Sophia Rose is here with a review of the Pride & Prejudices variation, An Excellent Walker by Lyndsay Constable. Grab a warm cuppa and enjoy her thoughts on this historical romantic fiction….
by Lyndsay Constable
Genres: Historical Romance
Purchase*: Amazon | Audible *affiliate
Is Mr Darcy capable of wanting to marry just for the sake of love?
AN UNEXPECTED MEETING between Mr Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet becomes suddenly and shockingly dangerous. Mr Darcy is determined to protect Elizabeth but his exertions leave him grievously wounded. Sheltering with him in a shepherd’s hut, Elizabeth tends to Darcy’s injuries while trying to suppress her concern about the impropriety of her circumstances, as well as the fever-induced proposal that results.
WHILE THEY SURVIVE the imminent threat, others at Rosings do not, altering the fates of their friends and relations. The connexion between them seems to have thus come to an end. Elizabeth’s emotions, enflamed by the forced intimacy in the shepherd’s hut, are aggravated when Darcy—now healing from his injuries—arrives to make good on his proposal. What woman wants an offer of marriage made in service to her reputation rather than to romantic love? Or was there love there all along?
An Excellent Walker is a Pride and Prejudice variation.
Sophia Rose’s Review
What if the French invaded the English coast of Kent right about the time Miss Bennet and Mr. Darcy were both out for a ramble in Rosings Park grounds? In a light alternate history Pride & Prejudice variation romance, Lyndsay Constable’s sophomore effort captivates early on and reads swiftly to a satisfying end.
While I think someone utterly unfamiliar with Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice can appreciate a sweet Regency era romance about a pair who misunderstood each other, had some outside interference, and struggled with the class differences against the setting of England during the Napoleonic War, I suspect there will be the sense of landing into the middle of a story. An Excellent Walker opens with the couple already having known each other for several months and have a history of circumstances that play into their current feelings about each other. There is also the backstory of the other characters at Rosings Park that aren’t as teased out as well. All that to say, readers somewhat familiar with the P&P storyline will get more out of the story, but newcomers can enjoy it, too.
An Excellent Walker begins when Elizabeth is out on an invigorating walk to a hilly vista and her thoughts are in a little turmoil as she ponders what she thinks she knows about the events of the last few months and the people she has encountered namely charming Mr. Wickham and the arrogant Mr. Darcy who seems to have a way of confusing her by not being only what she supposed. After seeing the estate from the hill, she is annoyed when she encounters Mr. Darcy out for a ride. A surprising appearance of French soldiers. Darcy is shot. They work to escape and the focus becomes safety, though not without the surprise of a drunken confession from a feverish Darcy.
An Excellent Walker is told entirely from Elizabeth’s point of view and has two halves when it comes to setting and pacing. The first half is the suspenseful events of a French invasion of the Rosings Park estate and the immediate aftermath. The second half becomes more thoughtful as Elizabeth must sort out complicated and confusing feelings about a drunk emotional proposal, a follow up and, frankly, disastrous proposal, and the actions of a man who is so much more than Wickham’s insinuations and her own faulty judgment imagined. Even though the second half was less action-oriented, it was just as exciting when it came to the romance and character development. It all read swiftly and easily, so there wasn’t lag, but there was strong story development.
All in all, it was satisfying and an interesting twist to the original classic. It’s a sweet romance with some sensual attraction in a forced proximity situation, but has the decorum of the period and personalities of the characters. It’s a sparkling fun read for Regency or Austen romance fans.
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