“Elizabeth: Obstinate, Headstrong Girl” is a collection of ten short stories, each offering the reader an alternative Elizabeth Bennet, or perhaps it is better to say the same Elizabeth Bennet but one who finds herself in very different circumstances.
I’ve just finished the first story, “Resolution” by Amy D’Orazio and it was so good it made me want to lock myself away with this book until its done but I’m determined to savour each story and not rush through this.
“Resolution” opens with:
“It was two weeks until the wedding when by chance I saw him.”
It is soon revealed that the “him” is Mr Darcy.
My reaction to this news, (after going “Oh, no!” and having to explain to my wife what I was reading) was to ask four questions that turn out to drive the structure of the story:
How can Elizabeth agree to marry someone else?
How did she come not to be married to Darcy?
How will Elizabeth live with this?
How can this be fixed?
Amy D’Orazio did a wonderful job of answering these question in a way that gave me an Elizabeth that I believed in, had me rooting for her to marry Darcy and left me entirely uncertain as to whether such a happy resolution, no matter how devoutly it was wished for, could be reached.
The tension is amplified by having each chapter open by counting down the days to a wedding that, by the end of the first chapter, you know you don’t want to happen.
Amy D’Orazio’s touch is light, her pace is perfect and her handling of Elizabeth and Darcy is confident and sure.
I loved the link that Amy D’Orazio makes with “Romeo And Juliet”. Elizabeth, remembering her summer in Derbyshire with Darcy, echoes Juliet by saying:
Was it any surprise that I found myself falling in love with him when we met in Derbyshire that summer? As Shakespeare himself said: “My only love sprung from my only hate! Too early seen unknown, and known too late!”
Of course, I kept turning the pages and hoping that Elizabeth and Darcy would be too sensible and too English to drink poison and would find another way.