I believe my feelings for Unequal Affection were very similar to Elizabeth’s feelings towards Mr. Darcy. At first I did not like it. But the more time I spent with it, the more it captivated me and I ended up loving it.
Unequal Affection explores the possibility of Elizabeth accepting Mr. Darcy’s proposal at Hunsford. The proposal itself is not written in the book, so we do not know how it was delivered, but we do see Elizabeth asking Darcy for some time to think about it.
This first part of the book was not very appealing for me because it was too logical. Elizabeth kept thinking about the reasons for accepting or refusing Darcy. It almost felt mathematical with her pondering the pros and cons. Also, despite all this, I can truly say I still do not know why she accepted him, or why he accepted to marry her knowing she did not love him and was doing it because of his income.
This is a premise that is not very appealing for me because even if I can understand that Elizabeth may accept Mr. Darcy thinking on the comfort and security of her family, I still find it hard to believe Mr. Darcy would have the same love and respect for Elizabeth, had she decided to marry him for his money and situation in life.
If you have the same opinion as me, you will only need to overcome this initial part of the book, because after all the thinking the book becomes really, really good and I think most readers would enjoy it immensely. If unlike me you do not find this premise demotivating, then you will certainly love the book.
Since the beginning of the book the dialogues got my attention because they are incredibly good! I would say they sounded just like Jane Austen’s, and they are certainly some of the best dialogues I’ve ever read in JAFF literature.
One of the things I loved the most in the book was the way Elizabeth handled Caroline Bingley. It was magnificent, and it was partly the responsibility of the dialogues. I believe this author was able to achieve in perfection what many others try to do; to present a witty Elizabeth who is able to defend herself from Miss Bingley with intelligence, class and no need to be blunt about subjects. Lara S. Ormiston was able to do this in a way that I believe Jane Austen herself would do.
It was also very interesting to see how Elizabeth was able to demonstrate to Darcy that his disdain for her neighbours was offending and affecting their feelings, how she showed him the value of each one of them despite their follies, and how they might feel keenly his disdain. This was done at a much later stage than in Pride and Prejudice, but in an equally wonderful manner.
I also enjoyed immensely how Wickham knew exactly how to hurt Darcy. I believe this was the wickedest Wickham I’ve seen in JAFF. In this book he doesn’t plan any kidnap or any maquiavelic action, but he is wicked in the way he purposely hurts Darcy. I liked this about him.
With all I’ve said, I’m sure you’ve already realised I was already in the middle of my love story with this book before I even realised it, and the last chapters were the cherry on top of the cake! They give us a description of Darcy and Elizabeth so true to themselves, a description of their love that is so accurate, and so intense and romantic, that I didn’t want the book to end.
I liked the last chapters so much, I do not resist to leave you with one of my favourite passages:
“He was not strange now, his mouth and arms were familiar; more, they were dear. They were …she pressed herself a little closer, hands curling around his collar…they were love and security; they were long talks and burning looks; they were faithfulness, and selflessness, honor and pobity. Everything that he had been to her, everything that he was, best of men, most difficult, most good, most intriguing and maddening and trustworthy and desirable of men”
Unequal Affection is available at:
Amazon.com – Unequal Affection
Amazon.co.uk – Unequal Affections: A Pride and Prejudice Retelling