Presumption and Partiality
by Rebekah Jones
Series: Vintage Jane Austen #5
Publication Date November 27, 2017
Genres: Historical Fiction, Christian Fiction, Clean Romance
Setting: Arizona Great Depression - US - 1929-1939
Main Character Ages: 18-25
Written for: Adults
Among the cotton fields and farmland of Gilbert, Arizona in the early years of the Great Depression, Mr. and Mrs. Bailey live a simple, but happy life with their five daughters on a cotton farm. When the wealthy Richard Buchanan moves to town, bringing his family, a friend, and a desire to learn about cotton, Matilda Bailey is convinced that he is the perfect candidate to marry her eldest daughter, Alice.
Richard is cheerful, friendly, and likable. His friend Sidney Dennison doesn’t make such a good impression. Eloise Bailey decides he’s arrogant and self-conceited, but when Raymond Wolfe comes to town, accusing Sidney of dishonorable and treacherous conduct, Eloise is angered at the injustice of the situation.
When the Buchanan household leaves town, Alice must turn to the Lord and face, perhaps, her most difficult test in trust, while Eloise takes a trip to visit her friend and may well discover a web of deceit that she doesn’t really want to believe exists.
I would like to thank Celebrate Lit for giving me this copy of the book. This gift did not influence my opinion or review.
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It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single author in possession of a good plot, must be in want of imitators.
Please forgive my silliness in that jumbled quote from the book. It is in no way intended as an insult to those who love to retell Jane Austen’s stories. I have read many retellings of Pride and Prejudice, one of my favorite stories of all time. Some are blatant copies where they change the time and place in an attempt to make the story sound just like the original. Some hint at the original story in a way that is so subtle you don’t even realize it is a retelling until you are almost done. Some have been good and some have been awful.
Presumption and Partiality takes this well-loved classic and adds enough of a twist to make it unique while yet sticking fairly closely to the original. The Arizona setting during the Great Depression that the author used for her story was intriguing.
Reading this version brought to mind the occasional visits to Phoenix to visit cousins, and vacations through Northern Arizona my family made when I was growing up. I was fascinated to learn about the cotton growing done in the valley there and to see the beauty of the Northern part of the state through the eyes of the characters.
I loved the way this story focused on Christian character and themes. It added an interesting dimension. The Bailey girls, though they were not rich themselves, had a lifestyle of visiting the sick and those who were poor to fulfill Matthew 25:40. That was very touching.
Placing the story at the beginning of the Depression, making Sidney Dennison (Mr. Darcy) a Navajo Indian, changing the soldiers to actors, were some very clever creative touches that made for interesting reading.
Authors who attempt to retell a story like this face greater challenges, I think, than when they write a completely original story. Changing enough details to avoid plagiarism, yet not changing things that people who love the classic will be disappointed to miss are just a few that come to mind. In this regard, I would say that the author did a fair job, but not great. In my opinion, the story would have been better if she had not tried to stick as closely to some of the elements of the original, as some scenes are just not quite the same without Jane Austen’s dry wit.
I will most likely read other books by Rebekah Jones. Her deep love for the Lord and the natural way she shares Biblical truths in the narrative, the creative details that shone through in this story and her style of writing are interesting enough that I would like to read more.
Guest Post from Rebekah Jones
Why is he a Navajo?
I’ve had more than one person ask me why I chose to make Sidney Dennison, the “Mr. Darcy” of my novel Presumption and Partiality, a Navajo Indian.
When I commenced planning and research for placing a retelling of Pride and Prejudice in the 1930’s United States, I found myself drawn to the desert of Arizona rather early on. Specifically, the tiny farm town of Gilbert. I knew, however, that few rich people lived in that area; certainly not enough to create social rifts large enough to recreate the social differences of the original novel.
I experimented in my head with a few different ideas, but the idea of Sidney as a Native American came to me one day and just clicked. I knew that I couldn’t fully pull off a Navajo who lived on the reservations. As much as I researched, I couldn’t quite get the feel. Yet, a man whose ancestry included a white man as a grandfather, who lived outside the reservations, though with relatives who clung to some of the old traditions, I thought I could do.
I used to wish I were an Indian, in part because I wanted to have great tracking skills, live in a tee-pee, possess superb bow and arrow abilities, and I wanted to ride a horse. True, most of that did not enter a 1930’s novel, despite my Navajo cowboy, because the eras are different. Though, Sidney did get a horse. Or technically, several.
Further, something about the silent, good-looking Indian appealed to me, much as I tend to shy away from writing about handsome and beautiful people, since they feel so common in fiction. The minute I began imagining the man with his Navajo ancestry, he just felt perfect.
By the end, Sidney turned out to be one of my favorite characters. (I can’t ever pick just one in my novels.) I think I made a good choice and I hope my readers will agree!
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To celebrate her tour, Rebekah is giving away a grand prize of the complete set of the Vintage Jane Austen Collection!!
Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/cc8f