Mar 042019
 

Kitty Bennet Realizes Her Purpose

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!

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GIVEAWAY TIME

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.
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  16 Responses to “The Exile: The Countess Visits Longbourn – Don Jacobson + GIVEAWAY!!!”

  1.  

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this book. I love history and have enjoyed the first two books in the series. Thanks for the giveaway!

    •  

      Hey there…as Meredith noted, the book works best after having read the first four books in the series as the Universe is continuing to be built. Sequence is Keeper, War, Exile 1, and Lizzy Bennet Meets the Countess.

    •  

      Awesome! So glad to hear you are enjoying this series!

  2.  

    I will note on the giveaway that I have discovered some folks have difficulties with Audible and Kindle e-book codes on Amazon sites not USA or (perhaps) UK. However, do not worry about it. I will figure it out (at least as it comes to the e-book). That is why .mobi files were invented.

  3.  

    Thanks for sharing. This is one of those series of which I have read several. I would probably have enjoyed them more if I had waited for all to be published as I read so many books that remembering the details of ones I read months ago is very difficult and I don’t have the inclination to reread all the ones I previously read in a series when I don’t remember those details. I do have an overall view of what is happening. I did enjoy those that I read.

    •  

      Hi Sheila…your comments and notes have been so helpful over the years that have seen the Wardrobe Universe expanding. I do understand that t’is difficult to keep track of entrances and exits, although I do try to offer enough useful backstory (see @SophiaRose’s reviews as well as @Meredith’s earlier) in the opening chapters of each book. For instance, I am currently writing “The Pilgrim: Lydia Bennet and the Soldier’s Portion.” T’was necessary for me to re-introduce Sergeant Henry Wilson and Corporal Charlie Tomkins (both of whom have important roles in “The Countess Visits Longbourn”) so that I could offer up new nuggets about the lives of Lydia and George Wickham from 1813 to 1815.

      While there is a specific story arc which we are following, I do see the Bennet Wardrobe stories as a biography of the Bennet family outside of Elizabeth well-annotated life story after her marriage (see other P&P variations). Each character will have a “Happily Now” if not the traditional HEA.

    •  

      Thanks for checking out my review and sharing your thoughts! I know what you mean, there are so many details in each book that if you don’t read them close together it can be a challenge. But I find reading my older reviews helps to jog my memory! 😉 And I know you write reviews too, so hopefully that helps!

  4.  

    Thank you Meredith for such a thoughtful review. I have had some of the same problems as Sheilalmajczan, in not being able to remember details between the waiting times for the next new installment comes out. I did enjoy many parts of the story, even though the ending was sad…sad yet noble and inevitable, setting up for the next book. I have high praise for and do recommend this book (read in order, of course.)

    I know Don stated above in his response to Sheila, that he see’s ‘the Wardrobe stories a a biography of the Bennet family outside of Elizabeth,’ but I believe this series misses out for Elizabeth and Darcy’s presence. I love stories about P&P’s supporting characters and the world Don has built in The Wardrobe is astonishingly unique and intelligently imagined. But P&P was primarily about Elizabeth and Darcy. They are the core around which everyone revolves and who they owe their existence to. I have missed their presence very much. I know what your thoughts are Don, so just my opinion. :/

    •  

      Hi Michelle…your participation in “Lizzy Bennet Meets the Countess” made the novella so much more fun. You will note that Miss Sloane, who worked for Mrs. Darcy and appeared at the Villa Diodati, earlier worked for Laura Jenkinson when she was employed by Wilson & Hunters at Oakham House. Yes, the Universe of the Wardrobe is a small place at times.

      Which brings me to the next point. As you may recall in “The Avenger,” love (as discovered by Mrs. Bennet) powers the Wardrobe and its Universe (Fifth and Sixth Loves). What is the most powerful love in Jane Austen’s Universe? As you noted…P&P revolves around the 4th love…agape…of Darcy and Elizabeth.

      And, recall that we met Lizzy at age 10 and Elizabeth at age 26 in Lizzy Bennet. Mary met her sister in The Keeper when Mrs. Darcy was 42 in 1833. Finally, Kitty read a reference to “saving her” in a letter from 1836 that was delivered to her hand in 1886.

      As with all families, none are invisible…just not always on stage. Each member’s story contributes to that of the others.

      There is more to which this arc is leading. I might consider holding the mantra within “The Lord of the Rings.” One ring binds them all. So to in the Wardrobe.

      Please be patient with me.

      •  

        I guess I don’t have a choice. 😀 Yes, I’m following through to the end. Like I said I lose details waiting for the next installment. At this point, I’m waiting for the last piece before I reread. Which I have threatened doing each time a new one came out, but you have to admit that would be daunting. I imagine I will find more insight rereading. Excellent books. I may complain, but I still have enjoyed each one and highly recommend. I also don’t want it all to end.

        •  

          Never say complain when you are giving me great pointers. As you know about me, I am spending a lot of time trying to bring the story line to a logical and rational end…at least in a Universe where time travel is possible! Bear with me. All will be clear…I pray!

    •  

      Thank you, Michelle! I so appreciate your kind words! I do agree with you in one respect – I like seeing the spotlight on the other Bennet siblings, but I do sometimes feel like the Darcys don’t take as much of an active role within The Five Families. With Mr. Darcy being the responsible sort, it seems odd he isn’t as vital to the going-ons of everything. But perhaps the reason is because he is not a Bennet…and these books are often taking place in Meryton, London, and France, while he most likely is in Derbyshire. 😉

  5.  

    Enjoyed your review and perspective Meredith. I am one of those that absolutely loves this series. It is an all encompassing epic saga of the Bennet family that I just don’t want to end!

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