Beth Massey lives in Chicago overlooking Lake Michigan with her husband of forty plus years. They have been activists in the struggle against war, racism, sexism and anti-lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender bigotry for even longer than their marriage. Now that she and Bill are retired, Ms Massey spends her early mornings writing and the rest of her day in the company of her well-informed best friend and partner. The two are free to engage in a great deal of conversation and have even been known to spend an afternoon discussing their ideas concerning Jonathon Swift, pig farming and the Nuremberg trials. Jane Austen and Mary Ann Shaffer would certainly approve.
Mr Darcy's Cottage of Earthly Delights: Shades of Pride and Prejudiceby Beth Massey
While touring Pemberley, Elizabeth Bennet overhears something about Fitzwilliam Darcy that provokes a surge of jealousy. Fleeing her worst nightmare, she is caught in a storm. He searches his estate for the woman of his dreams. When he finds her in a folly identical to the one of his rejected proposal, passions ignite. Her anger and his fear for her health provoke an unplanned revelation. Forbidden lust explodes in a secret cottage Mr Darcy has prepared for clandestine liaisons with the love of his life. It appears all misunderstandings are resolved with a betrothal-or are they?
WARNING This is a sexually explicit telling of a 'Pride and Prejudice' what if.
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This is an interesting "politically correct" somewhat modern interpretation of what could have happened to the characters. Lydia's fate was quite different in this story which was a much better alternative for the character. The author also challenged Mr and Mrs. Bennet's relationship and the relationship between Jane and Bingley and updated their circumstances. I like some of these changes but parts of the story were tedious. At some point I read a few sentences on each page to get through unneeded information. Some of the new characters were interesting and were quite enlightened. Overall - a good attempt with some hits and lots of misses. The author needs to spend some time evaluating her need to preach on sexual politics. Most of the novel was at least 160+ years ahead of its time.
If you love Pride and Prejudice - BEWARE!!! The author of this book has absolutely no knowledge of the characters of the beloved book. The pittyful storyline was used to do nothing but support the lusty, sexual internludes. Do not just overlook this book. If you come across it - turn and run the other way. One star is far to generous a rating.
Grab a cold beverage of your choice and open your mind wide if you wish to embrace this Pride & Prejudice variation because it takes the stories and characters to places that many people (including me) will find varying degrees of disconcerting. This is a strong bawdy twist to the story that I warn you now is not for everyone and not fair to the author to disregard this warning if this isn't your thing. I'm still processing and I considered myself a flexible reader. I'm not sure what and how much I'm going to say about the book that will do it justice or give the reader an accurate picture of the story, but I will do my best. There is an assumption made that the reader is somewhat familiar with the original Pride and Prejudice story either in written or movie form. This particular story seems like a variation or what-if at first glance, but after I read it, I would classify it more as a loose retelling. It hits familiar milestones, but there is a lot going on between that is utterly new. The story opens with Elizabeth Bennet on a summer tour with her Uncle and Aunt Gardiner that takes them to the estate of the man she rejected with the cruelest words she could. Since Mr. Darcy's failed marriage proposal and letter defending himself against her vitriolic words even if she feels he deserved some of it, Elizabeth has had a change of heart that leaves her uneasy and unsure of what he will think if he finds her touring his home even though she is assured that he is not in residence at the moment. Her tour is enlightening and makes her feel more guilty than ever as she listens to the housekeeper singing his praises. The sexual attraction she feels for the man she sent off with no hope has her restless and tense between her night time dreams and heated thoughts. She wants him badly and she only has herself to blame for making it impossible to have him. It is after she overhears the maids gossiping that Mr. Darcy is keeping a mistress and then her subsequent dash out of the house and into the rain that she encounters the man himself and her misunderstanding once again has to be explained away. Darcy can't get Elizabeth off his mind. He had such dreams built up of love, affection, shared laughter and shared passion until the woman ripped it all away and made it clear what she thought of him. He uses the secret cottage he had made up for just the two of them as a place of solace. But then he gets a second chance when he finds her lost and cold from the rain wandering out on his property. Things start as they did before, but then he takes control and faces her angry bitter repercussions. They go to the cottage Darcy prepared and there the heat flairs between them and they give into it. Darcy's past is colored by a long-standing connection with a high class discreet brothel run by a woman born to the nobility and Darcy shares a friendship with the courtesan who showed him the ways of pleasing a woman. He uses these skills with Elizabeth and he uses these connections to help rescue Elizabeth's sister from the clutches of a fiend. Darcy and Elizabeth along with the rest of their extended families face hardships and disastrous misunderstandings, but love and understanding, growth and acceptance come for many even as others face the consequences of their actions. Alright, so let me figure out how to break down my impressions without writing my own novel here. Other than the first quarter of the book that was rough on the transitions and offered an awkward sexual encounter, I found this a well-written piece and an engaging enough story. It has a full cast of characters that are richly drawn, several narrators and many intriguing and fresh plot threads. Some plot threads were more interesting than others for me. As a result of all these threads and all these narrators, this book could get ponderous at times. It overlapped in the narration in a few places, but never got boring. I went into this book knowing that it was going to be explicit and erotic. I read some pretty sensual stuff so I figured I'd be good with the heat level. And I was. The heat level explored some interesting avenues and even was a source of conflict because of Lizzy's bouts of guilt over anticipating her vows and thinking herself wanton. On an aside, in case it matters to some folks, there is some mild f/f action between two minor characters who had a side story going on. It wasn't the actual heat level of the the romance that was my sticking point. The ribald humor and bawdy scenes were rather Tom Jone-ish. I probably would have been alright if we were talking about hot bedroom encounters or the such, but this story included a Darcy that saw a courtesan regularly until right when he decided that he loved Elizabeth. To be clear, he did not cheat on Lizzy. I'm not inconsistent in that I won't read a story with a guy or gal seeing a courtesan, but it is this particular guy that cause my problem. Quirky, I know, but there you go that's me. I can be versatile to a certain extent when authors get creative with the original story or characters, but unfortunately there are certain core character traits that I don't like author's to mess with when it comes to Darcy. Something changes in my perception of Darcy that I don't like when he becomes a man who takes his pleasures (even if it started out for educational purposes as it did in this story) with a courtesan or mistress. For me to enjoy this story, I had to pretend that this wasn't Darcy, but the typical historical romance reformed rake scenario. Now that I shared that bit of whimsy, let me say that this Darcy was on the whole a romantic figure, dashing hero the way he worked to protect and care for those he loves. His loyalty, sense of duty and his love of family made him worthy. His desire to have a true love affair in marriage like his parents and the effort he made to make it happen made him swoon-worthy. And trust me, the infernal woman made him work- not that he was beyond fault at times. As to Elizabeth, I think the nicest thing I can say is that this version of her wasn't for me. I struggled to understand her and couldn't like the irrational, weaker, insecure, less sparkling version. If it could be misconstrued and misunderstood, Elizabeth did with a blaze of anger and a rush of her mouth. Darcy was a shining example of patience and constancy. His love was demonstrated in word and action repeatedly, yet he was forced to defend the truth so often. He must have given her the same speech about his love and trusting in it a dozen times through the book because the oft repeated conflict device of Elizabeth rushing to attack him and believe the worst. It got so old and I really couldn't see much that was attractive about her. This Elizabeth was what happens when an author explores the possibility of Elizabeth taking after Mrs. Bennet. Yep, Lizzy was her mother as a young woman. While I thought it was an amazing change the author explored that left me in awe, I can't say that the results left me liking her as a romance heroine. Because of all the turbulence in their courtship, the romance was a tough sell for me. Their sexy times were hot and they had some powerful lust going on, but they spent most of the book in a swing between trust and lack of trust with storms of anger in between. I wanted to see more a real everyday connection not just being good in the sack. Darcy was so romantic with his Cottage and dreams of love, but I felt Elizabeth left him hanging out there to dry frequently. He is proactive and she is a recipient. I don't remember her one time making a romantic or loving gesture that didn't involve just trying to get into his breeches or apologize for her own stupid misunderstanding of him. Even her famous scene from the original story that allowed her to face off with Lady C was like a dud firecracker. I actually preferred following the lively and vivacious Lydia's courtship and love affair the most. Wish Mary's romance was more in the foreground though I do get the fact that the author could only pursue the side plots just so far. Oh, I roared with laughter at what the author did for Caroline in the end. That was brilliant. Loved the crossover character from another Austen story cameo for this. Other character changes were also in order with some surprising results. I am not a Lydia fan in general, but I loved this author's Lydia. This is the Lydia without the permanent flaws. And this Jane, yeah she was something. She actually showed up for a change and wasn't just the bland background character we usually see. Now as to original characters, the Viscount Colton and his family were fantastic. When Viscount Colton was in a scene it just sparkled. And the gals we all love to hate- Miss Bingley and Lady Catherine did their thing and a good time was had by all to see them vanquished. The biggest surprise will be Mr. and Mrs. Bennet. Do enjoy because they are something. This is one of those versions that tells the tale of the whole extended family and I love it when an author does that so I really didn't mind the breadth and length of this story. I was intrigued and impressed by the explorations the author did with the characters and storyline. The romance is a tough, hard-fought one and I was glad to get that gentler and happier epilogue that wrapped it all up nicely and showed a couple with a love for the ages. As to who I would recommend this for, this is for Austenesque and Historical Romance lovers who enjoy full heat and can appreciate a great deal of flexibility with the original characters and plot. My thanks to the author who gifted me this story in exchange for an honest review.
Poor writing, caracters did not stay true to themselves. I skipped alot of pages throughout book. Not worth it.