“The engagement between them is of a peculiar kind. From their infancy, they have been intended for each other. It was the favorite wish of his mother…” —Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
Fitzwilliam Darcy was raised to never stray from the path set before him: ensure the continued prosperity of his estate, Pemberley, protect and educate his sister to become an accomplished woman, and marry the woman his mother chose for him—his cousin Anne de Bourgh. With a letter bearing his late mother’s signature, Darcy presumes his fate is sealed and prepares to wed one he does not love. However, his destiny begins to unravel when he glimpses a pair of fine eyes on a quiet, country road.
Elizabeth Bennet is the second daughter of a respectable though insignificant gentleman. She is flattered to have captured the attention of a local squire, a childhood friend, and everyone believes her path is secure—until a handsome, rich gentleman arrives at a neighboring estate. Happenstance begets the unlikely pair together, bridging a forbidden love long past a mere friendship.
In “A Lie Universally Hidden”, two of literature’s most beloved romance characters are destined to marry for fortune and obligation rather than love. How will Darcy and Elizabeth fulfill their true destiny under such circumstances? Shall honor, decorum, prudence—nay, a signed letter from the grave—forbid it?
"A Lie Universally Hidden" is a Regency Romance suitable for most audiences, teen and up.
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My Review: A Lie Universally Hidden by Anngela Schroeder
As a mother, your greatest fear is that something bad happening to your children. Your second greatest fear is having to leave them without your protection while they still need you and this is how this ‘Pride & Prejudice’ variation starts out, with a view of Lady Anne Darcy’s final days of life. Instead of being supported through her last few days with her loved ones, instead she finds herself having to fend off her sister’s demands that she agree to plan a marriage between their children. Lady Anne was lucky enough to marry for love, and she wants her son to have that option. Far from respecting her sister’s wishes, Lady Catherine callously takes steps to actively undermine them.
16 years later we catch up with Mr Darcy, who has for years been under the belief that he is honour bound to marry Anne de Bourgh, despite having no inclination to do so. Darcy and Georgiana decide to spend some time avoiding his betrothed and future mother in law by paying a visit to Mr Bingley’s newly-rented estate in Hertfordshire. Georgina hasn’t suffered any rude awakening in Ramsgate, as word had reached her guardians that Mr Wickham had plans on her fortune so she is a sweet and trusting girl, who hasn’t been burned by her experiences.
En route, Darcy spots a beautiful woman with intelligent brown eyes. The attraction is immediate and reciprocated, which obviously is very different to ‘Pride & Prejudice’ where he can’t see what is before him due to his pride. Here, although he looks down on the behaviour of the Bennet family, it’s very differently received by Elizabeth, as there is an unexpected benefit to his disdain; Kitty is questioning the propriety of the behaviour of some members of her family, and decides to change her ways:
“I believe he took a fancy to Lydia because he could not stop glancing at her throughout his time here.”
“Mama, he kept looking at Lydia because her behaviour was so deplorable.”
The Bennet ladies turned with surprise at Kitty’s declaration. “She was naughty their entire visit. Why would Mr. Bingley, or that other fellow, prefer her over Mary or myself?”I love to see a Kitty rehabilitation and though it’s very sudden, it’s also quite thorough. She is just a year older than Miss Darcy, so an excellent age to be a friend to her, and having been less protected she is also less naive and trusting than Georgiana. I very much enjoyed Kitty in this story, she is quite loveable and has a streak of conscience and sense which was lovely to see.
Kitty and Georgiana’s friendship brings Mr Darcy into further contact with the Bennet family which helps him in quickly overcoming his feelings of offended pride. He and Elizabeth get to know each other better, and find that they have a lot in common; their love of reading, shared sense of humour and ease in conversing means that they enjoy time in the other’s company. They have one further thing in common, in that both of them are considering marrying without affection, Darcy to his cousin and Elizabeth to a neighbour who she has known for many years. Mr Hamilton is intelligent, admires Lizzy greatly and she cares for him... as a friend. Elizabeth knows that in her circumstances she would be very fortunate to receive a proposal to a man with an estate bringing in a decent income, but she wishes that she could love her probable future husband.
“I will be trapped in a loveless marriage to a man, who although I respect, I do not cherish. And he, who I do cherish, will never know.”As time goes on, both Elizabeth and Darcy feel the pull towards each other, and each becomes aware of the other’s feelings, but there is no hope. Although we are missing the usual friction in their relationship that you’d expect to see in P&P-inspired stories their interactions with each other have poignancy instead so the story doesn’t feel flat at all. They fit together like a puzzle, but it’s one that can’t be completed due to ‘duty’:
“And sometimes, dear Aunt, men do know their own minds but must follow duty...no matter what choices they might wish to make.”We get to see some of the other characters of ‘Pride and Prejudice’ in this story. Some I would have liked to see drawn a bit more subtly, as the some characters really are quite evil, though I know that some readers really like the ‘baddies’ to be bad! Others I enjoyed more, as they were fleshed out in a lovely way, such as Colonel Fitzwilliam, who made attempts to play matchmaker. I liked the rendition of Anne de Bourgh very much, as she had some personality, despite years of being overbourne:
‘From all she had heard, Anne de Bourgh was sickly and spiritless. She had not expected such quick wit nor her dry sense of humour. Though she was a mousy thing, with very little presence, she had a quiet kindness which Lizzy sensed at once.’One aspect of the story that I enjoyed very much was the humour; this story has plenty of it, quips between characters (even Mary!), unintentional humorous remarks from people like Mrs Bennet and even young ladies playing a late night game of ‘Candor and Courage’ which sounds remarkably like Truth or Dare! This gave a nice bit of variety to the tone of the story, so it didn’t feel too weighted towards poignancy. Some of the events and behaviour seemed a little unlikely to me, but in order for the premise of the story to work you have to suspend these thoughts and go with it. This is a very romantic read, and if, like me, you enjoy that you will have a delightful time reading this as you sigh away! There are no sex scenes so if you prefer to avoid books with those you’ll be safe with this one.
I’d recommend this book if you’d like to be transported away somewhere romantic for a few hours and I’d rate it as a 4 star read.
'A Lie Universally Hidden' is available to buy in both ebook and print form (Amazon UK / Amazon US), and also via Kindle Unlimited!
I have a degree in English with a concentration in British Literature and a Masters in Education. I love to travel, bake, and watch college football with my husband of 16 years and 3 rambunctious sons. My goal in life is to make not only my children, but also my students feel that they are loved, and to bring magic into everyone's world. My weaknesses are yellow cake with chocolate frosting, French bread with real butter, and my father's Arabic food, namely grape leaves, and falafel. I live in California where I dream of Disney adventures and trips across the pond.
Connect with the Author:
Blog Tour Information:
Anngela Schroeder, author of one Jane Austen variation and a contributing author to the Meryton Press anthology, “Then Comes Winter,” will tour the blogosphere from January 16 – January 29, 2017, to share her latest book, A Lie Universally Hidden. Thirteen book bloggers, specializing in Austenesque fiction and romance stories, will share excerpts, guest posts, an interview with the author and book reviews from this highly awaited Austen-inspired novel.
Anngela is giving away two autographed hard copies (US mailing addresses only) 2 kindle versions (Open to international winners), an autographed copy of Then Comes Winter (US mailing address only) and an autographed 5x7 of the A Lie Universally Hidden book cover.
To enter, visit one of the giveaway blog tour posts. The blogs are linked in the schedule below!
Blog Tour Schedule
January 16/ My Jane Austen Book Club/Launch Post & Giveaway
January 17/ From Pemberley to Milton/ Book Review & Giveaway
January 18/ A Covent Garden Madame Gilflurt's Guide to Life/Guest Post
January 19/ So Little Time…/ Excerpt Post & Giveaway
January 20/ My Vices and Weaknesses/ Book Review & Giveaway
January 21/ Babblings of a Bookworm/ Book Review
January 22/ Just Jane 1813/ Excerpt Post
January 23/Austenesque Reviews/ Author Spotlight & Giveaway
January 24/ Obsessed with Mr. Darcy/ Book Review & Giveaway
January 25/ Every Savage Can Dance/Book Review & Giveaway
January 26 / Diary of an Eccentric/Book Review & Giveaway
January 27 / Austenesque Reviews/ Book Review & Giveaway
January 28/ My Kids Led Me Back to Pride and Prejudice/ Excerpt & Giveaway
January 29/ Savvy Verse & Wit/ Guest Post & Giveaway