Ginger Monette’s Darcy’s Hope- Beauty from Ashes is the first part of Great War Romance series – lucky you! – the second part Darcy’s Hope – Donwell Abbey is already available, so you can read it together. I’ll review the second part on the 11th of Feb.
The plot takes place in a chateau in France during World War I. Darcy is a captain and Elizabeth is a doctor wannabe nurse. The prologue is at the Netherfield ball where I have to say, Charlotte and Elizabeth have a delightful conversation. Lizzy is really obstinate and headstrong. From the first chapter we are in France and while Elizabeth is still in England, we know about past events from Darcy’s reminiscences which make the writing more interesting as the timeline is not linear, but you can easily follow. If you think WWI or a book set in France is not your cup of tea, believe me, it will be!
The book is engrossing from start to finish. You can touch the author’s love of history which makes the descriptive parts interesting and enjoyable. There is no (World) war without spies. I just love that literary everybody is suspicious – brilliant twist. My favourite part that on every page I try to guess who the spy is and when I think I know – the next page someone else will fall under suspicion. That may be the reason why the characters are captivating.
I think, besides Beauty from Ashes, there is one book I’ve read where I don’t mind Wickham. He is very much present and as bad as always, but somehow the author manages to make him interesting and not “hair-pulling-annoying”.
Mrs Bennet: not sure I liked what happened to her, but also outrageous.
I love Lorna who’s not mentioned many times, but quite shocking fate she has.
John Thornton of North and South has a cameo, and Emma and George Knightley’s great grandson, Robert Knightley appears too.
Each of Elizabeth and Darcy’s encounter are powerful, heated, sparkling, just as it ought to be. They are together and apart for long enough for me to believe that all the emotions were present at the time the author described.
I love when the authors keep an eye on details. There are several books mentioned in the story, like Les Miserables, Sherlock Holmes, The Scarlet Pimpernel and all of them are at the point when you can find a common point/link between Ms Monette’s story and the referred book. It adds another layer of meaning to the story.
You might also notice that the events are delayed (weeks, months). However there are cars, trains, motorbikes, bigger ships – the war makes the transportation as hard as it would be in the regency era travelling with carriages or on horseback.
As I’m Anne Shirley and Mary Poppins obsessed too and it is mentioned a couple of times that Elizabeth is carrying a carpetbag, I pay a tribute to the carpetbag. 😀
If you would like to read for e.g. about the chateau which inspired ‘The Ritz’, it’s worth to visit the author’s page, not to mention Lizzy’s Scrapbook which contains lots of beautiful pictures… or the super-cool trailer on youtube.
I got the ebook for free, but this is one of those books where you feel bad if you don’t pay for it, so I have bought it on amazon.
This story very quickly became my favourite non-regency setting variation.
Just sit back, relax and enjoy the history, descriptions (especially about the war), dialogues and the romance. Happy reading!
Now, I’m off reading the second part.
Winner of Charlotte Mecklenburg Library’s 2015 “Picture This”grand prize, Ginger lives with her family in Charlotte, North Carolina, where she enjoys dancing on the treadmill, watching period dramas, public speaking, and reading—a full-length novel every Sunday afternoon.