Thursday, June 19, 2014

Review: The Second Chance by Joana Starnes + Giveaway!

Earlier this year I read and really enjoyed The Subsequent Proposal by Joana Starnes which featured characters of both Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion. When Jakki kindly offered me the opportunity to read The Second Chance by Joana, I read the blurb, and seeing that it featured characters from both Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice I assumed that it would be similar to The Subsequent Proposal but actually it was quite different.

The Second Chance diverges from Pride and Prejudice pretty early on. The story begins at Netherfield, where Elizabeth has gone to nurse her sister, and Darcy has realised how the second Miss Bennet bewitches him and is fighting hard against it. Elizabeth receives a note informing her of her father being found unconscious. Mr Darcy is very comforting to her when she receives this awful news, and offers the practical assistance of sending for his doctor from town. Elizabeth begins to see that perhaps she has had an overly-harsh perception of Mr Darcy initially, and he is a better, more feeling man than she previously gave him credit for. In Pride and Prejudice, Elizabeth is in the early stages of her dislike of Darcy at this point, and much of this is done away by his solicitous behaviour towards her. So much so, that when a Mr Wickham arrives on the scene and tells her a tale of woe regarding Mr Darcy’s behaviour Elizabeth is not particularly disposed to give it much credence.

Although Mr Bennet recovers, he is diagnosed with a heart problem. He could survive for some time or drop down dead, leaving his widow and daughters destitute. By this point Mr Collins has arrived and has made his position clear. Mr Darcy is rather more in love with Elizabeth at this point than in canon and he makes a crazy decision. Rather than chance that Elizabeth may choose to sacrifice herself to ensure her sisters’ future security Darcy decides to give her an alternative option. He feels that he is unable to marry her, as her family is unacceptable, but he could secure her financial future. He has a smaller estate that he decides to sign over to her family, pretending that it has been left to Mr Bennet by an old university friend, who wished to remain anonymous. This sounds extremely generous, and it is, but it’s also gambling with the Bennets’ respectability – if anybody found out that the Bennets had been given an estate by an unrelated man there would probably be an assumption that one of the Miss Bennets was his mistress, and it could have ruined their whole family. It’s a pretty selfish action considering that he would be gambling with their respectability and reducing his family’s fortune in one fell swoop and the only reason he’s doing it is to try to prevent Elizabeth marrying before he’s had chance to get over her. If any of the Bennets or their relations find out it’s likely that they would be extremely offended, and Darcy’s motives could easily be misinterpreted.

As it happens, by the time Mr Bennet passes away Mrs Bennet and her daughters wouldn’t have been destitute as two of them have already married and are in a position to support their mother and sisters. But, being in possession of the Farringdon Estate in Devon, they move there, where they meet some characters who we would know from Sense and Sensibility - Sir John and Lady Middleton, Colonel Brandon and the garrulous Mrs Jennings, who immediately becomes fast friends with Mrs Bennet. There is also a visitor to the area that we would find familiar; Colonel Brandon has another colonel staying with him – a Colonel Fitzwilliam, who is very taken with the Misses Bennet, and believes he sees some partiality for them in his friend Brandon. Soon afterwards there are further newcomers to the area in the form of a widow, Mrs Dashwood, and her three daughters. Elizabeth and Kitty Bennet soon become good friends with Elinor and Marianne. This is where the storylines of Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility start to merge, although differently to how Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion came together in the Subsequent Proposal. I thought the stories were intertwined really well – there were events from Sense and Sensibility that happened in much the same way as in that book, and other events unfolded differently due to the Bennets being there.  If you are not familiar with the intricacies of Sense and Sensibility then I wouldn’t worry too much, this story is primarily focused on Darcy and Elizabeth and the Pride and Prejudice characters.

Since Elizabeth never reaches the level of dislike that she has to overcome in canon the main thing keeping her and Darcy apart is him fighting a relationship due to societal gap between them. In Pride and Prejudice, although Elizabeth knows that there is a gap when she refuses Darcy, she doesn’t fully appreciate just how much higher Darcy stands in society than her father until she sees Pemberley. At the time of her scathing refusal she acknowledges the compliment of such a man’s affections, but in the moment she doesn’t have time to consider it, as she is so angry at his slights toward her family. Here Elizabeth is much more keenly aware of the gap between them and I felt sorry for her – the humbling realisation that it would be a poor marriage for Darcy couldn’t have been a comforting thought, and this theme is explored in some depth.

‘She had never imagined that the disparity between Pemberley and Netherfield, or between Pemberley and every place that she knew, for that matter, would be so marked.’

We are privy to Elizabeth’s thoughts and feelings throughout much of the book, but we are also treated to Darcy’s as well. What would a Pride and Prejudice variation be without some suffering for our dear hero?! Well there is quite a bit for him here and frankly he deserves every bit of it! It’s due to his own pride that he doesn’t pursue a relationship between himself and Elizabeth from the Netherfield days when he first begins to love her, and all the other delays, misunderstandings and conflict arise as a result of this, so although he goes through the mill it’s all self inflicted, as his comforting cousin and dear friend informs him:
‘I never expected a blunder of such magnitude! You do everything in a grander scale than the rest of us, do you not?’

I very much liked the portrayal of the characters in this story – I felt that Elizabeth and Darcy were pretty close to canon, Mrs Bennet was portrayed affectionately, Bingley as a sweet man with a lively sense of humour, and I also enjoyed Jane’s character here, especially when she showed some unexpected protective tendencies. We are also treated to an absence of some characters who I am quite happy to do without!

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Although it’s quite a long book and took me a while to read it never felt long. The storylines of Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility merged and intertwined naturally and the style of the prose was delightful - charming and witty and there are some bits which are downright funny. There are also phrases of Austen’s weaved in throughout the book, often attributed to different characters, as unobtrusive nods back to Pride and Prejudice that I enjoyed spotting. It’s such a romantic read too. I would wholeheartedly recommend reading this!

*Review written by Leatherbound Reviews contributor Ceri Tanti
*Review copy provided by the author

Connect with Joana Starnes
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***GIVEAWAY TIME***

Joana Starnes is kindly offering ONE (1) ebook copy of The Second Chance 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 June 26, 2014!
Best of luck!!

48 comments:

  1. Thanks for the review, I look forward to the mixture of characters from the 2 books. I wonder if Mrs Jennings and Mrs Bennet actually listen to each other

    Tweeted - https://twitter.com/Vesper1931/status/479596971758346241

    meikleblog at gmail dot com

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    1. I think they're both talking too loudly for that :D
      Thanks for your comment and the tweets, and best of luck in the giveaway!

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  2. A very detailed review, Ceri. I loved reading it as it certainly piqued my interest in reading a story that combines P&P and S&S.

    evangelineace2020(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    1. Lovely to hear that! The review is indeed wonderfully detailed, isn't it! Thanks again for that, Ceri! It'a a lovely review, and much appreciated!
      Thanks so much for stopping by, Sylvia, and good luck!

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    2. Oh, you remember my real name, Joana. How sweet of you. Thank you for your kind wishes.

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  3. Oh great review Ceri, "Frankly he deserves every bit of it!" Oh you do make me chuckle ! Yes I think the gap between their situations is often under emphasised in many JAFF obviously Lady Catherine does a great job of it, but I think it is very significant. I have both subsequent and chance but have yet to read, looking forward to them :)

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    1. That made me chuckle too, Tamara, and you're right, Lady Catherine makes a very thorough job of pointing out the difference in their status - no one can do better ;) Thanks so much for your comment and I hope you'll like my take on Darcy and Elizabeth's story!

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  4. Thank you for the lovely comments ladies! And thank you to Jakki and Joana for letting me have such a good book to review :)

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    1. You're so very kind Ceri!!!!!
      I'm the one who should be thanking you both - and I am !!! Much, much appreciated!

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  5. would love to read this!!!
    thank you for the giveaway!!!

    cyn209 at juno dot com

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    1. So glad it caught your eye! Thanks for taking part and good luck in the giveaway!

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  6. Give me give me give me!!! Its on my MUST READ list. ;)

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    1. Hi KaraLynne!

      Great to see you here!
      Loved the comment, you're so sweet!!!!
      Thanks for that, and best of luck!

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  7. Oooo, please enter me in the giveaway! :D Thank you! brendapwood at gmail dot com

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    1. Hi Brenda!
      Welcome! Thanks for stopping by and good luck!

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  8. Great review!!! I would like to read this story, especially Mrs Bennet and Mrs Jennings: what will combine the two of them together??
    My email : chiarapiccirilla (at)hotmail (dot) com

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    1. Thanks, Chiara! We can easily imagine them loud, brash, embarassing everybody :D
      Thanks for stopping by,it's great to see you here!

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  9. https://twitter.com/Vesper1931/status/479939874137440256

    meikleblog at gmail dot com

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  10. tweeted - https://twitter.com/Vesper1931/status/480312283692675073

    meikleblog at gmail dot com

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    1. Thanks for the tweets and re-tweets, Susan!
      Much appreciated!!!

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  11. I love mixing more than one book together, but I don’t think I’ve read any that weren’t brought forward into the modern world. This looks really interesting, especially after reading your great review. Thank you!

    NovEllaandBanannabelle (at) Gmail(dot)com

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    1. Thanks for the lovely words! I'm so glad that Ceri's wonderful review caught your eye! Good luck in the giveaway and thanks for visiting!

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  12. tweeted https://twitter.com/Vesper1931/status/480701446531203072

    meikleblog at gmail dot com

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  13. Great review, Ceri! I love the idea of mixing characters from P&P and S&S. Can't wait to read this!!:)
    kellik115(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    1. So glad to hear you like the idea! IMO, her characters are alive and well in the beautiful world JA created, rather than just names trapped between the pages of a book - in which case, why should they not meet? :)

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  14. Tweeted - https://twitter.com/Vesper1931/status/481023896045383681

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  15. Thanks again for the tweets, Susan. Much appreciated!

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  16. Joanna, please do not enter me in the give away as I already have the eBook. I just want to again say how very much I loved the book. It was a one night read. I couldn't put it down. :-)

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    1. Thanks ever so much for coming in to tell me that, Deborah Anne!!!
      Much, much appreciated! You're very kind!

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  17. Tweeted - https://twitter.com/Vesper1931/status/481381522490920960

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    1. Thanks, Susan, and the very best of luck!

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  18. Thanks, everyone, for stopping by and supporting Joana and her novels. Ceri, thanks so much for the review. Once again, you have me adding a book to my TBR list. ;) Thank you, Joana, for the giveaway. You are such a doll! =) Best of luck to those who have entered!!

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    1. You are welcome Jakki! Thank you for giving me an opportunity to review it for you. Best of luck to those who've entered the giveaway, and I hope you all enjoy the book as much as I did :)

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    2. Thanks again for having me here, Jakki, and for all the support over the years, you've been wonderful! Thank you, Ceri, for the amazing review and for patiently going through my looooong stories, three times now, AND for all the hot tips on Austen best-buys on Amazon :D !

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  19. Great review, Ceri! I don't know why I'm just now seeing this lol. #badblogvisitor

    I tweeted! https://mobile.twitter.com/jaffobsession/status/481533641135497218?p=v

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    1. Great to see you here, Monica! Best of luck in the giveaway and thanks for taking part!

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  20. Please don't enter me as I have the print and eBook copies. Just stopped by to give Ceri two thumbs up. I would give you more, but... no more available. Your review is straight-forward without giving away any of the important stuff. It is exactly what I would have wanted to read about a book before purchasing. You are AWESOME!

    Congrats on the successful blog tour, Joana. Your comments are always so gracious.

    Jakki = a wonderful host!!!

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    1. Thank you Joy! I always worry about spoilers, because I'd hate to spoil somebody's reading enjoyment by giving away too much of the plot. Glad you think I managed to get the balance right here :)

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    2. Ooops! Not sure what happened here but when I logged in, the comment disappeared. I'll write it again and hope it won't show up in duplicate :)

      On second thought, it would be very fitting if it does, because I often feel like thanking you all many more times than twice, for your wonderfully kind words, Joy, and your support; Ceri for the fantastic review and Jakki for hosting me time and time again. You're all wonderful, and I'm privileged to know you :)
      Hope you're all having a lovely summer!

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  21. Interesting variation of two classics. Have put on my to read list. integr67 at aol dot com.

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    1. So glad it caught your eye! Good luck and thanks for visiting!

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  22. This is a very interesting sotryline. I often thought what would happen if some of the characters of different books would meet. Like how Anne Elliot, Jane Bennet and Elinor Dashwood would like each other.
    Please enter me, would love to win this book!
    Greetings,
    Katrin
    @kaewink

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    1. I loved your comment, Katrin, and I do agree, those three ladies could well become very good friends! I'm so glad you find my premise interesting! Thanks for stopping by and best of luck in the giveaway.

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  23. tweeted - https://twitter.com/Vesper1931/status/481768021334032384

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  24. tweeted - https://twitter.com/Vesper1931/status/482108981972701186

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    1. Best of luck, Susan, and thanks so much for all your support!

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