Two centuries . . .
Two men who love the same woman . . .
Two prayers fervent enough to shift time . . .
Endless questions and possibilities . . .
What would a man give for a second chance at love?
What would he sacrifice to keep it?
What if the proud, arrogant Fitzwilliam Darcy of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice never changed after his disastrous proposal to Elizabeth Bennet at Hunsford?
What if the humbled man who successfully courted her was not the same Mr. Darcy?
In Accidentally Yours, Book 1 of the Yours by Design Christian fantasy romance series, the lives of two men are turned upside down when they both fall in love with the same woman.
Austenesque fiction is known for utilizing the “What If?” concept. What if Jane Austen’s characters took a different turn? What if their reality was somehow skewed in a slightly different way? Robin M. Helm makes use of this motif in her three-part series, Yours by Design, which begins with the volume Accidentally Yours. In this initial title, we find a Fitzwilliam Darcy who is an actual historical character, not a fictional creation at all. Jane Austen knows of him through a relative, and will ultimately base her Darcy of Pride and Prejudice on this living, breathing individual. Centuries later, another Darcy is alive and well in modern-day Atlanta, Georgia. His family roots can be traced back to England, and in one particularly remarkable moment, he utters a prayer which leads to the transportation of his consciousness into the body of the 19th century Fitzwilliam Darcy. Likewise, the form of the modern “Will” is now inhabited by the Regency-era mind of his ancestor.
Initially both men are bewildered and confused, but in due course they come to some acceptance of their new states of existence. Life in their new centuries begins to take on some sense of normalcy as they work to adapt and fit into the new time periods that God has seemingly sent them to. Modern Will seems to adapt with little hesitation, as he recognizes his world as that of the one found in Pride and Prejudice. He assumes he must be dreaming, but resolves to assimilate himself into the life of Fitzwilliam Darcy in order to meet the woman of his dreams, Elizabeth Bennet. Regency Fitzwilliam is not quite so nimble in his new role, finding the modern world to be strange and utterly foreign in both geography and culture. A friend of Will’s introduces Fitzwilliam to the world of Jane Austen, primarily through the 1995 BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, and he begins to see his 19th century life in a new way.
Accidentally Yours is an interesting premise, one that I haven’t explored in my six years as a fan of Austenesque fiction. The concept does require quite a suspension of disbelief, but Robin Helm writes in a light, entertaining manner that charms me into believing in this scenario. It is not an impossibility that Fitzwilliam Darcy truly was a real person. Perhaps we haven’t discovered the proof of this as of yet. The swapping of consciousnesses is another matter altogether. Helm is a strong Christian and makes her beliefs very clear in her writing, and she attributes the altered states of the Darcy men as acts of God. While I’ve never heard of this type of supernatural happening, it doesn’t seem completely implausible when we consider the abilities of the Creator of the universe!
I’d heard rumors that the elder Darcy’s character was a distasteful one, and thus far, I would have to concur. He’s a pretentious, spoiled, prat of a man. In truth, I don’t like him very much. No sensible Elizabeth Bennet would ever be charmed by this man-child, no matter how wealthy he might be. In contrast, I highly enjoyed the chapters that were devoted to the modern Will, now seemingly residing in 19th century England. He is a man of honor, faith, integrity and more than deserves to be with Elizabeth.
I will withhold my opinion on the series as a whole until I’ve had the opportunity to read the entire trilogy, but thus far Robin Helm is off to a good start with Accidentally Yours. My hope is that she improves upon the character of Fitzwilliam Darcy, and also finds a way to fulfill the aspirations of the upstanding Will Darcy at the same time. Otherwise I would say that the story will be very lopsided, with a highly enjoyable Regency tale on one face, with a weak, frustrating narrative on the other. However, given the strengths that I’ve seen in Helm’s writing for Will, I have faith that she has some interesting episodes in store for us. We just might witness the metamorphosis of a pretentious man, struggling in our modern day world, to a man no longer lonely, abiding not only in our world, but also in the body of Christ.
Author Robin M. Helm has graciously offered two copies of Accidentally Yours. One copy will be a Kindle edition for our international readers, and a U.S. winner may choose between an autographed paperback or the Kindle edition. Contest period ends on November 28th at 12am EST. Please use the Rafflecopter widget below for your contest entry.
About the Author
Robin M. Helm is the author of a modern Christian fantasy fiction series, The Guardian Trilogy, which includes Guardian, SoulFire, and Legacy. She has also published the Yours by Design series, a Christian Regency/Modern Romance with a paranormal element. Accidentally Yours, Sincerely Yours, and Forever Yours are all available for purchase in both e-book and print formats.
Mrs. Helm shares a blog, Jane Started It, with the other writers of the Crown Hill Writers' Guild, and is one of the founders and administrators of BeyondAusten.com, a website for readers with common interests. She also has published three Regency short stories, "First Kiss," "The Prize," and "Treasure Chest," which can be read on Jane Started It on her author's page or at BeyondAusten.com. She has one husband, one granddaughter, two daughters, two sons-in-law, four family dogs, five part-time jobs, and six published books.
Mrs. Helm is the Associate in Music and Music Academy Director at her church, the interim choir director, a piano teacher, and an elementary music teacher. She formerly taught high school English.
She graduated with a BA from Piedmont International University. She is a member of the Delta Epsilon Chi honor society, the American Legion Auxiliary, JASNA, and the scholarship faculty of the United States Achievement Academy.
Connect with Robin M. Helm