Last year I read Ms Mackrory's Bluebells in the Mourning and I absolutely loved it. I've read over a hundred Austen-inspired books, and I would rate this in my top three variations. So I thought I'd share my review of it with you, which I wrote last year:
Bluebells in the Mourning
Here is a Pride and Prejudice variation for all you romantics! I really loved this book. We pick up the story with Elizabeth at the Hunsford Parsonage. She ducks out of dinner with Lady Catherine to read 2 letters from Jane that have just arrived (one had been misdirected, the address being written very ill indeed). Darcy arrives to propose, as in canon and finds Lizzy very distraught, having just found out that one of her sisters has had a fall from Oakham Mount and has died from her injuries.
Obviously, the proposal never happens and instead Darcy escorts Lizzy and Maria Lucas to London, where they stay for a night at his house (chaperoned by Georgiana and Mrs Annesley). Spending so much time with each other leads them both to make some re-evaluations - Darcy begins to see that he can be self-absorbed and selfish, and he realises from a hint Lizzy drops that not only has he made an error in removing Bingley from Jane but also that if he had have proposed he probably would have been rejected. Lizzy begins to see that she has been wrong in being so hasty to judge Mr Darcy, and also she starts to question to herself whether Wickham's story is true.
Now Lizzy is in mourning, Darcy wouldn't be able to make her an offer of marriage for at least 3 months, but what he instead tries to do is make up some of the lost ground caused by her initial poor impression of him. In this, he is joined by Georgiana, who does her best to matchmake.
Considering this book starts with a death, especially that of somebody so young, it's not a sad book at all. Although the characters mourn there are also positive effects of the death, most notably the relationship between Mr and Mrs Bennet, the latter of whom blames herself for her daughter's demise.
One of the things I particularly liked is the number of familiar lines from Pride and Prejudice which turn up, often spoken by somebody who didn't say them in P&P. This story is really sweet (but not over-sweet) and romantic and if you don't like any sex scenes then you are safe, nothing goes further than just a few kisses and the only time you get behind the bedroom door is a birth scene in the epilogue.
The only minus points to this book are a few of the words used. There are some American words, the odd word that is too recent, and a few instances of the wrong versions of word being used, but not enough to distract from a lovely romantic story that will leave you with a smile on your face. I would highly recommend this one!