Review copy was received from Publisher. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
The Saving of Elizabeth Darcy by Don Jacobson
Series: Bennett Wardrobe #8
on February 14, 2022
Genres: Romance, Science Fiction
Long has the amazing Bennet Wardrobe involved itself in the affairs of Longbourn. Where before its actions have been cloaked in mystery, its purpose now becomes clear. The fey cabinet has molded the universes to strike a balance that can be achieved only by saving the greatest love story ever told.
Follow the paths taken by Pemberley’s master and mistress after their children are grown. See Elizabeth Darcy struggle to rekindle the love glow that has dimmed after a quarter century. Grasp the unaccountable pain her departure levels upon the entire Derbyshire family. Watch Fitzwilliam Darcy learn that which he must in order to become the best version of himself: worthy of his Elizabeth.
From the very first book, there has been something fascinating and different about this Bennet Wardrobe series that brings together time travel, fantasy, and Jane Austen’s best known characters. As the series moved into the final moments, my anticipation grew more acute and I was thrilled to arrive at The Grail and take this final journey of the heart with Elizabeth, William, and so many more beloved characters.
The Grail is the eighth of a strongly connected series. This one wouldn’t make a lick of sense read standalone or even out of order, for that matter.
The first full-length introduced a magical wardrobe, the Bennet family of travelers, and the rules of the wardrobe. The Bennet’s kept the future on target, thwarting others who would use the wardrobe for greed and power, and found their own paths to lasting love and fulfillment. This last brings the final story focused on the second Bennet daughter and wrapping up the mystery of the wardrobe and the greater Bennet family destiny.
Elizabeth and William are in their middle aged and happily married for years, but now Elizabeth feels her husband drawing within himself and shutting her out. Why? But, then, there are more terrible things to worry about for the family when Elizabeth contracts typhus. In the mid-1800s, this is practically a death sentence, but the Bennet sisters make a bold plan to save their beloved sister- through the Wardrobe.
In the aftermath, her devastated husband must somehow find a will to live on without the light and love of his life. If readers have read the A Thornhill Christmas novella, this part of the book will be very familiar. This leads to an adventure to America’s interior and a time of internal growth for William Darcy. One is left wondering about this cherished couple’s fate.
The Grail had three parts. This makes sense because there are major changes in plot, time period, characters, and setting. I read through it rather quickly as I was caught up in the early story, William’s adventure, and the building tension as to how the pair would be brought together even as William grew into his senior years. I was tracking with this book and fully into it after I hit that third part marker until I wasn’t.
I am as surprised as the next person to admit that I was most taken with the first two- okay right into half-way on the third part. Usually the end of a book elicits the strongest response, but I found the mystic elements that were brought to the forefront and as well as the answer to who, what and why behind the wardrobe’s seeming sentience was all too esoteric for me. I preferred the prosaic storyline of how the characters ultimately made out.
What I loved was the deeply emotional journey Elizabeth and William faced from reconnecting as a middle-aged couple grappling with empty nest, mortality, and the ordinary work to keep a marriage vitalized and from there, facing the crisis of losing a spouse and forced to go on alone with grief. Tears were shed, no lie. I also loved seeing the sisters in a relationship deeper than it had been when they were growing up together and living under the same roof. The extended family including future generations carrying on the torch was fabulous, too.
The fun addition of real life historical figures and fictitious famous literary ones continued into this series. I swooned at the mention of James Bond and a certain John Milton of North and South fame.
In summary, this series was sensational and dug deep into my reader emotions hooking me to story and characters. It was something out of the ordinary the way the time travel element was used. This is for those who enjoy authentic historical background, sweet romance, detailed worldbuilding, and extended and variety in relationships and characters. Definitely give this genre mashup a whirl.
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