertaining sparring between the two.

Everly clearly knows both of these classics well, and it shows, and while readers will need to be a little flexible in their notion of Regency behavior and expectations, it is well worth the effort to do so. The challenge lies in how Lizzy will overcome her dislike of Darcy when he selfishly pats himself on the back and whether she will see his more endearing nature beneath the cold facade he uses in London. Readers will love her determination and her ability to forgive, and they will certainly challenge this Darcy’s character as Lizzy does.

Teaching Eliza by Riana Everly is a variation I did not want to put down. I was delighted by every twist that brought Darcy and Elizabeth together and enjoyed the entertaining paths they took when they were parted. Darcy has more to learn in this variation but Lizzy also has to make some hard choices that could affect the rest of her life.

RATING: Cinquain

About the Author:

Riana Everly was born in South Africa, but has called Canada home since she was eight years old. She has a Master’s degree in Medieval Studies and is trained as a classical musician, specialising in Baroque and early Classical music. She first encountered Jane Austen when her father handed her a copy of Emma at age 11, and has never looked back.

Riana now lives in Toronto with her family. When she is not writing, she can often be found playing string quartets with friends, biking around the beautiful province of Ontario with her husband, trying to improve her photography, thinking about what to make for dinner, and, of course, reading! Visit her website and on Facebook.

  • Dung

    Love the premise. I’m looking forward to reading it.

    • Serena Agusto-Cox

      It is really well done.

  • Anna (Diary of an Eccentric)

    So glad to see you loved it. I’ll be reading it soon and can’t wait! Great review!

    • Serena Agusto-Cox

      I can’t wait to see what you think.

  • Serena Agusto-Cox

    I really loved this one.

    • Riana Everly

      Thank you so much! I had so much fun researching and writing it, and I’m delighted that people are enjoying reading it. <3

  • Mystica

    If he is not overshadowed so much by Darcy, would make for a change.

    • Riana Everly

      This is what I was wondering when I wrote him. If he had been at Netherfield alone for a few weeks, without Darcy looking down his handsome nose, he might act differently than in P&P. I hope you like the man I’ve turned him into.

  • Vesper Meikle

    I like the idea of a stronger Bingley

    • Riana Everly

      The Bingley of canon always bothers me a bit… I wondered what sort of man he would be if he could act on his own, outside the influence of his sisters and Darcy.