And so the trilogy ends. I'd almost say not with a bang but with a whimper...but that is disingenuous to this book. It is a good book and ends the series well...it just doesn't quite stand up to the other two. And I can't really put my finger on why.
As the previous book dealt with the time around Christmas to close to Easter, this book obviously covers from Rosings to the end. There's a lot of ground to cover and we're in for a ride...except we're not. The first several chapters took me days to get through, even with several interesting aspects, including the fate of the embroidery threads Darcy had held onto as a stolen token of Elizabeth's. We see Rosings from the other side; we see Darcy's less then ideal familial feelings for Lady Catherine and how he and Anne feel about the 'engagement'. We also see Darcy's courtship and proposal and some of the reasons, on his side, why it came out less then ideal.
And through all this, I couldn't seem to muster the zeal to read I had for the previous two books. It was interesting and informative, fit with the groundwork the author had laid before...and I couldn't care much more than a jot. I can't point to any one thing as the reason and am not entirely sure it wasn't me.
Fortunately, the book picks up after his rejection (ha! irony) and with the return of, hands down, my favorite character, Lord Dyfed Brougham. An interesting and curious character, we finally get to learn what's up with him. Granted, I'd largely figured out the big surprise the first time and recalled it during my reread of the first book, so it wasn't a big surprise. Still, Darcy finally gets some answers and Dy is the only person he completely confides the disastrous proposal and his heartache to. A very good friend.
Darcy's relationship with his sister changes a great deal in this book and much of it comes from outside sources. Both Mrs. Annesley and Dy warn him to look at her with new eyes and when he finally does, it's amazing. It also gives new understanding to her role when Elizabeth and her aunt and uncle are at Lambton. It also partially explains why Darcy feels he much find Wickham and Lydia. And isn't that, interesting! I don't know which part I liked more, Darcy's search and use of resources to find Wickham or his 'discussion' with Lady Catherine! That alone is worth a read through!
Once Darcy pours his heart out to Dyfed and begins to look hard at himself, the book really picks up. I finished it in a matter of hours. So while I feel it doesn't quite seem to capture my attention at first like the other two, it is still a decent ending.
Taken as a whole, this trilogy is one of the strongest P & P retellings I've read. The author not only allows us a closer look at Mr. Darcy but one that rings true to the time and text.