In this book C. P. Odom explores two alternate realities where the consequences of Elizabeth’s refusal at Hunsford for the characters in Pride and Prejudice are very different. We all know that one small change in the plot may have a big impact, but C.P. Odom took this idea to the extreme and wrote a book that may not be very consensual, but that is certainly unforgettable.
The first two chapters of Consequences are very similar to Pride and Prejudice, and only in chapter three the reader is introduced to some pivotal changes. It is at this moment we start to realize how the story could have taken a different turn, and when it became interesting to me.
Consequences is composed of two parts and I believe most readers will find great satisfaction upon reading the second part, which is certainly the more consensual one. I actually preferred part one, which is much darker and filled with pain and grieve, but real and deep. The ending of that first part was not a satisfactory one, but we do get closure, and I personally loved it. In it Mr. Darcy never sees Elizabeth at Pemberley, and their last encounter was at Hunsfurd when she refused his offer of marriage. We will then follow Elizabeth’s life for the next forty years, and many sad events take place as her father dies and the entire family is shunned. The reader may not want to read about this, but the truth is that this could have happened if they hadn’t seen each other at Pemberley and it made me think about the consequences harsh words may have in our lives without us realizing it.
The second part is a much happier tale and most readers will prefer it, but I confess it wasn’t very stimulating for me to read it. The characters all have happy endings, but the plot was somehow repetitive for my taste. In it Charlotte plays a big role because she talks to Elizabeth prior to Mr. Darcy’s proposal and convinces her to think matters through in case he does propose. Because of her promise to Charlotte, and the upsetting dream she had the previous night, Elizabeth’s actions are more sedate, and the upcoming events have a completely different outcome. I wasn’t as fond of this Elizabeth as I was of the Elizabeth in the first part of the book, and her love for Darcy on the first part felt more real to me.
Overall, I did like this book, especially because it did something I had never seen before and which took a lot of courage to pull through. Consequences occupies it’s own place in the JAFF universe and I must thank a dear friend for recommending it to me years ago! This is definitely one that should not be missed due to it’s infrequent approach. Not all readers will like it, but they should not refrain from reading this provoking take on Pride and Prejudice.
Neil Roy McFarlane is a very talented narrator and I’ve listened to other books narrated by him that I’ve enjoyed immensely, but in Consequences his narration failed to engaged be, so I’m considering it Mary Bennet’s level. It is not a bad narration, but it didn’t captivate me either.
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