Darcy’s Voyage, A Tale of Uncharted Love on the Open Seas
Rating: 4 out of 5
One Sentence Summary:
Instead of meeting in Hertfordshire, Darcy and Lizzie meet two years prior in a shared carriage and then in a voyage to America, resulting in a life-changing event.
Of all the kinds of P&P books, I like variations best. Not to diss the original (heavens no) but retellings do get rather predictable. And in variations, the sky’s the limit for what you can do, which is a power not to be taken lightly.
That said, Darcy’s Voyage definitely veers away from the original. Here, Darcy and Elizabeth meet two years before they should have in the original story line. They share a carriage from London to Derbyshire and Hertfordshire (taxi system anyone?) and of course they wouldn’t be Darcy and Lizzy if they don’t misunderstand each other first with their pride and prejudice. All in all though, they part in good terms, having passed the hurdle of Darcy’s almost misanthropic shyness and Lizzy’s hurt vanity.
The catch? They don’t ask for each other’s names.
Fast forward to two years and they’ve relegated each other to the back of their minds and meet aboard the Pemberley’s Promise headed to America. They don’t even recognize each other at first… Segue though— is two years a long enough time to forget a face? I wonder if that happened to me and I carried a torch for the guy, would I forget what he looked like so easily? Would you?… Anyway, as at first, they carry on with their usual mistakes like Darcy disparaging Lizzy and all the women on board (“I have only seen meagerly tolerable women in this ship; certainly none handsome enough to tempt me in the least”) and Lizzy pre-judging Darcy based on that and, of course, his shyness mistaken as arrogance and pride.
They do of course, warm up to each other faster, without the Bennets, the Bingleys and Hursts, and (mostly) Wickham to get in between them. During the trip, Lizzy gets sick and she needs to be taken better care of. Darcy, who by this time has already unwittingly fallen for Lizzy (again), proposes a mad plan.
As in he literally proposes.
What ensues is a lot of romance, a bit more misunderstandings, Lizzy leaving Darcy (whoops), and a reunion prior to their happily ever after. I have to say, my favourite part of the whole story was their meeting again in Netherfield (whoops number two). They obviously have feelings for each other, though unsure of the other’s reception. And it’s almost hilarious how Lizzy would think that Darcy may have feelings for Caroline… Caroline Bingley. Most fulfilling is how Caroline tries to disgrace and discredit Lizzy to Darcy and all that time, they’re already in love with each other and still married!
What I Loved:
- The tension of will they-won’t they meet again is exquisite. I mean, of course they will, but that didn’t stop me from wanting it to happen sooner. And the moment that they did? I felt like jumping up and down and wondering if the characters are seeing the same things I am.
What I Didn’t Love:
- My one complaint in the story is how Lizzy reacts to Lady Catherine’s visit. She holds her own good enough until she leaves, but then collapses and cries in Darcy’s arm when he returns. Given, she’s never experienced Lady Catherine’s particular brand of “condescension” since she’s never been to Rosings. And she’s only heard of Lady Catherine’s “munificence” through Mr. Collins (though she sees through it easily). But is it just me or should Lizzy have had stood stronger than that?
All in All:
I was really satisfied with this book. It was definitely unique and interesting without deviating too much and careening off a cliff. And of course it was just as romantic and as much a comedy of errors as the original P&P was. I couldn’t be happier that it was such a thick book.