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Friday, 25 September 2015

Sketching Mr Darcy by Lory Lilian - Review and Giveaway

Book Cover: Sketching Mr. Darcy by Lory Lilian
Today I am joined by author Lory Lilian who is offering to give away an ebook of her latest book ‘Sketching Mr Darcy’ to TWO lucky readers here.  I will hand you over to Lory, and then you can see what I thought of the book.

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"Sketching Mr. Darcy" is different from my other books because it is the first one that takes a big step away from the original – it moves from the day after the Netherfield Ball into a forced marriage scenario.

For some reason, all the time as I wrote this story, I had in mind Elizabeth and Darcy’s dance at Netherfield: a battle of wills, with two powerful characters trying to stay strong in a situation which they could not control entirely, struggling to discover the person next door – literally next door, as they slept in separate rooms smile emoticon – and to deal with their own feelings. In a certain way, the entire story is a dance – whose steps none of the characters knew well enough - lasting two weeks and almost 400 pages!

Hope you will enjoy following it to see how the dance ends – and I am sure Ceri’s review will be an excellent guidance through it!

Thanks everyone and good luck with the giveaway!

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My review:

‘Sketching Mr Darcy’ is a ‘Pride & Prejudice’ variation looking based on a forced marriage scenario. Here, Elizabeth manages to injure herself while out walking, setting out after refusing the unpalatable Mr Colllins’ proposal. Darcy is due to leave Netherfield that day, but decides to go for a ride while waiting for Bingley to be ready to leave, as he needs to keep busy to keep thoughts of a certain Miss Bennet at bay.  He finds her injured and cold, and does what you’d expect of a gentleman, rescuing her and ensuring that she is safely returned home. Darcy then sets off for London, but Elizabeth’s wellbeing is on his mind. He decides to send his doctor to Longbourn to ensure that she will receive the best care, which is lucky, as Elizabeth ends up being quite ill.

This solicitous behaviour from Mr Darcy isn’t in line with the character Elizabeth thought he had, and she begins to revise her opinion of him.  This is not the only area that Elizabeth begins to re-evaluate. A frank discussion with Charlotte, where the precarious financial situation of the Bennet sisters is touched upon, also gives Lizzy food for thought:
“You may laugh at Mr. Collins now, but have you considered what will occur if something happens to Mr. Bennet and none of you has made a favourable marriage? Where will you all go, Lizzy? Who will keep you? Let us hope Mr. Bingley does marry Jane because one of you needs a very wealthy husband to take care of you all. Otherwise, you, Jane or any of your sisters will gladly accept any offer, even from someone with more faults than Mr. Collins has. And would you then not regret that you so hastily rejected him?”
The episode with Mr Darcy appears to be over and life moves on, except that somebody begins to maliciously gossip about the incident. It’s just as well she is open to changing her view, as Elizabeth soon finds herself in a position where she is faced with the prospect of having to marry him to stem the gossip. There isn’t much choice for her. We know he has his attraction for her as an ulterior motive, but here Elizabeth has additional reasons for marriage too:

‘There was Mr. Darcy, proposing to her, waiting for her answer. Here was the opportunity to marry a man who would be able to support her family in times of need, the opportunity to join one of the most illustrious families in the country, the opportunity to place Jane in Mr. Bingley’s path again in the future and save her sister from the danger of accepting a marriage proposal from a man who would make her unhappy, just to save their family.’

So Elizabeth enters marriage, hopeful that she can come to love her husband, and open to the idea that it will take a while to get to know him properly:
‘She remembered their discussion at the Netherfield ball, and yes, she had not managed to sketch his character, but she would have plenty of time for that – a lifetime’
This was the first book that I’d read by this author so I don’t know how it compares with her others , but I’d say that this was a story that was romantic and generally quite low on drama until towards the end, where the drama is ramped up quite a bit. When there was a misunderstanding or argument (and there were examples of both), rather than draw out the misunderstanding for chapters and chapters things were usually resolved pretty quickly, which I liked as I see Lizzy particularly as a person with the courage to raise issues rather than let them fester under the surface. However, I was a bit surprised at how open they were with each other emotionally; by the end of ‘Pride & Prejudice’ I can see them being open because they’ve been through such a journey with each other but at this point in canon both of them are very private and keeping their cards close to their chests so for me, these characters seemed more open that I think was likely in such a short timeframe.

An aspect that some readers might find objectionable is that Darcy in this book has a romantic past. This is not an issue for me, as I think it was quite likely that he would have done, and also that a young woman marrying in those times would have expected her husband to have had previous experience so it wasn’t something that bothered me, and it was dealt with quite matter-of-factly by Elizabeth.

As I said earlier, I hadn’t read a book by this author before, and at some points I wasn’t sure where plot points were headed; there were a few occasions in this book when I felt that the author set up the potential to create a dramatic situation and then resolved it sensibly, which I liked, as sometimes you read books where you question whether a situation will ever be resolved as the characters just won’t talk to each other!

For those who like to know such things, there are a few sex scenes in this book, but they are not graphic.

I’d recommend this book to those who like a romantic, low-angst read, and I’d rate it as a four star read.
4 star read

Note: I received an ebook of this title from the author for my honest review.

Giveaway Time!

Lory has kindly offered to give away an ebook of ‘Sketching Mr Darcy’ to TWO commenters here. To enter, just leave a comment about the review, the book, or which of Lory’s books is your favourite. This is open to international entrants, comment by the end of the day on 2 October 2015 to enter. Please leave a way for me to contact you in case you are the lucky winner.


54 comments:

  1. I don't think I can say which is my favourite - I have read them all so far - so I am looking forward to reading this one.
    I am curious if the paperback has been actually published in Canada - there are people trying to sell it for $78 on amazon which is strange for a new release

    meikleblog at gmail dot com

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    1. Thank you for your lovely words. :-) The book can be ordered in paper from all Amazons. Not sure why would anyone pay 78 $. No No -:)

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    2. I am glad that you've enjoyed them all equally, Vesper. Very odd that the book is being offered for sale at such crazy prices when you can just buy it new directly from Amazon!

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  3. This sounds like a great variation. It's always fascinating to see how the couple learn to live with each other when thrown together before they really know each other. I'd love to read this one soon.

    beverlee dot swayze at gmail dot com

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    1. Thanks and good luck with the giveaway !

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    2. Hi Beverlee. I always enjoy that scenario too, lots of romantic potential!

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  4. I always love these kinds of variations. So interesting to see how they work things out (and luckily for all us ardent fans, they always seem to do so!)

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    1. You're right, Regina, I cannot even imagine that E and D would not work things out. I write jaff only for the fun of putting E and D together again and again, in different situations :-)

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    2. Hi Regina, I wouldn't like a variation that didn't see them end up together, that's my number one JAFF rule!

      I love seeing some of the different paths that authors take our dear couple on.

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  5. It seems an interesting variation. Enter me in the giveaway!

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  6. All of Lory's books are on my Wish List, which is sooo long that I haven't got around to buying any of them yet. I've heard many good things thiugh, including this review by Ceri.

    Woul love to win a copy of this. Forced marriage scenarios can be fascinating ad the couple learn to live with each other and, presumably for our HEA, fall in love as well.

    angmardee ( at ) hotmail ( dot ) com

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    1. Reminder to self: proofread before hitting "Publish"!

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    2. Good luck ! Hope you will read one of them soon and let me know what you think.

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    3. I know what you mean about having a huge wishlist, Anji, and you are very disciplined not to buy the things on your wishlist until you have the time to read them. My kindle is full of books I'd love to read, but I just need to find more reading time!

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  7. I was among the fortunate readers who were able to see this story unfold as a work in progress. I enjoyed this lovely tale and I will be adding it to my collection one way or another. But free is always good. I like that idea very much. :D

    Peggy gabbycat14 at yahoo

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    1. Hi Peggy and thanks so much !!! Good luck !

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    2. Hi Peggy! I sometimes read online too, I quite like reading in installments but my TBR piles are so big that I haven't done it much lately. Good luck in the giveaway!

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  8. As far as I know, several authors have already tackled the forced marriage scenario (Jan Hahn's An Arranged Marriage and Suddenly Mrs. Darcy by Jenetta James comes to my mind). I can't wait to find out how the story differs from them.

    Thanks for writing a detailed review of Sketching Mr. Darcy, Ceri. I loved reading your thoughts.

    evangelineace2020(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    1. Oh, there are many, many, many others jaff forced marriage scenarios ! Lots of them ! This is why I was so reluctant to do it myself - I was afraid I could not do anything new and original with it. Hopefully I managed to do it somehow - with the help of my editors, as I keep asking them :"was this done before in another story? Did you read this anywhere else?" lol If you will come to read it, I hope you will find it an "old" story with some new touches. :-)

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    2. Hi Luthien! Thank you for your comments. I've read both the books that you mentioned, and I'm sure I've read other forced marriage scenarios too, and it is fascinating to see how the stories differ. Hope you enjoy this when you come to read it.

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  9. I read and reviewed this back in July - loved it.

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    1. Thanks so much, Sheila ! Your review was one of the loveliest I ever get. :-)

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    2. Glad you liked it so much Sheila. Thanks for commenting :)

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  10. Haha! I chuckle b/c I am so used to angst and lack of communication that I know I would have braced myself for it and then? Nothing! Ha! A natural amount of squabbling does make sense for this pair. Looking forward to reading this one. Good review!

    Please do not enter me, Ceri!

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    1. I am an angst wimp so you will not find too much angst in my stories :-)

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    2. Yes, there were a few angst red herrings in this book, when I expected things to spiral into huge misunderstandings, it was quite refreshing that they behaved normally!

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  11. Loved this story. It was an interesting variation. This couple would be Darcy and Elizabeth if they didn't have some conflicts. Both are people with very strong and demanding personalities. Talking always seems to clear up misunderstandings which they always seem to have. They both speak before they think.

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    1. Thanks so much Carol ! Yeap - two strong people trapped in a house (even if it was Darcy's large house :-) ).

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    2. Yes, I don't see them as the type of couple never to disagree, that would be Jane and Bingley!

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  12. It's always interesting to see how Darcy and Elizabeth come to an understanding and build their relationship in a forced marriage scenario. Looking forward to reading it. Thank you for the giveaway.

    tdungnvu (at) yahoo (com)

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    1. I always enjoy the forced marriage scenario too. Hope you enjoy it when you read it.

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  13. Loved this story. It was an interesting variation. This couple would be Darcy and Elizabeth if they didn't have some conflicts. Both are people with very strong and demanding personalities. Talking always seems to clear up misunderstandings which they always seem to have. They both speak before they think.

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  14. Great review! His Uncle's Favorite is one of my favorite variations so I have been looking forward this book! Thank you for the giveaway!!! Lumee23 at gmail dot com

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    1. Hi Shannon. I have a few of Lory's other books on my kindle that I haven't read yet, but not His Uncle's Favourite. Good to know you rate it so highly :)

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  15. Beautiful review, Ceri! Sounds like a totally engaging read!!

    newyorkgirl82(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. Thank you Maria! Good luck in the giveaway :)

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  16. I love your review! And the book... it's amazing.. I want to read it so so badly! I hope I will win it because I want to read every night about Lizzie and Mr. Darcy <3 Thank you Lory Lilian for giving us this book!

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    1. Thank you so much! Good luck in the giveaway.

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  17. I have loved all of Loris books so far and am really looking forward to reading this too! What an interesting synopsis.

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    1. I hope you enjoy it when you read it. Good luck in the giveaway!

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  18. Wonderful review! I am excited for this variation! I have enjoyed Lory Lillian's other books so this is a definite read!
    cherringtonmb at sbcglobal dot net

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    1. Isn't it great when an author you enjoy has another book out! Good luck in the giveaway, Becky.

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  19. Ceri, like you I have many books on kindle to read. Sometimes they are on sale or free so I buy them...and then don't have time immediately to read them. I also spent the last two days reading a new and the re-reading an older online story. I am sure that there are many out there who do the same. That old saying about not enough time!

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    1. When I first got my kindle I would buy and then read, but like you say, when there were special offers I stocked up and I have some books that I'd really like to read that I never seem to get to!

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  20. Oh, hope I'm not too late! I love all Lori's books but my favourite has to be Rainy Days. It was one of my first JAFF reads so it's one of my first loves :)

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    1. 'Tell me not that I am too late...' Brenda, you are not too late! You are entered for the giveaway :)

      Rainy Days is one of the ones I have on my kindle. I am glad to know it's one of your favourites. I think Lory may be writing a sequel to one of her older books, I'm not sure whether it's Rainy Days or Remembrance of the Past.

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    2. Oh love that quote! :D Yes, I heard there is going to be a sequel to Rainy Days, very exciting! I feel a reread coming on in preparation!

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  21. I loved the premise of this story, I think forced marriage scenarios are quite delicious, when our two favourite characters have to learn to live with each other before they discover (or rather before Elizabeth does) that they're over the heels in love. I've read other books by Lory Lilian and the sweet and romantic 'Rainy Days' is one of my top favourites, so I'm sure I'll love 'Sketching Mr D'. Besides, the cover is absolutely stunning! Congrats, Lory Lilian and keep 'em coming ;)

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    1. Oo, another recommendation for Rainy Days!

      I am with you Joana, there is so much scope for romance with a forced marriage scenario.

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  22. Thanks for the giveaway! Really looking forward to reading this book. Tresha_7atmsn.com

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    1. Hi Tresha! Thanks for commenting. Good luck in the giveaway.

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