Meryton Vignettes is a compilation of six vignettes featuring several characters from Pride & Prejudice that took me completely by surprise.
First of all, I had never seen a book of vignettes. It is true that there are several compilations of short stories, but these are not exactly short stories, they are as the name indicates small pieces that could perfectly be integrated in a short story or novel. Now, you may wonder what are the advantages of reading just a vignette and not a full story, and I’ll tell you that apart from the delight of having just a glimpse of our beloved characters when we don’t have much time to read a full story, it is the possibility of having any kind of moment ahead of you and exploring many paths that would be blocked if the writer was writing a full story. The sky is the limit with vignettes and authors can write just about anything, that is precisely what Elizabeth Adams did.
Unlike all expectations, these vignettes are not centered in Darcy and Elizabeth. They do appear is some of the stories, but Elizabeth Adams choose to portray several other characters that are usually disregarded, and she did so in an astonishing way! She developed moments in these characters lives I never expected to read in any JAFF story, and to be frank, I don’t even think I will read some of these moments in the near future. She showed us a side of these characters that is usually not shown and they are not embellished to be part of a book, they are raw material, and I loved that!
But I will give you a brief description of the vignettes and my opinion on each one of them so you can understand what I mean.
Mistress of Longbourn
In this opening vignette, Charlotte returns to Longbourn 17 years after her marriage to Mr. Collins. I loved the tone of this vignette and to see everyone’s reaction to this event. It was the first time I read this particular moment occurring and it was interesting to see it from Charlotte’s POV.
There was one question that was left unanswered for me, but I have no doubts about Charlotte’s ability to become the Mistress of Longbourn, or Mr. Collins ability to become it’s master… Mrs. Bennet may have been a silly woman, but it will not be easy for Charlotte to fill her shoes as Mistress of one of the most proeminente estates in the neighbourhood 🙂
Life After Darcy
This snippet shows us Caroline Bingley’s life after Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth’s wedding. We will go through her feelings of rejection, anger and injustice until she is ready to move on, and when she does, we will see her as she truly is, as the real Caroline Bingley. In this story she will find her match who will give her a valuable lesson! I loved to see Caroline Bingley finally understanding what is most important in life and this was one of my favorite stories in the book. I reckon everyone will like this one 🙂
In this story we will see Lizzy’s attachment and developing relationship throughout the years to Jack Turner, the son of one of her father’s tenants. She will remember all the important moments in their relationship and consider how a true affection feels like. It is an impossible relationship of course, and it never goes beyond a friendship, but still it bothered me a little to see Elizabeth caring so much for someone who is not Mr. Darcy.
To Do Her Duty
Mrs. Bennet is the main character in this vignette, and it was the first time I ever saw her taking the leading role!
The story is told from Mrs. Bennet POV which I absolutely loved and will show a side of her that is very rarely portrayed. It was the first time I saw her go through a pregnancy and it was so touching I actually cried!! I really did! It is among my favorites in this book 🙂
To Fool a Fool
Prepare yourselves, this vignette describes the wedding night of Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Collins. You heard me right, Elizabeth Adams did create this vignette. Don’t you think it takes a lot of courage to do that? I was shocked and amazed with To Fool a Fool, and I doubt any author will venture on writing that particular night in any other book. It takes a lot of bravery to write that night and Elizabeth Adams was not intimidated. However, do not fear! I will not give any details not to spoil it for you, but it is not as bad as it may seem 🙂
It is a bit humorous and ridiculous at the same time 🙂
He Had it Coming
This is the longest story in the book and it will focus on Lydia’s life after her wedding to Mr. Wickham. There are some books based on Lydia’s character, but this was the first time I saw a story so advanced in time and so dark. Seven years after her marriage, and tired of suffering abuses from her husband, Lydia sends a distress call to her sister Elizabeth who will come to her rescue. As I mentioned this is the longest vignette in the book and many events will occur in it. I will not say much more because I truly do not want to spoil it to you, but this is also on my top 3 favorite stories in the book. It is very, very good. I liked that Elizabeth Adams didn’t take a soft approach towards Lydia’s life and that she was not afraid to show us how miserable it was. I loved to see the development of Lydia’s character and the ending of course 🙂 After so much suffering, you can hope for a happy ending 🙂
I believe this compilation of vignettes is something every Janeite will like because not only it will give us the company of characters that are often overlooked, but it is also completely innovative in the premises! I have read scenes I never expected to read in a JAFF book and was amazed, shocked, grieved, merry and content at the same time. This is a delicious book with an interesting concept that I truly recommend.
You can find Meryton Vignettes: Tales of Pride & Prejudice in:
***It’s giveaway time***
Elizabeth Adams would like to offer one copy of Meryton Vignettes: Tales of Pride & Prejudice to my readers. The giveaway is international and is open until the 2nd of December, all you have to do is comment on this post and share your thoughts on this book or the author. If you want to double your chances of winning, comment on the excertp post published on the 21st of November. Entries in both posts will be considered for the giveaway.
Good Luck everyone!