Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Source: Review Copy from Author
Note: While the Author’s Preface and Prologue impart some important details of the events that proceed this story, it is recommended that readers read The Keeper: Mary Bennet’s Extraordinary Adventure and Henry Fitzwilliam’s War prior to reading The Exile: Kitty Bennet and the Belle Époque.
In his wonderfully creative series, where magic and history intertwine, Don Jacobson reveals what becomes of many of Jane Austen’s secondary characters from Pride and Prejudice after the happy double wedding takes place. Mr. Jacobson seeks to find new potential and purpose for these characters, and thanks to The Bennet Wardrobe – a special and mystical time-travel device that allows only those with the Bennet bloodline to travel into the future – Jane Austen’s characters could discover their destinies in future times and possibilities.
That is what happens to Kitty Bennet – often overlooked and possessing the distinguishing characteristic of being a frequent cougher, Kitty finds her destiny in a future time period. Quite unexpectedly she makes accidental use of The Bennet Wardrobe and it takes her to the year 1886. An overwhelming and startling change for sure, especially when poor Kitty didn’t even know time travel was possible!
This installment in the series follows the course of Kitty’s life from when she arrives in 1886 through the year 1892. The sequence of events Kitty faces are challenging, illuminating, and at times horrendously appalling. My heart broke and wept for Kitty during these darker points in this story, and my sympathies were fully engaged when we learn about Kitty’s buried anxieties and mental views. But then there were other moments where I found myself amazed by and applauding Kitty’s resiliency and strength. I’ve read a few sequels that flesh out Kitty’s character, but it is in this story that see the greatest transformation take place. While the new time period broadens her horizons and increases her wealth and options, Kitty undergoes am internal metamorphosis of sorts that is shows immeasurable growth and new understanding.
There are many historical figures and interesting cross-overs to explore in this book – such as encounters with Sherlock Holmes, Sigmund Freud, and Pierre-Auguste Renoir. I especially enjoyed seeing Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s characters interact with Don Jacobson’s (his Sherlock was spot on!) However, my most favorite parts of the story-line were those that concerned Kitty and Henry Fitzwilliam. Knowing a little bit of their history (or should I say future?), I enjoyed seeing the development of their interactions together. I liked Henry a lot and found him everything admirable and honorable, and I loved how forthright and sincere Kitty was towards Henry. I also appreciated how Kitty wasn’t interested in flirting or marriage any time soon. Both these characters experience impossible hardships and tragic losses in this story, but their journey through these circumstances is wonderfully rewarding to witness.
And while I do appreciate all the interesting tie-ins to historical events and figures included in this epic adventure, I found myself wanting more time with just Kitty and Henry and exploring their individual thoughts and reflections. But I understand that when combined with the other elements of the the story – the setting, the family background, the historical tie-ins, the new characters – there is only so much page time available allotted for each component.
The Exile: Kitty Bennet and the Belle Époque is a compelling and captivating continuation of The Bennet Wardrobe series. Don Jacobson is not afraid to show some darker and grimmer realities of life (which departs a little from Jane Austen’s style, of course), and I appreciate how sensitively yet truthfully he treats these realities. I am very much looking forward to seeing more of adventures of The Five Families in the rest of this series, and I cannot wait to see where (or when) the Bennet Wardrobe takes us next!
Warning: There are a few mentions of sexual assault and violence, and a few brief scenes where they are described (briefly and not graphically).
Thanks to Don Jacobson I have one Audible Audibobook code for his series to give away to ONE lucky winner! The audiobook for The Exile: Kitty Bennet and the Belle Époque is scheduled to release soon, so the winner can opt to select that audiobook or one of these other options from this series that are all available in audiobook as well as ebook.
To enter this giveaway, leave a comment about my review!
- This giveaway is open worldwide. Thank you, Don!
- This giveaway ends October 12th.