Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Source: Review Copy from Author
Note: The Exile: The Countess Visits Longbourn is the fifth installment in The Bennet Wardrobe series, and it is recommended that readers read The Keeper: Mary Bennet’s Extraordinary Adventure, Henry Fitzwilliam’s War, The Exile: Kitty Bennet and the Belle Époque, and Lizzy Bennet Meets the Countess prior to reading this book. This story does not work as a stand-alone.
The Bennet Wardrobe – for those not yet acquainted – is a specially-crafted wardrobe that has been in the Bennet family since the late 1700s. It has magical properties and a mysterious purpose it is trying to fulfill. Only those with Bennet blood can move forward in time, and unlike other time-travel devices – the time-travelers cannot choose to when (or where) they will travel. In this series, Don Jacobson intertwines the history of the Bennet family with historical events and figures and fictional characters created by other authors to create a complex and creative universe that fleshes out the personalities and purposes of several secondary characters from Pride and Prejudice.
In this installment readers learn more about Kitty Bennet or as she is later known – the Dowager Countess of Matlock. So far out of all the Bennets who have traveled through time, Kitty’s experiences seem to be the most impactful and surprising. By pure accident Kitty triggers the Wardrobe the day after her sisters marry Mr. Bingley and Mr. Darcy and is transported to the year 1886. Now, forty-six years later, Kitty, perhaps aware of the political climate of the current time period she is in, makes steps towards protecting and securing The Wardrobe and establishing the Bennet Family Trust. It was awe-inspiring to see Kitty so mature, graceful, and commanding. Kitty is a tower of strength, and witnessing firsthand her determined actions and mental acuity was one of my favorite aspects of this novel. The other was seeing her interactions with Mr. Bennet – the myriad of emotions each feel, the new awareness and comprehension, the irony of Kitty still feeling like a young girl around her father but in actuality being several years his senior.
Since there are three more works expected in this series, this installment felt like it is mostly comprised of middle matter. So much is already established and introduced in the first books of this series and while it might not be time yet for the climatic pinnacle or culminating events to begin, this book continues to set the stage and prepare for what is to come. In addition, unlike the other works in this series, this book centers upon someone returning to a previous time in which they lived rather than arrive in a brand new time and reality, which perhaps makes this book a little less exciting and eventful in comparison.
With abundant historic details that are expounded upon and craftily inserted, Mr. Jacobson once again illustrates his meticulous research and breadth of knowledge. I loved recognizing characters from other literary works, and even though there were some that I wasn’t familiar with, I know other may pick up on his references and appreciate the clever tie-ins. While I do appreciate and admire a well-constructed historical backdrop and context, I personally tend to favor stories that focus more on relationships and romantic developments. 🥰 I think readers who have a stronger preference for history context will enjoy this story more than I did.
The Bennet Wardrobe series is delving deeper into the complex purpose of Bennet Wardrobe and the interlocking timelines of the Bennet family and their descendants. And while sometimes it might feel a little too complex to follow, readers who are fascinated by time-travel and eager to explore an alternate universe with the Bennet family will find plenty to enjoy and be entertained by in this thoroughly unique and richly crafted series!
Because he is wonderfully generous, Don Jacobson is kindly offering a giveaway of The Exile: The Countess Visits Longbourn in conjunction with my review!! One winner will receive The Exile: The Countess Visits Longbourn in BOTH ebook and audiobook format – so you can listen and follow along at the same time! (or read some parts on your eReader and listen to other parts while you commute or complete other tasks!
To enter this giveaway, leave a comment about my review!
- This giveaway is open worldwide). Thank you, Don!
- This giveaway ends March 11th.