Barbara's Reviews > An Arranged Marriage

An Arranged Marriage by Jan Hahn
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's review
Aug 21, 11

bookshelves: austen-fan-fiction, kindle
Recommended for: Austenites
Read from August 20 to 21, 2011 — I own a copy, read count: 2

I have pretty much read every single Pride and Prejudice sequel, variation, etc. currently in print. In this way, I am a tiny bit of an expert. This one stands out as one of the best. Two factors, I believe, are critical to any P&P variation - the characters are true to the original, and the existence of "pride and prejudice" prevents the lead characters from establishing an early attachment. Both are true in An Arranged Marriage, leading me to at least respect the effort from the start.

In this variation, Mr. Bennett dies accidentally just shortly after Darcy proposes to Elizabeth while she is visiting the Collins' at Hunsford. Elizabeth returns home to a family in chaos and her father's funeral. Several months later, after Lydia and Wickham have married, and Jane has returned home after a terrible experience as a governess, the family is facing certain financial doom without a solution in sight. At this point, Darcy proposes an arranged marriage with Elizabeth through her Aunt and Uncle Gardiner to Mrs. Bennett. This is seen as the only way out of their current predicament, and Elizabeth is pressured to accept - even by Jane. She highly resents Darcy for putting her in this position, and this causes her to continue her animosity towards him. Given the era, this is a very realistic plot devise and provides us with the tension needed between the two, with Darcy's continued pride and Elizabeth's prejudice against him, despite the letter she received from him while at Rosings.

I feared when reading the book that we would be given the usual plot devise of Elizabeth in danger and rescued by Darcy, or a serious illness causing one to recognize how much the other means to them. I was pleasantly surprised to find a more sophisticated growth in the relationship through the efforts of both parties. It was actually like a real marriage!

I gave this variation 4 stars instead of 5 because I found less humor and wit than I would have liked to see. But, Ms. Hahn writes a very convincing Pride and Prejudice variation in this An Arranged Marriage.
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