Infamous Relations by Catherine Bilson puts a twist on one of the most loved books by Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice. Mr. Collins, in this version of Pride and Prejudice, is not a gracious loser. To say that he did not take the rejection of his proposal well would be an understatement. He has been holding a grudge against our beloved Lizzy and when the opportunity arises, he takes full advantage of it. Mr. Darcy writes a letter to Elizabeth, hoping that it would clear the air between him and her; however, before she could read the letter, Mr. Collins snatches it out of her hands. He does not stop there and tries to molest her. Thankfully, she gathers enough strength to push him off and run away. But destiny has other plans for her. In her attempt at fleeing from him, she stumbles on a rock and becomes unconscious. Fortunately, help comes in the form of Mr. Fitzwilliam, cousin of Mr. Darcy. He carries her to Mr. Collins’ house, thinking that her friend Charlotte might be able to take care of her until Elizabeth’s family arrives. As Elizabeth lies unconscious, her loved ones try to solve the mystery of her injuries. Mr. Darcy is the prime suspect as he was the last person seen with her.
Being one of the biggest fans of Pride and Prejudice, I was intrigued by the “What if” twist mentioned in the blurb of this book. The plot did not disappoint me. In fact, it has been a treat as I got to spend more time with my favorite characters. The best part is that the author did not stick to only the existing characters of the original book, but dared to introduce a few more. The doctor who treats Elizabeth is one of these new introductions. Without giving anything away, I would like to mention that the author has done a fantastic job in putting supporting characters of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice in the front row.
Keeping the language in sync with Jane Austen, the author succeeded in suggesting to readers that this could have been a sequel to Pride and Prejudice — of course if the first book had ended when Mr. Darcy handed his letter to Elizabeth. I would be lying if I didn’t say that I missed Mrs. Bennet’s hilarious outbursts and Mr. Bennet’s remarks to quiet her. With a lot of seriousness in the plot, they would have been a welcome escape. However, the book is definitely worth a reader’s time. I would recommend this book to fans of Pride and Prejudice.