Feb 192016
 

LSCoverFrontHeart-wrenching and Soulful

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Source: Review Copy from Publisher

TYPE OF AUSTENESQUE NOVEL: Pride and Prejudice Retelling

SETTING: 1948 Meryton, South Carolina

MAIN CHARACTERS: The Bennet Family, Will Darcy, Charles Bingley, George Wickham, Leland Collins, Charlotte Lucas, Richard Fitzwilliam, Anne de Bourgh, Georgiana Darcy

WHY I WANTED TO READ THIS NOVEL:

I love seeing Pride and Prejudice in different time periods and settings and I was interested to see how the setting of the Deep South post-World War II would impact the characters and situations from Jane Austen’s beloved novel.

WHAT I LOVED:

  • Soaked In the Time Period: Pecan picking, cotton plantations, Clark Gable, jazz, segregation, and changing attitudes – in big sweeping themes and small everyday details this story represents life in small town, USA post-World War II. The change, the culture, and the challenges of that time were not only well-represented, but subtly and skillfully woven into the tapestry of this story, giving readers a very rich and profound understanding of the world these characters were living in. I loved how this was accomplished, I could tell Beau North spent a lot of time researching and that a lot of thought went into the creation and shaping of this novel.
  • New Conflicts: It isn’t just about pride and prejudice, my friends! Changing the setting changes the types of conflicts these characters face – having poor dowries and disapproving relations doesn’t present the same obstacles as they did during the Regency Period. So instead, Ms. North introduces new conflicts that were indicative of her setting. Such as a soldier suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, a sister living with a life-threatening illness, an abusive and violent family member, and a couple who hide their love because it is considered socially unacceptable. While these added a little more darkness and weight to Jane Austen’s “light and bright” tale, I found myself appreciating the realism and honesty they brought to this story.
  • I Didn’t See it Coming: During the first half of the book we learn that something significant happened to Lizzie several years ago – something that has changed her and made her want to hide away at Longbourn. When this secret is revealed my jaw dropped to the ground. I didn’t see it coming and I loved it! Talk about a surprising twist! The tension and emotion that surged through the story at this development was incredibly palpable and skillfully rendered. Wow!
  • Little Spots Of Sunlight: With a tale that tackles difficult situations and realities, I thought it was brilliant that Beau North made a point to add little touches of happiness that would make readers smile. These little happy moments, like witnessing the relationship between Mr. and Mrs. Bennet and the truth of George Wickham’s elopement with Lydia, were sweet moments of light that brought about a wonderful balance for this tale.
  • A Stirring Love:  I love it when Darcy and Lizzie’s love is depicted as big, ungovernable force.  It hits them hard, triggers their passionate nature, and cannot be denied.  My favorite parts of this story was seeing Darcy under Elizabeth’s spell – how he admired her personality and actions, how he was so crazy in love that he acted irrationally.  His love for her was a powerful thing to behold.

WHAT I WASN’T TOO FOND OF:

  • …So yeah….just gonna leave this one blank. 😉

WARNING: Due to the use of some profanity, mild violence, and adult situations, I’d recommend this story for Mature Audiences.

CONCLUSION:

Longbourn’s Songbird is a soulful and poignant Pride and Prejudice retelling that encompasses a much bigger story than Darcy and Elizabeth fighting and finding love. Emotive, deep, and sincere – this debut novel is well-deserving of all the praise and accolades it is receiving! I highly recommend!

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  36 Responses to “Longbourn’s Songbird – Beau North”

  1.  

    I’m so glad you loved this story. This was such an emotionally intense read, and Beau’s use of descriptive language just made the story feel like such an intimate experience for the reader. I had the same reaction as you did in the middle. It was brilliantly done because I don’t think any of us saw THAT coming… Lol!! Happy reading Meredith!

    •  

      Very true, Claudine. 🙂 I love feeling intense emotions when reading and being caught unawares is definitely fun. Beau did such a marvelous job on this debut, I cannot wait to see what she does next!

  2.  

    Wow! What a review! Sounds like a fantastic read : )

  3.  

    It really is a fantastic read! I loved every word of it and the part that none of us saw coming just rocked my soul! Amazing, just amazing, an absolute must-read!

  4.  

    I am thrilled, thrilled, thrilled that you liked it. 1) because you live in the South, 2) you are a musical person, 3) you appreciated the nuances and the big risks, and 4) you connected and were surprised by the characters. My favorite parts: “…incredibly palpable and skillfully rendered.”

    “I love it when Darcy & Lizzie’s love is depicted as an ungovernable force”

    “WHAT I WASN’T TOO FOND OF:

    …So yeah….just gonna leave this one blank. ”

    Thank you for such an honest and thoughtful review.

    •  

      Awww, thank you Christina! I’m a very honest person in real life, so I cannot help but be the same with my review! It was a lot of fun to write this one because I had so much I wanted to say and all of it was praise and appreciation! 😉 I’m so thankful for Beau, you, and all of Meryton Press for giving us readers such a brilliant story to enjoy again and again!

  5.  

    Thank you for this wonderful review! I’m thrilled that you enjoyed it!

  6.  

    Fabulous review and can’t wait to read this book! It’s on my wishlist but hope to move it over soon to my TBR list! It may get there sooner rather than later after your review! Thank you!

    •  

      I know how you feel, Carole! I saw all the positive reviews and mentions this book was getting a couple months ago and I was dying to read it myself. You should definitely pick it up soon if you can! Happy reading!

  7.  

    You’ve renewed my determination to read this one! I love a modern adaptation with some thematic meat on its bones, not all romance, romance, romance. It’s going on my Kindle right now for a trip I’m taking in March!

  8.  

    I was lucky enough to win a copy of this book late last year and it’s sitting in the TBR pile on my bookcase as I type. It sounds amazing and I can’t wait to get to the jaw drop moment.

  9.  

    Thanks so much for this review Meredith. This is definitely going to the top of my wish list. I love any books where Darcy is besotted with Elizabeth and this definitely seems to fit the bill. I’m desperate to know what happened to her to make her want to hide away.

  10.  

    Lovely review Meredith, you have really got to the heart of it with this very special book, thank you:-)

  11.  

    Great review Meredith. You should be getting paid for these because I’m sure there’s a surge in sales afterwards, LOL!

  12.  

    I, too, loved this book. Especially loved the scene where he sees her in the pond. But it was all good!

  13.  

    Ah, yes, this was indeed a good one. Glad you liked it, too.

  14.  

    Excellent review, Meredith! Look forward to reading this one! 🙂

  15.  

    Now I have to read it 😀

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