Christian Jane Austen Variations 5: Robin Helm and A Very Austen Valentine

“I assure you, I can admire you in all your forms.”—More to Love, by Robin Helm

More to Love cover 2

More to Love
by Robin Helm

What if Elizabeth was overweight (by whatever standards held in Austen’s day)? And Darcy’s initial insult was, “there is rather too much of her to tempt me”?

“In the moment the haughty gentleman had declared her to be ‘too much,’ she had become, to herself, ‘not enough.’ Not good enough. Not pretty enough. Not tempting enough.”

Throughout More to Love, Elizabeth struggles with who she is. She tries to diet and exercise. Of course at first she overdoes it.  But her long daily walks with Jane create opportunities for Bingley and Darcy to see them. Darcy quickly realizes that he is the one with “too much,”not her —“Much too high an opinion of himself”! But it’s difficult to gain Elizabeth’s trust and forgiveness.

Each chapter starts with a relevant Bible verse or traditional saying. Robin Helm unfolds themes from I Samuel 16: “man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart,” as well as Matthew 7: “Judge not that you be not judged.” Both Darcy and Elizabeth need to learn those lessons. But the book stays light and entertaining, never heavy or preachy.

When Jane and Darcy both fall ill, a handsome young doctor arrives. He gives Elizabeth a tempting alternative to Mr. Darcy.  Elizabeth, though, is getting closer to Darcy by reading to him in his illness, and finds they have much in common. Who will she choose?  When an accident threatens to ruin Elizabeth’s reputation, will she settle for marriage without love? And will Mr. Wickham’s schemes to destroy her happiness succeed?

Some of my favorite quotes:

“I am but a simple country maiden, Mr. Darcy. Do you think I could resist a worthy, handsome, intelligent man who loves me and does his best to win my love?”

“Probably not, and if such a man appears in Meryton in the next month, I hope you do not meet him.”

Elizabeth laughed aloud.

“Ah! I have made you laugh, and I heard you say you dearly love to laugh.”

____________

“I do not wish to wed a man who loves me only when I am thin, for I may increase again when I am happily married with children or as I age.”

He shook his head. “I assure you, I can admire you in all your forms. ’Tis more likely we shall grow old and fat together than to think I would base my affections on your waistline.”

____________

I highly recommend this lovely Pride and Prejudice adaptation.

Robin Helm, whose “Yours By Design” series I wrote about in Christian Jane Austen Variations 1, also contributed to this new collection:

Austen Valentine cover

A Very Austen Valentine
By Robin Helm, Laura Hile, Wendy Sotis, Barbara Cornthwaite, Mandy Cook, and Susan Kaye

All of the stories in A Very Austen Valentine are entertaining and clean, and each introduces us to an author of other Jane Austen variations. Each story in the anthology gives a unique creative twist to one of Austen’s beloved novels:

Robin Helm’s “I Dream of You” is meant to be a sequel to More to Love, though you don’t need to have read More to Love to appreciate it.  When Darcy starts spending all his hours working, his young wife Elizabeth finds ways to bless him rather than complaining.

Laura Hile’s “Sir Walter Takes a Wife” is a hilarious sequel to Persuasion.  Could Lady Catherine de Bourgh and Sir Walter Elliot possibly find happiness together?

In  Wendy Sotis’ “My Forever Valentine,” the Bingleys are married (against Darcy’s wishes), Anne DeBourgh is in love, and Darcy’s friends conspire to get Darcy and Elizabeth together.

In Barbara Cornthwaite’s “Pretence and Prejudice,” Darcy pretends to be a clergyman and he and Elizabeth both mistake each other for spies! Lots of fun. Next week we’ll look at some wonderful novels by Barbara Cornthwaite.

Mandy Cook’s “My Valentine” unites the children of the Darcys and the Brandons in new adventures.

Susan Kaye’s “The Lover’s Ruse” shows us Anne Elliot’s original romance with Captain Wentworth. What if they had secretly corresponded with each other rather than breaking their engagement?

Each of these stories is very different, and I enjoyed them all.

Happy reading!

Robin’s Valentine’s story reminded me that it’s better to bless and serve those we love than to complain and grumble.  It reminds me of Jesus’s command to do good even to our enemies. How much more, then, should we look for ways to do good to our friends? Today, what are you tempted to grumble about, and how might you be kind to someone instead?

Earlier Posts on Jane Austen Variations

Christian Jane Austen Variations 1: Maria Grace, Robin Helm

Christian Jane Austen Variations 2: Jeanna Ellsworth, Kelsey Bryant, Janine Mendenhall

Christian Jane Austen Variations 3: Pamela Aidan

Christian Jane Austen Variations 4: Laura Hile

Christian Jane Austen Variations 6: Barbara Cornthwaite and Lara S. Ormiston

Austen Variations with Science 1: Collins Hemingway, Robin Helm, Georgette Heyer

Austen Variations with Science 2: Abigail Reynolds

Science Variations 3: Novels with Regency and Victorian Science (Linda Banche, Cindy Anstey, Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South, Nicole Clarkston)

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