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Charlotte: Pride and Prejudice Continues by…

Charlotte: Pride and Prejudice Continues

by Karen Aminadra

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Those of us authors who write Regency Romances often also tackle the canon of Jane Austen and try to take her creations and add our own twist to them. This falls into a few groups, one that take the historical Jane and use her in their story, others who take her creations and are exceedingly true to them, as best they can, or take those characters beyond the short few paragraphs she left us at the end of her stories. I have done so and by so doing have put on paper my thoughts on how those characters would change. Ms. Aminadra has done so as well, using as her heroine, Charlotte Collins nee Lucas.

We are all familiar with the tale of Pride and Prejudice, and the farcical Mr. Collins whom Lizzy Bennet and Mr. Bennet both make fun of, though Lizzy for the sake of her friendship with Charlotte, when visiting and actually meeting the esteemed Patroness, understand more of what is in the nature of Mr. Collins. But that is the canon, and as Ms Aminadra weaves her tale, she has to embellish the few lines of what we guess will happen to the Collins'.

Charlotte of course is caught in the middle with what will occur post Pride and Prejudice as she will one day be the Lady of Longbourn and we know Mrs. Bennet the mother of her BFF is assured that she will be turned out right quick. Not that Mrs. Bennet should think that this is now as dire as it was before. From all the movies we have seen, Directors have chosen to show us that ten Longbourns could fit into any Pemberly and a room certainly could be found for her there, or at Netherfield. Yet back in Mertyn, one can be sure that Mrs. Bennet has something to say about Mrs Collins, the daughter of Lady Lucas who still is one of her closest friends, and rivals for attention in that neighborhood.

From this Ms. Aminadra is able to relate to us that Charlotte Collins has complexities, as well as from the Canon's reveal that Charlotte was never one to think she would wed for love. That clearly puts her on the quest to find love. And while Jane Austen left us with several ladies still in need of marrying at the end of Pride and Prejudice, of the men, their is but one, Colonel Fitzwilliam (discounting Denny and other men of the Militia Regiment we hardly met)

Close in approximation to reading one of Jane's works, we sometimes leave the POV of the women and see inside such men as Mr. Collins, or the Colonel. That is a depth Jane did not give us, but it adds to the brushed that Ms Aminadra paints this canvas with.

Here we are taken to a part of time, (though the idea that the Colonel and other officers could leave the theater of war easily is perhaps something that wasn't researched as well as it could have been) in the latest stages of the Peninsula Campaign years, (Wellington being referred to as Duke which came after that was over) that I believe the author means to be about 1812 to 1813. Shortly after Lizzy has accepted the marriage proposal of Darcy.

Charlotte, our hero is faced with trials that aid her to grow, and to have Mr. Collins see his life afresh, for now he is more than the client of Lady Catherine, but a husband, and as all married couples hope, to perhaps one day be a father as well. Yet there must be conflict and here Ms Aminadra adds lacquer to her painting, adding depth and dimension and perhaps a modern way of thinking of flirtation and dalliance that puts her on a part that causes change from the canon at a more accelerated pace, and even a different pace than those last few paragraphs in Pride and Prejudice might have allowed.

Some of these changes a reader will either enjoy very much. some elements that are added may cause the reader to feel that the characters have progressed much as they should. Other readers fearing that any change to the themes of characterization that Austen left us with is sacrosanct may have difficulty here. My favorite Lady Catherine, is the one of Edna May Oliver in the Olivier/Garson version of P&P where at the very end we see Lady Catherine telling Darcy to go offer for Lizzy is just the challenge he will need. Huxley changed Austen's intention in that 1940 screen classic, but I think it adds to the mystique.

Charlotte is a worthy read and should be explored by those who like all P&P sequels, and I am interested to see where Ms Aminadra is able to take us with her Austenesque work as well. ( )
  DWWilkin | Nov 16, 2014 |
This book has intrigued me for a while due to its focus being on two minor characters in P&P, rather than on Elizabeth and Darcy. And such a beautiful, simplistic cover! Yes, I was heartily looking forward to this story.

I have to confess that I am disappointed.

After having to overlook a myriad of grammatical errors, I found myself faced with a one-dimensional character in Mr Collins whose behavior is explained very neatly (and conveniently) at the end of the story. What the?

Worth the read to have a fresh perspective on favourite characters. Has the potential to be a great novel once it has bad the benefit of an editor etc. ( )
  snitchbitch | Sep 10, 2013 |
While I wouldn't put myself in the 'Jane Austen expert' category, but I am very fond of Pride and Prejudice and thought this book sounded like an interesting take on some of the lesser characters of the story. I found it to be a wonderful escape into Charlotte's world: the descriptions of her home and village, the new characters who were introduced, and the writing style, which really paid homage to Austen and the language of that time.

The novel takes up the reins from Charlotte's reassurances to Lizzie Bennett in Pride and Prejudice that, despite marrying out of practicality and not for love, she is happy with her lot. We then follow her through her first year of marriage; how she learns to live with Mr Collins' sycophancy and irritating idiosyncracies, the countless trips to Rosings and the overbearing behaviour of Lady Catherine de Bourgh, their 'benevolent and most wonderful Patroness'.

However, Charlotte is still a human being with a beating heart and finds that, upon witnessing the intimacy and happiness of those who have married for love, she begins to wonder whether she too can have her happy ending...

I found this novel an absolute delight and read it in one sitting. I was captivated with both the language and the story, which flowed along at a perfect pace and really opened the door to Austen's world. Both Charlotte and Mr Collins are really fleshed out as central protagonists in their own right and the author has sensitively and carefully enhanced them while staying true to the original. The story itself is also faithful to its roots, retaining the moral and romantic ethos that is so central to Austen's work.

Perfect rainy day reading! ( )
  EllaBelakovska | Aug 27, 2013 |
I have always been a bit of a Pride & Prejudice addict, and for many years read hundreds of P&P fan-fiction and published what-ifs. I don't recall reading one that centralised around Charlotte. This one is certainly up there in my top 10 of variations. The author did a great job of keeping within Jane Austen's style of characteristics that comes across in the original P&P. It helped to see a side of Charlotte and even Mr Collins that I had not envisaged before. ( )
  Daydreambooks | Jul 20, 2013 |
a delish new read just added to my kindle :)
Thank you to Karen for offering this on her blog ~ a very creatively FuN giveaway !
and a HaPpY Reader here responding ") anticipation...

Currently enjoying my reading of Charlotte's story as participation in Austen in August...
Karen has written a captivating tale enlivening Charlotte to the reader and developing my interest in her story from the first page ~

From an understanding of Charlotte in P&P, I accepted her choice to marry Rev Collins as a matter of provision for her future. A future without love, but one with which she had thoughtfully come to terms. In this continuation, we gain the inside story. As it develops, Karen introduces the background to Rev Collins, increasing not only understanding, but igniting our sympathies on his behalf. We encounter a very wise woman in Charlotte who not only knows how to relate to her husband, she knows how to develop the best of him.

Fascinating seeing Karen's development of each of the characters she includes in the story - supporting cast of characters all interesting and realistically portrayed. I was equally interested in the subplots included as I was in the main. The twists of Colonel Fitzwilliam's role were well played and expertly handled without graphically overdoing any of the emotions and actions. Much appreciated by this reader for one :)

Very pleased to have included this in my reading list for Austen in August. Definitely a fun summer diversion! Thanks again, Karen!

( )
  FHC | Jun 13, 2013 |
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