Saturday, November 26, 2016

Book Review: The Elizabeth Papers by Jenetta James

The Elizabeth Papers
Author: Jenetta James
Publication: Meryton Press (June 14, 2016)

Description: "It is settled between us already, that we are to be the happiest couple in the world," said Elizabeth Bennet at the conclusion of Pride & Prejudice--but was it true?

Charlie Haywood is a London-based private investigator who has made his own fortune--on his own terms. Charming, cynical, and promiscuous, he never expected to be attracted to Evie Pemberton, an independent-minded artist living with the aftermath of tragedy. But when he is hired to investigate her claims to a one hundred fifty-year-old trust belonging to the eminent Darcy family, he is captivated.

Together they become entwined in a Regency tale of love, loss, and mystery tracing back to the grand estate of Pemberley, home to Evie's nineteenth century ancestors, Fitzwilliam and Elizabeth Darcy. As if travelling back in time, another story unfolds within theirs. All was not as it seemed in the private lives of Mr. and Mrs. Darcy, but how can they ever uncover the whole truth?

How could they know that in 1817 Elizabeth Darcy began a secret journal? What started as an account of a blissful life came to reflect a growing unease. Was the Darcy marriage perfect, or was there betrayal and deception at its heart?

Can Evie and Charlie unearth the truth in the letters of Fitzwilliam Darcy or within the walls of present-day Pemberley? What are the elusive "Elizabeth papers," and why did Elizabeth herself want them destroyed?

The Elizabeth Papers is a tale of romance and intrigue, spanning the Regency and modern eras, reminding us how the passions of the past may inspire those in the present.

My Thoughts: THE ELIZABETH PAPERS was an excellent story that defies classification. It is a mystery in that private investigator Charlie Hayworth needs to track down evidence that the youngest of Elizabeth and Fitzwilliam Darcy's daughter was illegitimate. It is two romances. Fitzwilliam and Elizabeth in the 1800s and Charlie and Evie in 2014. It is historical fiction about an alternate history where Fitzwilliam and Elizabeth Darcy were people outside of Jane Austen's imagination.

Charlie Hayworth is a self-made man who has risen from his humble roots to become a very successful private investigator in modern day London. He is handsome and not averse to lying to help his clients. He is brought a case by Cressida Carter who wants him to discover if Victoria Darcy was, in fact, the legitimate daughter of Fitzwilliam and Elizabeth Darcy because, if she was not, her descendants are no longer eligible to receive funds from the Darcy Trust which provides a substantial yearly income to those who qualify.

Charlie puts his researchers on the case and learns that the only descendants of Victoria are sisters Evangeline and Clementine Pemberton. He contrives to meet Evie who is an artist and her sister Clemmie who is a quadriplegic injured in the same accident that killed their parents. Man-about-town Charlie is immediately attracted to Evie who is much more wary.

When he learns that Evie and Clemmie need the money from the trust to survive, he tells Cressida that there is no way to prove her case and drops her as a client. He determines to find these hidden Elizabeth Papers and destroy them if that is what it takes to keep Evie and Clemmie in the trust.

I loved the way this book interwove the story of Elizabeth and Fitzwilliam Darcy, who are going through a bit of a rough patch in their marriage, and Charlie and Evie who are building a more modern relationship. The writing was excellent and the characters wonderfully well-rounded. Even readers, like me, who haven't read PRIDE AND PREJUDICE will find an excellent story here.

Favorite Quote:
Then he thought about that treasure trove of Darcy's letters he had sent to her, and he knew that she would be stupid to just let it drop. Somehow, he knew that, to protect Evie, he would have to beat Cressida to it, find whatever they were looking for, and get rid of it. He couldn't leave Evie to face this thing on her own. 
I got this one from the author in exchange for an honest review. You can buy your copy here.

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