Monday, June 11, 2012

Goodly Creatures By Beth Massey

This Pride & Prejudice variation deals with a very hard issue...rape, based on this I was leary to read it, but I was happy to find the details of the rape were not expounded upon and as I read on, I found the story very good! I loved how Lizzy deals with the situation, how very strong and brave she is. How she is able to go on and help her family. There was a level of angst throughout most of the story that kept me wanting to read more! I had many late nights reading this, as it is a rather long story.

At age 15, Elizabeth is in London visiting the Gardiners. They go to the theater one night where they make the acquaintance of the Darcys. She becomes a visitor of Darcy House a few times until one day she finds herself alone with the Viscount, Darcy's cousin.  That's when her life is shaken and turned up side down.

I loved this Lizzy! Like I said, she is strong. I really liked how she didn’t wallow in self-pity, even though she had her fears, sadness and guilt to deal with, as she kept this secret even from her family. She also wanted to make sure her sisters weren’t as naive as she was.  

There is so much going on in this story I can’t possibly cover it all but let me say, I loved all the Bennet sisters and their new stories. Lydia is a bit more discerning in this variation, she is still silly and loves a man in uniform, but she is able to read people a little better. Mary is not as solemn, and I was amused when her and Mr. Bennet team up to solve a mystery! I loved Colonel Fitzwilliam, Georgiana, and several of the new characters Massey brings into the story, like Mr. Reynolds, the nephew of Mrs. Reynolds. Amazingly enough I even liked Mr. Collins! 
This story had me crying and laughing! But with all the emotions I felt through out the book, I felt the ending was a little flat. Don’t get me wrong they had their Happily Ever After. I felt for Lizzy’s pain, fear, and her brave front but I thought I should have felt more for her joy at the end. I was happy for her, it just didn’t evoke the same amount of emotion for me.

This story is a great read and I would definitely recommend it.

4 out of 5 stars.

I was provided a copy of the book for review.

Buy a copy: Amazon

About the Author:

Beth Massey lives in Chicago with her husband of forty plus years.
Her first love as child in Chattanooga, Tennessee was the theatre.  She spent her youth preparing for a creative life on the stage.  A voracious reader, she devoured plays and novels with an eye toward imagining how she would play certain characters.  Beth joined the Chattanooga Little Theatre’s youth  troupe at age eight.  She was awarded a work study scholarship to Monticello College in Godfrey, Illinois in the theatre department.  While there, she played numerous roles—from Shaw to Shakespeare.  After transferring to Barnard College in New York City as a junior in 1967, she switched her major to literature.  But, ‘the times they were a changing.’  She threw herself into the struggle against war, racism and the emerging women’s liberation movement that had broken out all over the United States.  One of her first acts of expressing her convictions was to participate in the Columbia University student strike in the spring of 1968. 
     It was during this time, she met her husband Bill.  Together the two—first as friends and then as partners—have devoted their lives to political activism.  Beth spent her working hours as a payroll manager.  In 2008, her job of seventeen years was outsourced.  Given a compensation package that allowed her to stay home with an already retired Bill, she embraced the opportunity that working ‘9 to 5’ had made a challenge for most of the years of their marriage.  Though Bill’s ability to be active has been curtailed by AMD, COPD and a debilitating essential tremor, his wit and knowledge are as sharp as ever.  Ms Massey now spends her days in the company of her well-informed best friend and the two are free to engage in a great deal of conversation.  Jane Austen would approve.  
     Beth may have left a life in the theatre behind, but the desire for a creative outlet and a need to sketch the human character is still fervent.  Goodly Creatures is the first endeavor of her new found leisure time.  

Any thoughts? I'd love to hear from you! 


  1. Candy, I think you are starting to develop a thing for Mr. C! First Karen Aminadra's book, now this one! ;) Your review makes the book sound interesting. Thanks for sharing! :)

    1. Jakki, lol, he's no Mr. Darcy, that's for sure! ;) I think you would enjoy this story. Thank you!

  2. Just started following you and I'm so glad! Loved this review and now need to add this title to my JAFF reads as well. Thanks!

    xoxo Jme

    1. Hi Jamie, I'm glad you like the review! The story was so good!! Thanks again for following! :)

  3. Candy, I'm glad you ended up liking this story. It's been awhile since I read it online but I did recently win a paperback copy so I'll be reading it again. Despite the subject matter, I was so drawn into the story. And I just loved Jamie and Bethany and Lewis.

    1. Hey Monica, you were so right! I was going to DM you a couple of times while I was reading it! I should have! I loved Bethany and Lewis too! And Jamie certainly was a character! Lol! I could have gone on and on with this review, I cut quite a bit out as it was. It is a great read and I one that I could and should read again because I read it so fast I'm sure I missed something. I just had to keep reading to know what was happening next!

      I love that part at the theater when they were all watching over Jane! Too funny!

    2. Just a note on Lewis. He is very dear to me. He is Darcy without his societal blinders. Plus, I detest the concept of the bad seed and both Bethany and Lewis allowed me to develop characters who had one horrific parent but were no better or worse than the rest of humanity. Actually with regard Elizabeth, Lewis knew immediately (unlike his father) that he loved her. In the end Bethany tells her mother that Lewis more than any other loved her, and it was he who was with my Lizzy when she passed. I had a reviewer tell me that she wished Lewis had died at birth with Anne--that way the child of Elizabeth and Fitzwilliam would inherit Pemberley. Somehow that concept seemed so materialistic,cruel and dispassionate about the nature of love. To wish an innocent child dead really bothered me. It was right up there with the reviewer that said the Lizzy she knew would have been able to escape from the clutches of Wolfbridge.

    3. Oh no! Lewis is wonderful! I loved how he immediately took to Lizzy! Thank you so much for your comment and insight on Lewis! I have to say the more I think about the story the more I love it! Thank you!


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