Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Source: Audible Code from Author
In continuation of his incredibly inventive and engaging Austenesque time travel/time slip series – The Bennet Wardrobe, Don Jacobson prefaces the next novel installment, The Exile: Kitty Bennet and the Belle Époque, with a novella that introduces a new character and hero – Henry Fitzwiliam. Since there is much to learn and understand about both the Bennet Wardrobe and the Bennet family lineage, I’d recommend reading The Keeper: Mary Bennet’s Extraordinary Journey before reading this book in the series. For those who have not had the pleasure of reading any of the books in this series yet, it focuses on the Bennet family and their specially-crafted wardrobe with mystical properties that allow members of the Bennet blood line to travel into various future times (similar to a Tardis or a certain custom-modified of DeLorean). 🙂
In Henry Fitzwilliam’s War readers encounter Lydia Bennet’s great grandson, Henry, in the year 1883. Lydia is currently they keeper of the Bennet Wardrobe and Henry at the age of twenty-one is eager to “make his mark” and search for “that which would confirm his manhood.” And since he is fortunate to have a time travel devise at his disposal, he takes the advantage of the liberty to travel into the future and search for his destiny there. But as readers of The Keeper: Mary Bennet’s Extraordinary Journey may already know, the time traveler does not get to pick the destination year…the Wardrobe does. And in this case the Wardrobe sends Henry to the year 1915, right in the middle of World War I.
I love learning about characters’ backstories and I am so thankful that Don Jacobson takes such pains to give all his characters a rich and thorough detailed history. And I especially enjoy how some of his characters’ histories become intertwined with other notable figures, as Henry’s does with Theodore Roosevelt! From what I understand, this novella was created to give readers some understanding of Henry’s character make-up and past experiences. I loved seeing Henry’s courage throughout the story – even after facing the horrors of the battlefield and suffering injuries, he keeps his spirit and determination. And I am greatly intrigued by his caretaker (who never reveals her identity to him) and very eager to learn more of her story – who is her husband and what happens with her marriage? There is something significant developing between Henry and this unnamed woman even though twenty years separate them, and this book will leave readers waiting with baited breath for their next encounter.
This novella was a unique reading experience for me because I did not actually read it, I listened to it via the audiobook narrated by Amanda Berry. And it was my very first time ever listening to an audiobook. I very much enjoyed Ms. Berry’s narration with her well-balanced pace and wonderful assortment of accents, tones, and inflections! Having no experience at all with audiobooks I found myself very impressed with the overall quality of the narration. And while I did enjoy the advantages of “hands-free reading” and the ability to walk on the beach while a book was read to me, I am not sure if audiobooks are the right fit for me. This has nothing at all whatsoever to do with either the book or narrator, and more so with the fact that I am more of a visual person/learner and felt myself missing seeing the words before me on a page.
An intriguing new character, an impossible romance, and a search for destiny – Henry Fitzwilliam’s War is an enticing and savory sample of Don Jacobson’s next Wardrobe adventure! Readers who enjoy thoughtful and encompassing tales that combine history, literature, and romance should give The Bennet Wardrobe a try!