You might have figured out by now that I am kind of an Austen freak. I love everything Austen, books, movies, regency era dress . . . The awesome Victoria got me a book of hand-sewing projects from the Regency period and I am totally ga-ga over it! Although I haven't had the time to sew anything from it yet, I can't wait to have some time to really delve into it! The one thing I haven't really gotten into is sequels and adaptations written by other authors (in spite of writing one myself!) Well, ladies and germs, all that has changed! I have made a rather lengthy list of books to be read, and the first one I have crossed off my list is Charlotte Collins by Jennifer Becton. I recently downloaded the Kindle application for my iPhone, so I was able to get the book through Amazon, sent straight to my phone, for only $4.99. This is so awesome because I can read on my phone while I am laying with James trying to get him to fall asleep at night (he is a bit clingy!). So without further ado here is my brief review of Charlotte Collins!
I have always had a special place in my heart for Charlotte Collins (formerly Lucas) from Austen's Pride and Prejudice. It is so easy to compare her to Elizabeth, to applaud Elizabeth's rejection of Mr. Collins, and lament Charlotte's persuing of him. After all, who would want to be married to someone like Mr. Collins? The reader often feels dissapointed in Charlotte, and that her weakness highlights Elizabeth's strength. I have never felt dissapointed in Charlotte, but I have felt desperately sorry for her in many ways. To compare her, and her choices and options, to Elizabeth is unfair. As few choices as Lizzie has, Charlotte has even fewer. For one thing she is significantly older, with less family support, and probably an even more shaky financial future if she didn't marry. Charlotte is forced to make the realistic choice, and while we recognize it was realistic we have no real hope for her future happiness.
Which is why I am so excited to see a continuation of Charlotte's story that gives her a chance at that happiness! Jennifer Becton's beautifully written novel is both believable and satisfying. While Darcy and Elizabeth make brief appearances, Becton remains focused on Charlotte's life and circumstances, turning her successfully into a true romantic heroine. After Mr. Collin's untimely demise Charlotte faces widowhood with the same seemingly unflappable calm that she faced her marriage. As Charlotte enters society again, this time as a chaperone to her younger, unmarried sister, she begins to realize that there might yet be a life for her beyond what she had imagined for herself. She even attracts the attention of two very different men . . . but are these men scoundrels or heroes? You will just have to read the book yourself to find out! And I highly suggest that you do!
Becton's writing style is lovely, her novel is obviously very well researched, and, in my opinion, seamlessly weaves a new story strand into the rich tapestry of Austen's characters. The final scene rates high on the "tingle" factor, which is an important requirement for all romantic novels.
You can find the novel at Amazon in both paperback and Kindle format, and on Jennifer Becton's website. Jennifer is also available on Twitter and Facebook. Make sure to follow her to be updated on any future works, I am excited to see what else she will be writing!