Unequal Affections: A Pride and Prejudice Retelling

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Press: Skyhorse Publishing (January 7, 2014)
Publication Date:2013-10
Author Name:Ormiston, Lara S.


When Elizabeth Bennet first knew Mr. 
Darcy, she despised him and was sure he felt the same.
Angered by his pride and reserve, influenced by the lies of the charming Mr.
Wickham, she never troubled herself to believe he was anything other than the worst of men—until, one day, he unexpectedly proposed.Mr.
Darcy’s passionate avowal of love causes Elizabeth to reevaluate everything she thought she knew about him.
What she knows is that he is rich, handsome, clever, and very much in love with her.
She, on the other hand, is poor, and can expect a future of increasing poverty if she does not marry.
The incentives for her to accept him are strong, but she is honest enough to tell him that she does not return his affections.
He says he can accept that—but will either of them ever be truly happy in a relationship of unequal affection?Diverging from Jane Austen’s classic novel Pride and Prejudice at the proposal in the Hunsford parsonage, this story explores the kind of man Darcy is, even before his “proper humbling,” and how such a man, so full of pride, so much in love, might have behaved had Elizabeth chosen to accept his original proposal.

About the Author

Lara S. 
Ormiston is a Christian, wife, mother, and writer, in that order.
She had a wonderful childhood as the daughter of missionaries in Indonesia and Zimbabwe, where she read Regency romances instead of watching TV.
She loves Jane Austen because of her wit and morality, and the nineteenth century because of its beautiful language and elegant and erudite conversations no one would ever have these days.
Lara lives in Round Rock, Texas, with her husband and three children.


Literature & Fiction,Women's Fiction,Sisters,Romance,Historical,Regency,Literary

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Comment List (Total:13)

  •     A beautiful variation with Elizabeth accepting Darcy's offer of marriage at Hunsford. Both D&E emotions and thoughts are described in depth and are a pleasure to follow.
  •     I have read 200+ JAFF books and ebooks. It is my weakness, and I hope to grow out of the need to apologize for my fixation one day. The last few I've read have been 3.5 stars at best, so I have kept my expectations low of late. I'm so happy to have finally read a real book (not an ebook or self-published), a hardback P&P fanfic for which I can give a positive review. I've been worried that I'd read so many of these variations that I'd lost the capacity to fully enjoy one as I had in the early days of the sub-genre. I'd begun to despair that I'd never have another satisfying reading experience like devouring Pamela Aiden's trilogy, or the first 2 or 3 Abigail Reynolds variation. The sub-genre just seems to have been plumbed to death. But Unequal Affections rewarded my search: high-quality writing, understanding of historical context, sensitivity to character continuity, and a high degree of devotion to the original story. This book delivered on all counts. Let me just praise the things I feel Ormiston did well.Language: No one can write just like Jane Austen.Anyone is welcome to try, of course, but IMHO, it should just be taken as a foregone conclusion that trying to copy her is about as futile as trying to BE her. Her prose was so layered, so intricately woven, so painstakingly crafted, even good imitations fall short. Many try and fail miserably. A few create the lightness of tone and delicate wit and produce flattering facsimiles. Mrs. Ormiston goes one step further and actually gives the reader a fresh echo of Austen, without copying or aping her source material. Of course, there were moments that didn't ring pure and true, but they were few and far between for this genre of amateur imitators. Ormiston's voice feels natural, not forced or parroting.Characters: This book doesn't add invented characters, so we read about only people we know, and know well, from the canon. E&D are presented mostly true to the original story. The occasional comment or plot development comes along where one might think, "S/he would never have said that!" But for the most part, our dear couple stay true to the character traits given them by their creator. The moral behavior, social conventions, class biases, and adherence to the teachings of the Church of England which they demonstrated in the original story are intact here. This is no bodice ripper - breasts don't heave and bulging manhood is nowhere on display. There is a mounting attraction, but it is explained and illustrated in a manner that is consistent with the values and sensibilities of early 19th century literature.Plot: This is a P&P variation, a "what-if" story where one choice or action is changed, leading to a cascading effect of changes. What I like about this variation (Elizabeth decides not to immediately refuse Darcy's proposal, but elects to hold her tongue and asks for time to consider his offer) is how the characters change in that same gradual, resistant way that they did in P&P. Many variations rely on improbable, if not outlandish, plot devices as the catalyst for throwing E&D together, leading to them recognizing their burning desire for one another without the misunderstandings and soul-searching of Austen's version. Here there are no kidnappings, no tragic deaths, no crazed schemes of Caroline Bingley that lead to totally improbable outcomes. If anything, the pleasure is in knowing what the outcome will be, but watching the play-by-play of E&D working through their prejudices and recognizing their vanity-inspired mistakes as part of a courtship, rather than separated by time and distance. I agree with other reviewers that, at times, the pacing was too slow. Ormiston's deliberate plotting, taking the reader through each step and stage of misunderstanding as it becomes understanding, was plodding, even briefly dull, at times. But these instances were a matter of pages, not chapters of slow going. And the payoff is well worth it.In all, I enjoyed this variation more than any I've read in a long time. It was like taking a trip to a favorite destination, and trying a new route that criss-crossed the original road, but also entered some new territory. I highly recommend this book for all but the most finicky purists.
  •     In this what-if variation of P&P, our author asks the question what-if Elizabeth didn’t refuse the Hunsford proposal.
  •     A quick, fluid read. Could not put it down. Well written and believable. I would give it 6 stars, if I could. LOVED IT.
  •     I enjoyed this book! I hadn't expected much but was very happily surprised by the story and the writing. Congratulations to the author!
  •     A very engaging and enjoyable variation on the Pride & Prejudice and our most beloved Mr. Darcy.
  •     I often wondered what would have happened if Elizabeth had accepted Darcy' s proposal and am very glad Lara wondered too.
  •     I've read a vast array of "Pride and Prejudice" retellings, and most of them really just are an excuse for the author to be a fly on the wall for sex scenes. It's a deeply cynical way of reducing Darcy's and Elizabeth's profound connection to its physical component, which Jane Austen herself clearly never had to introduce in her masterpiece because it was unnecessary.Ms. Ormiston refuses to take the easy way out with this novel. In it, we find an Elizabeth who is stubborn but also far more practical than the Elizabeth of Austen's novel. She does not yield to Darcy's impassioned declaration of love and proposal because she loves him but because she fears for the safety and security of her family--and only after demanding that Darcy give her time to reflect on the proposal. Nevertheless, she also experiences an immediate change of heart upon receiving Darcy's proposal because she realizes just how much she's misjudged his love as disapprobation. It's not so profound a change that she loses herself to him at once, but it is the catalyst for her own journey of self-knowledge and, eventually, love for the complex suitor seeking her hand and her heart.What I found most moving about this novel, however, was Ms. Ormiston's portrayal of Darcy. Here is a man who is one of the most inscrutable heroes in all of fiction; Austen remains silent on his inner struggles when Elizabeth refuses him after his first proposal. In this novel, however, Darcy has the distinct advantage of already securing Elizabeth's hand before he undergoes his own transformation into the man to whom Elizabeth gives her heart. I say it's an advantage mostly because he has no choice but to examine himself and to submit himself to Elizabeth's rightful criticisms of his behavior and his attitudes towards his inferiors and even his peers, but there's also a danger, I suppose, that his transformation is due mostly to his desire to please Elizabeth and win her love rather than to his honest reflection on his faults. I think Ms. Ormiston avoids that danger with Elizabeth's stirring defense of her family and friends, whose flaws she sees with clear eyes yet accepts and loves anyway. In fact, Elizabeth is far more forgiving of her silly family and friends than she is of Darcy, from whom she withholds her whole heart until almost the final page despite becoming more attracted and more attached to him as their engagement progresses, because she expects Darcy to act like the man of sense and honor she knows him to be. This is not to say that Elizabeth is perfect while Darcy has to undergo all the changes; she displays some distinctly foolish behavior in her dealings with Wickham and with Darcy himself. However, the foolishness and misunderstandings of our lovers makes the ending so much sweeter, especially because Darcy realizes how selfish his love has been and because Elizabeth realizes how dishonest she has been with herself regarding her feelings for him.Just a final note on the structure of the novel: Ms. Ormiston alternates the point of view between Darcy and Elizabeth, which is extremely effective because we not only have the opportunity to understand both of their struggles but also to realize how complementary their minds and hearts are as they work to overcome their misconceptions about each other and their doubts concerning their impending marriage.I will end with the final thought that I look forward to re-reading this novel many times, which is my ultimate compliment for any novel.
  •     For a fan of original tales, I must say I really enjoyed this reimagined tale between Elizabeth Bennett and Fitzwilliam Darcy.
  •     In my opinion, the best.....while reading, I felt like Jane Austen could have written it....wonderfully done.
  •     If you're a fan of Pride & Prejudice, you will be disappointed with this story of what if Elizabeth accepted Darcy's first proposal?
  •     I'm sucked into new P&P fan fiction like someone who just can't look away from a train wreck. I've not reviewed any in quite a while because most of it is basically the same mess. I did feel compelled to comment on this one, though, because it was really much better than anything I'd read in a while in this genre. The characters seemed much more true to their Austen selves, rather than playing to the fan fic personas that have seemed to develop separately. There ins't a great deal of action here--it's mostly the dialogue and development of the emotional relationship between the principals, but it's nicely done. I stayed up half the night reading it though I hadn't planned to just because I was enjoying it. It's also rated PG, which I don't care about in and of itself, but it's nice to a) know going in and b) see a compelling romance develop without the too-easy resource of the physical. So if you're a bit of a P&P rewrite junkie like me, go ahead and pay for this one--it's worth more than 3 or 4 of the cheapies, as it's price suggests. :)
  •     A clean version of a different way the story could have gone. Lots of actual quotes from the original Pride and Prejudice and a Beyer overall resolution of the story for all...

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