A Mature Coming of Age Story for Charlotte Collins
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Of all the women in Pride and Prejudice, Charlotte Collins must be one of the most challenging and intricate characters to reshape into an admirable and lovable heroine. Practical, pragmatic, and plain – she isn’t a character that easily inspires the reader’s love. And with Jane Austen marrying her off to Mr. Collins, it seems her unhappily-ever-after fate is already sealed. How will Charlotte ever find the love and happiness she deserves?
Well…we all know that if adventures (or in this case happiness and romance) will not befall a young lady in her own village, she must seek them abroad.” And that is just what author Skylar Hamilton Burris does, she sends Charlotte…and Mr. Collinsabroad. After several years Lady Catherine becomes weary of Mr. Collin’s incessant and obnoxious presence in her life and desires a momentary respite from his obsequious attentions (can you blame her?). Using her wealth and power she arranges for Mr. Collins to serve as a missionary in India for an undetermined length of time to “expand his clerical education.” Which opens the door for an abundance of new and exciting possibilities for Charlotte.
How I adore Ms. Burris’s writing! I read her first sequel, Conviction, back in 2005 and it still remains one of my all-time favorite Georgiana-centric stories. I am so very pleased she decided to pen a story about Charlotte! I loved being inside Charlotte’s head and being able to witness all her quiet moments of introspection and honest evaluation. In India Charlotte’s life becomes stripped of all that she aspired and held dear – security, comfort, independence, establishment. And it opens Charlotte’s eyes and makes her realize the flaws in her own character, the selfishness in her own heart. I loved observing Charlotte’s emotional breakthrough and growth, and I applaud Skylar Hamilton Burris for her respectful yet creative rendering of such a challenging and unlikely heroine.
My other favorite aspect of this novel were all the interesting and inspiring original characters crafted by Skylar Hamilton Burris. I enjoyed seeing Charlotte interact with these missionary couples, and how living alongside such selfless, strong, and unconventional people impacted her way of thinking. I especially enjoyed Charlotte’s interaction with the mission leader, John Rivers. In addition, I loved how his character slowly revealed, layer by layer. Like her friend, Elizabeth, Charlotte jumps to some pretty inaccurate assumptions when she first encounters this reserved, impatient, and mysterious missionary.
Based on the title some readers may assume this work of fiction is heavy with religious content and sermonizing prose, but just like with Conviction Skylar Hamilton Burris masterfully and subtly weaves in her meaningful and inspirational theme without it being preachy. In this novel the message is to follow your call, whatever it may be.
Thought-provoking, inspiring, and gratifying – this remarkable Pride and Prejudice sequel by Skylar Hamilton Burris is not one to be missed! After adoring and admiring Ms. Burris’s works about Georgiana, Anne de Bourgh, and Charlotte, it is my dear hope she will publish another more Austenesque literature in the future! Perhaps one about Kitty, Mary, or Lydia? Pretty please???
6 out of 30 completed!