Saturday, February 18, 2017

Book Review and Giveaway: Darcy's Hope at Donwell Abbey by Ginger Monette

1917. Amidst the chaos of WW1, Captain Fitzwilliam Darcy has won the heart of Elizabeth Bennet. Finally.

Then she disappears.

Still reeling from the loss, Darcy is struck by a battlefield tragedy that leaves him in a dark and silent world.

Sent to Donwell Abbey to recover, he's coaxed back to life by an extraordinary nurse. A woman whose uncanny similarities to Elizabeth invite his admiration and entice his affections.

His heart tells him to hold on to Elizabeth. His head tells him to take a chance with his nurse.

But Donwell Abbey holds a secret that just might change everything.

Escape to the era of Downton Abbey in this enthralling stand-alone sequel* to Darcy's Hope ~ Beauty from Ashes that includes appearances by John Thornton, Margaret Hale, Colonel Brandon, Marianne Dashwood, and descendants of George Knightley.

As a fan of Pride and Prejudice as well as the BBC television series Downton Abbey, I was intrigued with Ginger Monette’s concept of bringing these two worlds together, in some senses. No, we do not have the characters of Downton in the story (although Lady Almina of Highclere Castle is mentioned), but we do have the World War I-era setting, as well as many of the social and economic trappings found in Downtown. Many of Jane Austen’s characters, not only from Pride and Prejudice, but from other novels as well, make appearances.  The most notable characters are the leading man and woman, Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet.  In this universe, Darcy is still Lord of Pemberley, but he is also a captain in the army.  Elizabeth takes on the role of a nurse.

Darcy’s Hope at Donwell Abbey is the second in Ginger Monette’s Great War Romance series, with Darcy’s Hope: Beauty from Ashes being the first title. I don’t usually begin a book series out of sequence, but I decided to start with Donwell Abbey first. I can say that my lack of knowledge of the events of Beauty from Ashes did impede my reading somewhat at the beginning, and near the very end of the book.  Monette does do her best to fill new readers in on the narrative of the previous title, but there were still times when I felt a bit lost.

That being said, I pushed through those moments of disorientation, as there were other elements that kept my interest.  Before long, Donwell Abbey took on a life of its own, and I was fully ensconced in the tale.  This became particularly true after some dramatic events befall Captain Darcy while out on the battlefield.  As the details of Darcy’s fate are not mentioned in the book description, I will keep this review spoiler-free.  Suffice it to say, the plot picked up the pace quite a bit after these events, and I became more intrigued than ever.

Ginger Monette’s writing is quite enjoyable.  She retains the spirit of Austen’s characters, although they are embedded into a world that Austen herself never knew. I loved the cameo appearances of other Austen characters, as well as characters from author Elizabeth Gaskell. Monette could have simply created new characters of her own to fulfill those roles, but I enjoyed the fact that well-loved names were employed to do the job.

Overall I must applaud Ginger in her work on Darcy’s Hope at Donwell Abbey.  Her attention to historical detail is excellent, and while there is a bit of mild language and war violence, overall this was an entertaining, clean romance that I could recommend to anyone.  She deftly handled the romantic tension, ratcheting up the romantic pressure bit by bit as the story went on.  Near the end, I could not turn the pages fast enough, engulfed as I was in wanting to know how the story would play out.

The only caveat I have to my recommendation would be to perhaps begin the series with the first book, Darcy’s Hope: Beauty from Ashes, so that you can avoid the moments of puzzlement that I felt in my lack of knowledge.  This in no way diminishes my approval of Donwell Abbey.  I simply feel that this is one of those series that is best read in chronological order. Kudos to Ginger Monette for a job well done in Darcy’s Hope at Donwell Abbey.  I look forward to taking in more of her work in the future!

Feb 5: VVB32 Reads
Feb 20: Austenesque Reviews
Feb 21: More than Thornton
Feb 22: Margie's Must Reads
Feb 23: Delighted Reader
Feb 24: Becky's Book Reviews
Feb 25: Darcyholic Diversions
Feb 26: Linda Andrews
Feb 27: Every Woman Dreams
Feb 28: Tomorrow is Another Day

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About the Author

The teacher always learns the most. And in homeschooling her children, Ginger Monette learned all the history she missed in school. Now she's hooked—on writing and World War I.

When not writing, Ginger enjoys dancing on the treadmill, watching period dramas, public speaking, and reading—a full-length novel every Sunday afternoon.

In 2015, her WW1 flash fiction piece, Flanders Field of Grey, won Charlotte Mecklenburg Library's “Picture This” grand prize.

Ginger lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, where she happily resides with her husband, three teenagers, and two loyal dogs.

Connect with Ginger Monette

Book 1 Paperback Book 1 Kindle Book 2 Paperback Book 2 Kindle

(Sale price refers to Kindle edition)


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