What would have happened had Darcy not fled from Rosings after his disastrous proposal? Reynolds attempts to answer that question in By Force of Instinct. This “what if?” novel is packed with misunderstandings, more pride, and more prejudice.
While I would consider this one Abigail Reynolds best Pride and Prejudice variations, I really did not like her portrayal of Georgiana or Mr. Bennet. Thankfully, Mr. Bennet isn’t in the story enough to really detract, but Georgiana is a major player in By Force of Instinct. She’s also malicious, vengeful, and bitter. Some of her bitterness is easy to stomach; Darcy is allowed to marry Elizabeth, who is “beneath him,” but Georgiana could not marry the man who is beneath her. But the majority of it is over-the-top. It makes for great controversy and plot line, but it is a deviation from the character presented to us by Jane Austen. There’s also the little problem of the “love shack” Darcy sets up for himself and Elizabeth.
I enjoyed By Force of Instinct, but it’s certainly not for Austen purists. It’s diverting and enjoyable only if you don’t mind of a few twists and distortions.
- Reynolds, Abigail. By Force of Instinct. Madison, WI: Intertidal, 2007. Print. 260 pgs. ISBN: 9780615148250. Source: Purchased.