A Pride and Prejudice Western Adventure
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Source: Review Copy from Publisher
Don your best gingham dress, dungarees, or Stetson and saddle up for a rip roarin’ adventure with the gang from Pride and Prejudice!
Ever since her brother died while fighting for the Union, Beth Bennet has vowed to blame, suspect, and hate anyone associated with the Confederate Army. When her father moves Beth’s family from Ohio to their own farm in Rosings, Texas, Beth finds herself surrounded by those she swore to forever hate. Although Beth eventually accepts and befriends southerners like her sister’s fiancée, Dr. Charles Bingley, and Charlotte Lucas, the sheriff’s daughter, she cannot help but despise and think the worst of William Darcy, a former Captain of the Confederate Army Texas Legion.
Elizabeth’s abhorrence of William Darcy is strengthened by family friend George Whitehead (Wickham), who makes many negative allusions to Darcy’s character, past, and family. During the war, George Whitehead helped command a prisoner of war camp for the Union Army and he is even more devious and nefarious than Jane Austen’s George Wickham! True to character, George Whitehead does unspeakable and scandalous deeds both during and after the Civil War. While in Rosings, George Whitehead is attempting to make his fortune by scamming resident farmers with his cohorts, the indomitable Catherine Burroughs and corrupt bank manager Billy Collins. With such perfidious and heartless villains in residence, do the townspeople of Rosings even stand a chance?
Readers will find this variation of Pride and Prejudice to be distinctive and unique for many various reasons. One aspect that makes this novel unusual is that it was written by a man. While several men have penned Austen-Inspired novels in recent years, to find one that does not include zombies, sea monsters, or vampires is a rarity. Because Pemberley Ranch is written by a man, it does have a bit more of a masculine feel to it (which I found quite intriguing). There is much more action and adventure in this novel, and readers should expect some danger and violence. But don’t worry, there is still plenty of romance! (Darcy as a cowboy? *swoon*) Another difference in Pemberley Ranch is the setting of Post-Civil War Texas and the fact that many characters earn their living from the agriculture industry. All the men are out herding cattle and working the fields while the womenfolk are busy churning butter and canning vegetables. Instead of a world of society, luxury, and pleasure, Pride and Prejudice is transported to a time of hard work and simplicity.
I was enthralled by this remarkable and adventurous variation of Pride and Prejudice! I found it to be a spectacular integration of romance, war, history, adventure, and conflict. Not to mention a brilliant blend of Civil War prejudices and Jane Austen’s moral guidance. Mr. Caldwell is a skilled story-teller and his debut novel, Pemberley Ranch, is sure to entrance and excite lovers of history and the Old West. I eagerly anticipate reading more from Jack Caldwell, and look forward to his next release, The Three Colonels, due out in 2012!
Note: I would recommend this novel for Mature Audiences. There is one intimate scene and some mild profanity.
Coming Soon: Interview + Giveaway with Author Jack Caldwell on December 1st!