I did this two book series backwards – a series influenced by Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, and presented with the twists that only Barbara Silkstone can add. Today is the first story in the series, certainly best listened to before The Return of the Gallant Vicar (trust me – I only posted them backwards – I didn’t listen backwards). Narration in this series is provided by Jannie Meisberger, and is perfectly suited to this story…. But first
The Gallant Vicar
Elizabeth Bennett (Lizzy) is again in the midst of chaos – with an insane Mr. Collins causing her friend Charlotte fits, and a less than romantic and more than slightly insulting proposal from Darcy, Lizzy is at a crossroads. Speaking her mind has often brought her grief – and with her discovery of his involvement in Jane’s life, she’s more than justified (she thinks) in refusing him. As Mr. Collins sanity leaves, so must Charlotte – ousted by Lady Catherine to make place for a new vicar.
Lizzy and Mary arrive at Hunsford to help Charlotte move house, and with justified anger and feeling less than valued, Lizzy is still stung and reacting to Darcy’s non-proposal proposal. Planning to clear out before the Vicar arrives, a quiet moment finds Lizzy in the vicarage graveyard when first meeting Francis Martell, the replacement vicar that arrived early, according to his own plan.
Still frustrated and confused with her emotions about Darcy, Lizzy is confounded and intrigued by Martell – she appreciates his naughty witticisms and the attention he pays her. But her sister Mary (and also Charlotte) are not as intrigued. And in a matter of days, a process that would require an investigation and time has been shortened, even sooner than expected. Darcy isn’t as amused with the newcomer, and he’s frustrated by Lizzie’s fascination. A confounding series of elements and sly humor highlight this story as we move closer to Lizzie’s decision: Darcy or the Vicar.
Narration in this story is provided by Jannie Meisberger and her voice and pacing are perfect for the story – not quite carrying the distinctive flatness of inflection common to the ton, but suitable (if restrained veddy British) lack of overwhelming emotion when those moments are called for. Internal monologues from Lizzy are lighter and often more tortured in her circular thinking, showing her confusion and conflicting thoughts. Martell and Darcy each had their own tone and delivery styles, as did all of the other characters. While the story isn’t quite concluded, and there was a bit of a rush to the end, the story provides a quirky and clever alternate moment in the life of Elizabeth and Darcy.
Stars: Overall 4 Narration 4 Story 4
Title: The Gallant Vicar: A Pride & Prejudice Variation
Author: Barbara Silkstone
Genre: Historical Fiction, Reimagined Classic
Narrator: Jannie Meisberger
Published by: Self-Produced
Published on: 25 February 2016
Audio Length: 5 Hours: 21 minutes
Heat: Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ AllRomance ♦ iTunes ♦ Kobo ♦ Downpour
In the GALLANT VICAR, Darcy and Elizabeth retain the same jousting banter contained in my MISTER DARCY SERIES, but they have now returned to their own time where insults are an art form and reputations the most valued of commodities.
What would happen if Mr. Collins finally snapped and Elizabeth might be the cause of his breakdown? What if he were replaced at the Hunsford parish by a charming, unwed vicar who arrives on the heels of Elizabeth’s rejection of Darcy?
Darcy is desperate to deconstruct the growing attachment Elizabeth feels for the new vicar. Determined to unearth the truth about the clergyman before Elizabeth is coerced into marriage, Darcy swings into action even as he fears he will appear to be jealous.
Will Darcy save the day? Will Elizabeth accept his help? And exactly who is the Gallant Vicar?
A copy of this title was provided via Author for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.