I absolutely adore this book!! I will admit at first I thought "short stories? Oh I am not sure, I want a book I can get my teeth into" however by the end of the first story I had soon cottoned on to the secret of short JAFF stories, Darcy and Elizabeth would be getting to their happily ever after, much sooner than I anticipated!! There's something to be said for instant gratification "it is wonderfully satisfying!" These short stories need to be made into little pocket size books that you can slip into your handbag (or briefcase, I have not forgotten you gentlemen) ready to pull out at any given moment; for instance when you need a little pick me up in times of stress or boredom (like at your desk at work, at the doctors, in an elevator or at the checkout in the supermarket) or quite simply, to bring a smile to your face.
Abigail gives you a little introduction before each story, to set the scene so to speak, like how the story came about or imparting any information that may be relevant.
In the first story Intermezzo, Abigail admits she had to allow for a historical discrepancy and have a wedding breakfast that was a sit down meal, rather than the usual stand-up affair. I am so glad she did because the scenes between Darcy and Elizabeth at the table were lovely!!! After not meeting at Pemberley Georgiana boldly asks Darcy if she can go to Bingley's wedding as Darcy will not be attending. Georgiana is determined to find out who has broken her brothers heart and the only information she has is that her name is Elizabeth. Georgiana is sure that she will be in attendance at the wedding, otherwise why else would her brother not attend? A shy Georgiana with Miss Bingley's unwitting assistance is determined to be introduced to as many guests as possible!
Finally the dam broke on Mrs. Bennet’s words. “Good gracious! Lord bless me! only think! dear me! oh, Lizzy, why did you say nothing? Your hair, your gown... but it is too late, we can only hope - Oh! my sweetest Lizzy! I am so pleased - so happy.”- Abigail Reynolds
Such Differing Reports is a delightful story which starts at Rosings with Elizabeth taking into account Charlotte's observations, that Mr Darcy is partial to her. This was interesting as Elizabeth and Darcy end up working through their differences, before he gets to propose. I may have made this claim before, but the letter that Darcy gives Elizabeth is the complete opposite to the one he gives her in regards to his past dealings with Wickham and It has to be the best letter ever written!!!!
She whirled to see Mr. Darcy, impeccably attired as always, holding a struggling white chicken at arm’s length. She could not help but laugh at the incongruity of the picture. With an attempt at solemnity, she said, “As a rule, chickens prefer not to be held.” Mr. Darcy bent over the stone fence and deposited his charge in the yard. “So I have discovered, but unfortunately, she seemed disinclined to listen to me when I told her to go back.”- Abigail Reynolds
Reason's Rule is actually a large excerpt from a book that did not get published, well it did but without these scenes, the version that did get published was Impulse and Initiative also known as To Conquer Mr Darcy. I loved this story, particularly the following scene; Darcy is downstairs in his study at Pemberley while Elizabeth and the Gardiners are staying with him. He receives a letter from Elizabeth which she has sent with the maid as she cannot bare to face him, sorry that is all I will say as I do not want to spoil it, but what I will say, is that when Darcy makes his way upstairs to see Elizabeth, if you ever doubted the authority of the master of Pemberley you will no more!!!
"I do not believe that he spends his time devising ways to hurt me, but he cannot resist sticking in the knife whenever an opportunity presents itself. You saw him in action in Meryton; it was purely coincidence that our paths crossed there, and it profited him nothing to malign my name, but he could not resist the opportunity" -Abigail Reynolds
For a moment her eyes flamed, then, to his surprise, the fire was banked. Something had quelled her spirit. He wondered what punishment her mother had inflicted upon her to make her throw herself on the last man in the world she could be prevailed upon to marry. The memory of her angry countenance as she had spat those words at him made his spine stiffen - Abigail Reynolds
A Succession of Rain, In this story Abigail was challenged to write something that had no angst, no misunderstandings and no misfortunes. "How the hell was she going to do that?" I asked myself, yet Abigail rose to the occasion bringing to an end a wonderful collection of short stories that I had read twice before the week was out!!
A truly wonderful medley that will be used to sate my JAFF addiction, whenever I have not the time to engage in a full length novel.
Please feel free to share your thoughts, they are most welcome.