Monday, January 27, 2014

Review: The Subsequent Proposal by Joana Starnes + Giveaway!!

Book Blurb:
A tale of pride, prejudice, and persuasion

A number of broken-hearted characters from Jane Austen’s best novels are thrown together by the vagaries of fate, and all manner of unwise decisions are taken at this vulnerable time. But then their past creeps up upon them – and what is there to do but face it, and hope that their convoluted paths will finally lead them to their proper place? 

“Elizabeth… Elizabeth… Elizabeth…” he murmured against her lips, her skin, her hair, and then her lips again. “I cannot forsake you! I cannot! I cannot lose you! I cannot bear to think of a life without you – ‘tis not worth living, ‘tis but a slow death! I cannot lose you! I beg you, do not send me away again! I love you! Elizabeth, I love you!” 

Friends, rivals, foes, wrong choices and a duel – Fitzwilliam Darcy’s life is never dull! ‘The Subsequent Proposal’ – a story that is primarily about him – follows Mr. Darcy in his struggles to decipher the troubling enigma of Elizabeth Bennet’s feelings – and to correct the worst misjudgement of his life… 

I’ve read lots of Pride and Prejudice variations, but none which crossed over with another Austen book as much as this one. What if, after the disastrous Hunsford proposal, Mr Darcy went off heartbroken, in the belief that Elizabeth Bennet would never reconsider her feelings towards him?  What if he felt he could never love another, but had found a friend in a lady who soothed his feelings and proved herself a genuine good friend to Georgiana? A friend who is unappreciated by her own family?  Darcy needs to marry at some point, and meeting and getting to know Miss Anne Elliot (from Persuasion) provides some balm to his wounds. He is persuaded by Colonel Fitzwilliam to think of matrimony and the story begins with Darcy actually proposing marriage to Anne (Nooooooo!).

Darcy is honest with her that he loves another, and Anne hints at her own disappointment in love. I felt quite sorry for Anne at this point, but let’s be honest, a loveless but respectful marriage with a good man would be better than having to live with HER relatives.  Sir Walter insists on a long engagement that will not be announced for some time, to give Miss Elizabeth Elliot chance to make a match rather than see the indignity of having two younger sisters marry before her (although there is no delay mentioned in Persuasion Captain Wentworth is less of a catch financially than Darcy, so I felt this was plausible). After sealing their tepid deal, Anne goes to stay with Lady Russell, and Darcy back to town.  Here he meets with Bingley who tells him that both of the elder Miss Bennets have been to Pemberley while travelling with the Gardiners, in the company of one of Mrs Gardiner’s school friends, Mrs Croft, her husband and her brother, Captain Wentworth, who seems disposed to court one of the Misses Bennet.  Darcy feels that his interference in Bingley’s affairs may have cost his friend his happiness so he sets off to Hertfordshire to give him what assistance he can, meaning that he crosses the path of Elizabeth Bennet once more, and starts to hope that her feelings towards him may have changed, even though it’s too late...

I thoroughly enjoyed this book.  The story is told in the third person, but we are privy to Darcy’s thoughts and passionate feelings, which makes his decisions easier to understand. The early parts of it where Darcy is dealing with his misery were almost painful to read, but were really compelling. Once Darcy has hopes that Elizabeth has changed her mind towards him he is almost as miserable, because he’s not in a position to propose.  He is also very jealous of Captain Wentworth, who makes no secret of his plans to propose to Elizabeth, and the two men have a mutual distrust and dislike which was almost comedic, there are many looks of loathing directed at each other!

Poor Anne is almost completely forgotten by Darcy as he interacts with the bewitching Miss Bennet and gets caught up in events relating to the Bennet family. I felt even more sorry for Anne at this point, but knowing that she is supposed to end up married to Captain Wentworth, the man she loves really helped me forgive Darcy’s behaviour in overlooking his responsibilities somewhat.

“His first, his only thought had been of her. Her happiness, her comfort.  Not Georgiana’s, and certainly not Anne’s.”

Although there are the characters from two Austen books here it’s very much a Pride and Prejudice variation.  We see very little of Anne, and other characters from Persuasion such as Sir Walter are only in the story briefly.  Characters from Pride and Prejudice such as Jane and Mr Bingley play a larger part in the story, and I felt that they were really captured well.  I particularly liked the affectionate way the embarrassing and voluble Mrs Bennet was portrayed:
“Mrs Bennet had taken up her post at one of the tall windows that overlooked the garden – and if the curtains did not twitch, it was only due to her mastery of the art.”

I felt this story had everything; there was emotion, there was passion, there was a lot of humour and a big tangle to unravel to ensure that both of our couples got a happy ending.  I read it in one sitting and I thoroughly enjoyed it. This is the first book I’ve read this year and what a way to begin! I’d recommend this book without hesitation, I really did love it.

*Review written by Leatherbound Reviews contributor Ceri Taint

Connect with Joana Starnes
Read It Now!
Kindle | Nook


Joana Starnes is kindly offering ONE (1) ebook copy of The Subsequent Proposal for giveaway!!
To enter: Comment on this review
You MUST leave email or Twitter handle so I know how to contact the winner!
For extra entries, you can tweet this review once daily. Just comment with your tweet URL for the entry.
Giveaway ends February 3, 2014!
Best of luck!!


  1. As I have bought this book but not got round to reading it yet, your review has made me move the book up my pile of 'to read books'

    1. Hi, Susan!

      Hope you'll like it! Thanks for popping by, lovely to 'see' you again :)

  2. Lovely review, Ceri! I have heard such good things about this story and your review made me all the more eager to read it! Thanks for the giveaway!!:)

    1. Hi, Kelli

      Ceri's review is absolutely fantastic (thanks, Ceri!!!) and I'm so glad it caught your eye! Good luck in the giveaway and thanks for commenting!

  3. Enjoyed your review, Ceri! I haven't read this one yet, but it sounds good. Very creative how it blended the two stories.

    sophiarose1816 at gmail dot com

    1. Thanks, Sophia Rose - and many thanks to Ceri :)

      Good luck in the giveaway!

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. I'm glad Ceri enjoyed this one - it's definitely on my wishlist!


    1. I tweeted:


    2. Thanks for visiting and chirping, Monica, much appreciated!!
      Good luck, and I hope you'll enjoy it!

  6. I am intrigued by this unique twist. Thank you for the giveaway!
    cherringtonmb at sbcglobal dot net

    1. Hi, Becky
      Glad it caught your eye! Thanks for popping by and good luck in the giveaway!

  7. This book sounds fantastic! I'm going to have to get my hands on a copy because of all the Austenesque books I've reviewed, I don't remember having read a crossover. Sounds like a breath of fresh air in the genre.

    diaryofaneccentric at hotmail dot com

    1. Hi, Anna
      I'm so glad to hear that - THANKS !!!

      I just thought that, if we look at them as real people who might have lived in Jane Austen's world, then why wouldn't they have run into each other? After all, they must have moved in the same circles, and it was a small world ;)

      I'm delighted you like the idea, and I hope you'll like the book too! Good luck!

  8. The prospect of this much dramatic tension has me drooling! Congratulations not only on the great review, but on just having such a great idea and running with it.


    1. Hi, Suzan

      Thanks so much!!

      I'm actually surprised it hasn't been done before because Darcy and Anne are just so similar, and so are Elizabeth and Capt Wentworth!

      It's just as well that 'opposites attract', then :D because, wild ideas like this aside, we just can't end up with non-canon pairings!!!

  9. Thank you, everyone, for your comments! I think Joana's book should be added to any Janeite's TBR list. Like Anna said, I, too, don't recall reading any book that is a crossover, having character from both P&P and Persuasion interact.
    I am a sucker for a jealous Darcy and Wentworth! I am dying to read The Subsequent Proposal just to see two of my favorite heroes become jealous! :)
    Best of luck to everyone in the giveaway! :)
    And THANK YOU, Joana, for the lovely giveaway! :)

    1. Hi, Jakki!

      Thanks for the kind words and all your help, it's great to feature at 'Leatherbound Reviews'!!

      I know, I'm a complete sucker for it too, isn't it fun to think of them strutting about and looking daggers at each other? :D

      Hope you'll like the book, and thanks again for everything!

  10. Thank you all for your kind comments :) I hope you enjoy this story as much as I did. I wasn't sure how I'd cope with seeing Darcy being promised to somebody else, particularly somebody who I can't hate, but knowing that Anne still loves Captain Wentworth just made you wish all the more for the mess to be unravelled and I so enjoyed seeing my two favourite Austen heroes having a jealous dislike of one another!

    1. Thank YOU, Ceri, for the amazing review!

      I'm so glad you enjoyed it and I do apologise for my shock-horror tactics :) !

      I just though that perhaps my first book was too tame, so I should start the second with a bang LOL but I must admit that the idea of a jealous Wentworth and a jealous Darcy scowling at each other was a massive incentive to carry on :D

      Thanks again for the review and see you soon!

  11. I’m looking forward to reading The Subsequent Proposal—thanks for a great review! I’m always concerned that Pride and Prejudice retellings will try to re-write Austen’s work, without creating enough distance from the original. Based on your review, I can see the overlap, and it sounds like a success :) .

  12. Thanks so much for the kind words and for popping over to comment.

    Hope you like what I've done with P&P&Pers and good luck in the giveaway!


    Tweeted again!