Abigail Reynolds has such a huge following in the Jane Austen Fan Fiction world that I feel evil not giving this book a rave review. However, I did not feel it stood up to my expectations compared to her other oustanding books.
Intermezzo is one of my all-time favourite JAFF short stories, five stars IMHO. I go back to read it again and again. Not only do I think that this story has a good premise, but it has some of the loveliest words and scenes in JAFF. I'm glad that she decided to publish it, I just wish she had some better short stories to publish with it.
The other stories were nice and had good ideas for a what-if, and even included a few scenes with light and engaging banter and clever misunderstandings between Elizabeth and Darcy, but none of them compare to Intermezzo. They were three-star stories, which means they were good but not outstanding. For example, these stories do not showcase Abigail's ability to use Jane Austen's writing style as much as in her other writing, yet in 'Such Differing Reports' she uses a lot of JA's original text from Pride and Prejudice; I don't mind authors using a little, but this was too much..
Some key plot twists left me saying, 'Are you serious?' The reader would be somewhat sceptical about the protagonists' decisions or motives, for example, why wouldn't E&D and J&B marry as planned if Wickham suspended the extortion (Reason's Rule)? Would Darcy really have stated his feelings so boldly in a letter (Such Differing Reports)? The abrupt unforeshadowed kidnapping in 'The Most Natural Thing,' and then Elizabeth subsequently doubting Darcy's constancy when he had proven it repeatedly, leave me scratching my head. 'A Succession of Rain' was good at holding onto its theme of the rain as the antagonist, but the lack of true angst (as set by the writing challenge) leaves this story being sweet but not particularly memorable. I read a lot of unpublished JAFF and did not find the last four stories in this book nearly as engaging as some amateur works.
I am sure that Abigail Reynolds fans will give me a 'not useful' vote for this review, but I call 'em as I see 'em.