Authors love reviews, and we especially love glowing ones. And they don’t get more wonderful than this. Thanks so much, Kate Westwood, for your amazing words. I’m just delighted that you enjoyed this so much.
Here is what she said. You can get your own copy of Much Ado in Meryton at www.books2read.com/muchadoinmeryton
Just when I think that there couldn’t possibly be another storyline left to explore seeing as there are so many Pride and Prejudice variations, I am pleasantly surprised, yet again. More than pleasantly surprised, actually. Delighted is more the word. Once again, Riana Everly has brought us a fresh, new way to view Austen’s original characters— this time by superimposing over Austen’s wonderful regency background and characters, Shakespeare’s comedic ‘Much Ado About Nothing.’
This wonderful new Darcy/Lizzy love story has had enough reviews giving it a thumbs up that I can hardly do justice to another. What I can say is that for me, it was a roller coaster of delicious, witty barbs and taunts, dastardly devilish characters and plot twists, and hilariously funny situations, tempered with beautiful, and sometimes bitter-sweet, introspective moments where lovers are forced to examine their motives and feelings.
As a mash-up of two timeless classics it exceeds expectation. Ms. Everly’s expert writing skills really come to the fore in the way she incorporates the plotlines and witty sarcasm of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing seamlessly into the polite, etiquette-orientated Regency world of Lizzy and Darcy as they maneuver around each other in order to avoid, then embrace, love.
The parallels between the two texts are clear: the sharp-witted Lizzy and equally scathing Mr Darcy are perfectly reimagined as Beatrice and Benedick. Likewise, the subplot between Bingley and Jane is also executed in such a way as they make a perfect Claudio and Hero. But although the novel bases its plotlines on the similarities between the two canonical texts, the reader is never caught yawning. Ms Everly cleverly introduces enough variations to the P & P format that readers can expect to be surprised and delighted with the results. Colonel Fitzwilliam now has a pivotal role in bringing his two friends together, and when Jane breaks her ankle and is forced to stay at Netherfield, this sets the scene for most of the action to occur within the walls of Bingley’s home, making possible several other surprising detours from the original Austen text. All the while, Wickham is as wicked as ever, Lydia as hoydenish, and as for Mr Collins—he almost manages to redeem himself in an interesting turn of events.
As an examination of the human condition, Much Ado in Meryton stands true to Shakespeare’s tendency to bring motives and emotions into close examination. But the novel also preserves Austen’s delightful sarcasm and wit, and her parallel ability to examine the workings of the human heart. Much Ado in Meryton combines the best of these two worlds, and what more can we ask than for than a skilled and insightful novelist such as Ms Everly to do this for us. Perfect, as usual!