Age Appropriate For: All Ages
Best for Ages: 12 and up.
With this book, this series is drawn to a close. That would be sad, but it is hard to be sad when the final book is so amazing. I think that those who might worry that the final book might not live up to their expectations can stop worrying, because this was amazing.
Jones did an amazing job weaving Jane Austen's original stories into farm life in Arizona. I think out of the whole series, this had to be the most creative setting. The farm life fit the story so well and gave it so much depth.
I was blown away with some of the faith and moral elements that were seamlessly woven into the story without ever feeling preachy. I especially loved how Alice (Jane) had feelings for Richard (Mr. Bingley), but still worked to guard her heart. So many books make either it all about feelings or make it sound like you shouldn't have feelings at all. I appreciated that Alice had feelings, but didn't let them get out of hand.
Eloise was a wonderful leading lady with just the right balance of faith, spunk, and lady-likeness. I loved her and felt a kinship with her, as I suspect many girls will. She makes some rash judgments but learns from her mistakes. Above all, she goes to God for help.
Sidney Dennison (Darcy) was also very well done. At first, I wasn't sure about how him as an Indian was going to work, but in the end, I couldn't have thought of anything better. I like the depth of character and his faith.
Two major changes were made from the original story. The first was the interaction of the parents. While Mrs. Bailey is given to headaches, complaining, and matchmaking, her husband is loving and her daughters respectful. This was a beautiful change that was inspiring. The second was how the story ended. While the story’s actual ending didn’t change all that dramatically it was just...so much more satisfying. I can’t say any more because I don't want to give it away.
Overall, this was a beautiful retelling and a fitting end to the series. I highly recommend it to those who have loved the other books in the series, enjoy Jane Austen retellings, or those who love books with strong faith messages.
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