Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Memory by Linda Wells

As I am very behind on reviews, I decided to discuss all three volumes of Linda Wells' rather epic Memory series in a single post. I read these books a few weeks ago while I had the flu, and they were an excellent distraction from my ailments. Though Ms. Wells' novels are highly sexual, which I disapprove of, I cannot help but to continue reading the tombs she produces, as the storylines are absolutely charming. Her first book, Chance Encounters, remains my favorite she has written, and I reread it when I need a thorough dose of romance (though after the first perusal, I have always skipped over the sex scenes). Though Ms. Wells' writing and grammar have remarkably improved since this novel, I still think her first story the best.

Memory is a "What If?" Pride and Prejudice re-imagining premised on the notion that Darcy and Elizabeth meet many years earlier than they do in the original story. Volume one, Lasting Impressions, begins with Fitzwilliam Darcy returning from a grand tour of the continent only to learn that his father is in failing health. Overwhelmed with the potential loss and the responsibilities it thrusts onto his shoulders, he escapes his London town home for Hyde Park, where a young girl's laughter cuts through his grief and makes a "lasting impression" upon him. This is Ms. Wells strength - creating gloriously romantic scenarios to bring our favorite couple together. Unlike the course of events in Miss Austen's story, Ms. Wells always has Darcy and Elizabeth make an instant connection in her books. In this novel, they see each other in passing several times over the course of many years, always separated before they can speak. In am amusing twist, it is Charles Bingley who ends up playing matchmaker, his social background acting as a link between Elizabeth and Darcy's worlds.

Lasting Impressions spans the course of the Darcy's courtship and sees them married and established at Pemberley. This was my favorite book in the trilogy, in no small part because it has the least amount of sex in it. Following Darcy and Elizabeth's discovery of each other, all the other characters' lives are radically changed from how Austen imagined them. Volumes two and three, Trials to Bear and How Far We Have Come (respectively), are largely dedicated to finding comfortable situations for the rest of the cast. I particularly enjoyed Ms. Wells' handling of Mary Bennet, who also finds herself mistress of a rather impressive estate. Jane Bennet takes a very different path than that we are familiar with, and Lydia Bennet is forced to see the dangers of her ways before bringing disgrace upon the family. Readers of Ms. Wells' other books will recall how harshly she deals with Mr. and Mr. Bennet, the latter usually bearing the brunt of her disapproval. In this book, it is Mrs. Bennet who is irredeemable. I continue to feel that Ms. Wells is rather harsh in her analysis of both these characters, but directing that disapproval towards Mrs. Bennet sits a bit more comfortably with me than when it is focused on Mr. Bennet.

All three books combined, the Memory series is about 1500 pages long, which is a lot of Darcy and Elizabeth. Granted, a good chunk of those pages are sex scenes and, in my opinion, unnecessary to the plot, but by spanning the books over several years, Ms. Wells gives those readers who can never get enough of these characters exactly what they want: Elizabeth and Darcy galore.

I must end this post with a question. Does anyone know if the Linda Wells who writes Pride and Prejudice fan fiction is the same Linda Wells who is a beauty editor at Allure? I have been wondering this since Chance Encounters was published but have never found a definite answer.


  1. I am with you, Alexa. I prefer my Darcy and Lizzy continuations/what-ifs with less sex and more romance.

    I have these books on my TBR list, but your reviews have got me wanting to purchase them now!

  2. Hi Lori! Sometimes I can overlook the sex and other times I cannot. Even though these books have LOTS of sex, the plot is strong enough to keep me pushing on past it. Just a warning - if you are anything like me, once you finish volume one, you will plow right through the next two. It's a lot of money to throw down at once, but I am very happy I had them all ready to read back to back.

    I'm curious to hear your thoughts!

  3. Alexa, the two Linda Wells are not the same. Linda, the author, is a stay at home mom who writes during the day while her son is in school. She posts her stories first on AHA (A Happy Assembly), and on Austen Underground. She is an extremely popular writer at these websites.

  4. Hi Pat! Thanks for the clarification! I thought they were two people, but after reading Perfect Fit, with all its designer references, I began to wonder. You don't by any chance know if she has a blog, do you? I have been looking for an online profile of her for a few years now.

  5. No, she doesn't have a blog. She stays so busy with her writing and her son, I doubt she would have time to keep up a blog. I think her email address is listed at the beginning of each book if you wanted to write to her.

  6. Thanks Pat. I found her on facebook. I believe this is the second writer you have assisted me to locate. I appreciate your help!