Darcy’s Voyage, a Pride and Prejudice variation, was originally published as Pemberley’s Promise and is Kara Louise’s debut novel. The main variation of Darcy’s Voyage is that Elizabeth and Darcy don’t meet in Meryton, they meet briefly in a carriage ride, and then again two years later on a boat headed towards America. It was during that carriage ride where the two unknown passengers left lasting impressions on each other.
Two years later Elizabeth and Darcy again meet while on board Darcy’s ship Pemberley’s Promise which is set to make berth in America. Darcy is going to pick-up Georgiana while Lizzie is going to meet her Aunt and Uncle Gardiner. (Neither recognized the other as the passenger from that carriage ride)While on board Elizabeth fascinates Darcy with what living below decks is like, never knowing he is the ship’s owner. A sickness soon begins to overtake those living below decks and Darcy becomes frightened for Elizabeth’s health.
“What do you know of Miss Bennet? I have not seen her yet today, and I know she has been aiding several down there who are unwell. Do you know if she has taken ill herself?”
Darcy finds out that Elizabeth is sick, and that his stately room has the only spare bed on-board the ship. He proposes to Elizabeth that they marry strictly for propriety so that she can take the extra bed in his room and get well. Elizabeth agrees to the plan and the two are married. Darcy promises that upon his return to England that he will have the marriage annulled. A week or so later she is completely well again, and starting to have feelings for Darcy. Unbeknownst to her Darcy has also fallen in love. The two believe that the other is play acting the role of doting spouse for appearances sake. On the final night aboard ship Darcy kisses Elizabeth. Elizabeth quietly scolds herself for allowing herself to want to be kissed by Darcy, knowing that he doesn’t love her. Embarrassed by her actions she hides from Darcy for the final night on board, awaking early to leave the boat and her fake marriage behind. Darcy on the other hand cannot wait to tell Elizabeth that he loves her and wants to keep their marriage intact. Darcy returns to their room only to find it empty. Distraught he drinks himself to sleep only to wake up and realize that Elizabeth has left the ship and possibly his life forever. Darcy vows to himself that he will not annul their marriage until he has found Elizabeth and told her how he truly feels about her. It is through this path that we see more of Austen’s original storyline. (i.e. Meryton assembly, Jane getting sick and staying at Netherfield, Lady Catherine’s explosion)
Darcy’s Voyage is probably my favorite Pride and Prejudice variation that I’ve read so far. Louise created an original storyline that was able to incorporate all of Austen’s original characters and conflicts. She chose different outcomes for some, most notably the Wickham/Lydia storyline, which made me exceedingly happy. Mr. Bennet, the Gardiners, and Colonel Fitzwilliam were also given larger roles, much to this reader’s pleasure. The interactions between Elizabeth and Darcy are some of my favorite that I’ve ever read. Louise got both characters really well. She lets the reader into both of their heads for the whole story, which gave a lot of insight into the characters inner thoughts and workings.
I highly recommend this for anyone who is a fan of Pride and Prejudice and would like to see what might have happened had Elizabeth and Darcy been thrust into each other’s company and forced to get to know each other. The only negative comment I have about the novel is that it ended!!
5 out of 5 stars
More reviews of Darcy’s Voyage at Diary of an Eccentric, Austenprose, and Austenesque.