Aug 092019
 

Love In All Forms

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Source: Review Copy from Author

Note: The Colonel is a companion novel to the soul-stirring Pride and Prejudice retelling, Longbourn’s Songbird, but since this story revisits events from the past it can be read as a stand alone. (However, we do recommend you read LS for full context and understanding.)

In Longbourn’s Songbird, Beau North not only takes the beloved characters from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and transplants them to the Deep South, post World War II, but she recreates their history and their paths. Richard Fitzwilliam is still the charismatic and charming colonel that has been to war, but as we learn in Longbourn’s Songbird, he has suffered trials, disappointments, and heart-wrenching pain. In The Colonel, which is set in the year 2002, we learn what happened to our dear colonel after 1950. Richard’s story is unfolded and discovered by his son Ben, who, after surviving the events of 9/11 has made some changes in his life and has returned to his family home. It is there he finds the many unknown truths of his father’s life…

This skillfully-crafted dual storyline that portrays love in all its forms, intensities, and meanings is in every way remarkable. While the narrative asserts that “this isn’t a love story,” love or the searching for love is the focal foundation of every storyline in this tale. Love that is rejected, love that is lost, love that is kept secret, love that is new, love between family, love between friends – whether it develops slowly or quickly, smoothly or painfully, this book discerningly depicts some unvarnished realities about love. Similar to Jane Austen, Beau North demonstrates that she too has a keen understanding of human nature and is in tune with the workings of her characters’ hearts.

Aside from her astute perception and the continuation of her expertly developed setting and backdrop, the area where Beau North’s talent shines brightest is her character development. Whether it is a recreation of a Jane Austen or character or an entirely new original character, each character is brilliantly rendered, thoughtfully fleshed-out, and dynamic. Even though it is one of the most anguish-filled portrayals of Richard Fitzwilliam I’ve ever read, this may very well be my favorite representation of him. He felt so wonderfully real – his hurts, his flaws, his soul, I feel like I know each so intimately, and I fell in love with him in so many ways and for a myriad of new reasons.

In truth, I felt that way about all the characters in this story. Darcy, Elizabeth, Charlotte, Anne, Georgiana – seeing what they experienced, learning about what struggles they faced, I felt like I was a part of their lives in this tale. I am so appreciative for the inclusion of all these characters and their continued storylines (I especially loved seeing more of Anne, Charlotte, and Georgiana). In addition, I adored Ms. North’s original creations Ben, Maggie, Tom, and Keisha. (Ben was just as lovable as Richard.)

Poignant and powerful, The Colonel is a mesmerizing story about life and love. This emotionally turbulent journey is one that will hold you enthrall, pierce your soul, and claim your heart. I am fearful my review doesn’t do justice to this eminently moving and phenomenally constructed tale, but read it for yourself and you will understand some of my awe and fervent admiration.

2nd Note: Due to the use of profanity, mild violence, and adult situations, I’d recommend this story for Mature Audiences.

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  25 Responses to “The Colonel – Beau North”

  1.  

    I was privileged to read an ARC of this – loved it although it is quite poignant, especially for those of us who love the Colonel.

    •  

      So glad to hear you loved it, Sheila! Yes, it isn’t a fate we’d expect for our dear Colonel, but truly it was a wonderful and sensitive representation!

  2.  

    I, too, read it as an ARC and couldn’t put it down. I loved the way the characters reveal themselves through letters as well as scenes. Beautifully written and compelling.

  3.  

    Beautiful review, Meredith! I just ordered the paperback and should have it soon. I am looking forward to reading this exquisite extension to ‘Longbourn’s Songbird’ that, to me, is a modern classic!

  4.  

    Thank you for this gorgeous review, Meredith! I’m thrilled you liked it!

  5.  

    So many quotes from this review that I absolutely loved:
    “Similar to Jane Austen, Beau North demonstrates that she too has a keen understanding of human nature and is in tune with workings of her characters’ hearts.”
    “While the narrative asserts that “this isn’t a love story,” love or the searching for love is the focal foundation of every storyline in this tale.”
    “…this may very well be my favorite representation of him. He felt so wonderfully real – his hurts, his flaws, his soul, I feel like I know each so intimately, and I fell in love with him in so many ways and for a myriad of new reasons.”
    “This emotionally turbulent journey is one that will hold you enthralled, pierce your soul, and claim your heart.”

    I am so happy you loved this so well, Meredith. Beautifully crafted review of an extraordinary, sweeping family saga. I swear this and “Longbourn’s Songbird” should be translated to film.

    •  

      That is really kind of you to say, Christina. It was a hard review to write! I loved this story so much and wanted to give it the best review possible!

      Ugh! If only…that would be so perfect!

  6.  

    Oh Meredith, how perfect is this? I do wish I had your talent for writing reviews without spoilers! You said everything I thought but couldn’t put down on paper. A completely fabulous book with such great characters (both original and new).
    If I hadn’t read it already, I certainly would after reading this. Awesome!

    •  

      You are so sweet to say that, Glynis! It was a challenge to write this review and not gush and put a hundred exclamations all over it! 😉

      I’m happy to hear this book earns your praise and high opinion as well!

  7.  

    Thanks Meredith, I always trust your reviews and look forward to reading Longborrn’s Songbird and The Colonel. I love a good story with good character development. I think Jane Austen was a master at this and why her novels have stood he test of time. Thanks, –Leslie

    •  

      I’m honored to hear you trust my reviews. I hope you enjoy both these books as much as I did. They are beautifully crafted.

      So true! Her characters feel like real people.

  8.  

    I just finished it last night and it was amazing.

  9.  

    Wonderful review, Meredith! OMG, WHAT A BOOK!!! Beau North is amazing. I loved her writing style ever since the Songbird, which got me totally hooked!! Then I heard that The Colonel was in the making and it would be even better. I couldn’t imagine how that was even possible (how can anyone improve on perfection?) but with the risk of repeating myself OMG, *WHAT A BOOK*!!! Congrats for this new piece of awesomeness, Beau North, and here’s to many more!!!

    •  

      Thank you, Joana! I am so happy to have read it so I can join in with singing this book’s praise! I agree! Longbourn’s Songbird is so spectacular on its own…but to have a companion novel. Such riches!

      Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful thoughts!

  10.  

    This was amazing for me, too, Meredith!

  11.  

    Very enticing review (and comments), but then having recently read LS I’m already ready to continue with The Colonel, esp inasmuch as he has always been my favourite Austen hero. Even more so with him here in South Carolina!

    •  

      Oh wonderful, Janis! I hope you enjoy it as much as we all did! And yes, it is so lovely to see a story take place in the Carolinas! My town – Wilmington – was even mentioned in this one which was so exciting for me!

  12.  

    What a moving review, Meredith. This has been on my wish list for too long, I’m ashamed I haven’t read it yet. This sounds like a very tough read for those of us who love the Colonel. I’m tearing up already thinking his will be a sad end.

    •  

      Thank you, Michelle. No need to feel ashamed…there are so many wonderful books that it is impossible to keep up! I hope you get the chance to read this one soon!

  13.  

    Beautifully written review for an amazing story. I agree, this story was so moving. It’s definitely going down as one of my favorites.

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