Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Source: Review Copy from Author
Anne de Bourgh, pale, sickly, and rich, with a desirable inheritance and the promise of a brilliant betrothal, seemed to have a blessed future ahead of her. Or at least she did until Miss Elizabeth Bennet walked into her life and changed everything. With no expected betrothal, no marriage prospects, indifferent health, and her mother’s severely disappointed hopes Anne is left wondering what path her future will take… Will her mother find another auspicious suitor for her to marry? Will she be forced to settle for a marriage of convenience? Or will she find a chance of romance?
While there are many Pride and Prejudice sequels that share what becomes of Georgiana Darcy, Kitty Bennet, and Mary Bennet, Shannon Winslow has instead decided to focus her lens on some secondary characters that are not usually given a large spotlight (although one of them often demands to have her share of it!) In this charming sequel, readers will see parts of Pride and Prejudice from the point-of-views of Anne de Bourgh, Lady Catherine, Charlotte Collins, and Mrs. Jenkinson, as well as learn what becomes of them all after the close of Jane Austen’s beloved tale. Readers will not only be privy to the astute observations and inner thoughts of these ladies, but also witness their private feelings and emotions.
To hear from such a diverse group of ladies with such different situations in life and unique personalities sounds like quite a delightful prospect, doesn’t it? Absolutely! Especially when the author who is depicting these differing perspectives captures the voice and individual personality of each character with flawless authenticity. I hope Shannon Winslow takes this as a compliment, but she perfectly channels Lady C’s exalted pride, frankness of character, and imperious attitude! Her speech and inner thoughts (or should I say schemes and machinations) were some of the most entertaining to read.
As someone who is of a quiet nature themselves, I most loved seeing more from the quiet personalities of Anne de Bourgh and Mrs. Jenkinson. I loved seeing how Anne viewed the world – what she thought of her cousins, her mother, her future. Ms. Winslow pleasantly fleshes out Anne’s character and gives her a heartwarming affection for her cousins, a fond attachment to her father, a sincere friendship with Mrs. Jenkinson, and girlish dreams of romance. I loved being witness to Anne’s daydreams and seeing how she would imagine different scenes of her life taking place or seeing her playing out various conversations. It shows that she has a witty and lively mind but just lacks the courage and confidence to speak out more.
Another element I greatly enjoyed in this story was seeing the interesting dynamic and differences between Lady C and her daughter – how both seem to want to do their duty/responsibility, yet there isn’t much affection or admiration between them. In addition, I also loved seeing more of Mr. Essex, who is sent after a long line of unsuccessful doctors to see if he could help improve Anne’s health. His care and concern are sincere and I enjoyed seeing how he could deftly handle Lady Catherine into doing his will. 😉 And lastly, I enjoyed the little hints we learned about the past – like what Mrs. Jenkinson’s life was like before she became Anne’s companion and what happened to Anne’s father when she was fourteen.
With her newest Austenesque release Shannon Winslow brings readers on an exceptionally satisfying sojourn to Rosings Parks and delivers a thoughtful and thorough tale of the ladies that live therein. I highly recommend!
(NOTE: this alternate point-of-view sequel parallels Shannon Winslow’s The Darcys of Pemberley, and while this story does stand alone for the most part, there are some details alluded to in this sequel that are further expounded upon in The Darcys of Pemberley.)