Il club di Jane Austen – Darcy’s hope at Donwell abbey
Darcy’s hope at Donwell Abbey is a stand-alone novel; nevertheless, in my opinion, to be fully enjoyed it must follow the first volume of the saga by Ginger Monette, Darcy’s hope – Beauty from ashes. Even if the author is good at explaining the background on which is based the story, I think if you miss reading the first volume, you can’t fully experience the second one.
The story picks up where we left it, that is with the two main characters that have finally reached their happy ending, and do nothing but wait for the end of the war to crown their dream of love. But you know, periods of war are very difficult and always create problems. When, in fact, Darcy reaches his beloved Pemberley for Christmas leave, instead of enjoying the holidays with his beloved Elizabeth, he is desperate because of her absence.
Lizzy, in fact, believing to be suspected as a spy for the enemy, and, fearing for her life and to tarnish the honour of her beloved Captain Darcy, with an extreme sacrifice of love decides to step aside and disappear forever.
Lizzy or Juliet?
As if the story so far was not painful enough, when prompted at the front, Darcy suffers serious injuries in battle. He is sent to Donwell Abbey, now a military hospital, to heal.
The harrowing battle scenes, very well described by the author, are the most frustrating and dramatic scenes in the book. As in the first volume, in fact, there is the reality of the soldiers who were injured while serving their country during the WWI, but who are struggling to recover from their trauma. One of these men is Darcy. He in addition to the struggle of physical recovering has to cope also with his grief over the loss of Elizabeth.
Darcy finds himself at a crossroads: building a new life with his nurse Juliet or remain forever linked to the memory of Elizabeth?
Between “Pride and Prejudice” and “Downton Abbey”
As a sequel, the story deviates from the plot of Pride and prejudice that had been traced in the first volume of the saga. I also found that the characters are a little bit different from the original ones. But overall I find them cut for their role in the story. In fact, I liked that it was shown Darcy’s fragility and I appreciated Elizabeth’s strength. But what I liked the most was the way in which nurse Juliet took care of patients, with passion and dedication.
The thing that I liked about this second volume is the background on which the characters are moved. With the pretext of having turned Donwell Abbey, home of Knightleys, in a military hospital, the story of Pride and prejudice is transported into the world of Downton Abbey. To confirm all this there is the presence of some new characters, and in particular of aunt Eliza, who, while mimicking and replacing the figure of Lady Catherine, reminds me of the Dowager Crawley.
The reading was very smooth, although during the second half of the book I felt a bit frustrated because I wanted to get faster to the resolution of the events. I wish I could have read even a few chapters from the point of view of Margaret Hale and John Thornton, main characters of North and south that make an appearance in the story, and from the colonel Fitzwilliam and a certain love interest…