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Rebecca Ann Collins

The Pemberley Chronicles Series

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Review - The Ladies of Longbourn

Beverly Wong ( author of Pride and Prejudice, Prudence.)  writes:

A novel which could truly be one of Ms Collins’ finest- The Ladies of Longbourn  is a treasure for any avid Jane Austen fan.

As this lovely, intricate story unfolds, the reader lives vicariously through the three leading characters, each with a moving story to tell. The ladies are unforgettable, their stories touching...the narrative enjoyable and convincing. Indeed, it can be said that Ms Collins weaves a masterpiece that reaches the heart.

 

 

Debbie from Maryland USA. writes-

I have just finished reading the first five books of the Pemberley Series and I must tell you that every spare moment of my very busy days were spent reading these lovely novels.  I loved The Ladies of Longbourn- with its stories of strong, compassionate women, whose devotion to their families doesn’t interfere with their capacity to care about those less fortunate than themselves.  Jonathan Bingley’s daughter, Anne-Marie – is pushed to the limit of her endurance by a dull, loveless marriage and must find within herself the strength to overcome her sorrow. Rejecting the role of the conventional Victorian housewife, she struggles to convince an apathetic council to establish a hospital for children at Netherfield. When the local MP- Colin Elliott falls in love with her, she faces a difficult choice.

 

 

Mary Anne Jones ( a teacher from Melbourne, Victoria ) comments on two novels- Netherfield Park Revisited and Ladies of Longbourn together.

As a teacher of English Literature and a loyal Jane Austen addict, I had long resisted the lure of sequels, many of which were poorly researched, bad imitations of the original novels.

When one of my pupils brought a copy of Mr Darcy’s Daughter into class, I was appalled  thinking- “Oh No, not another rotten sequel” I could not bear the thought of another piece of plagiarism and pastiche- BUT, my 17 year old student,

herself a faithful Jane Austen fan persuaded me to try it and I thought it might be good for a laugh. I started it on the train going home and could not put it down until I finished it at 2 am in the morning.  Since then I have purchased the rest of the series and enjoyed them immensely. Netherfield Park and The Ladies of Longbourn are two of my favourites. Taking these two novels together makes a lot of sense because they tell a continuous story of Jonathan Bingley and his family. Unlike The Pemberley Chronicles ( volume one ) in which Ms Collins writes mostly about the continuing lives of the original characters from Pride and Prejudice, in these two novels, she has developed a suite of new characters and told their stories with a degree of credibility and humour that is quite remarkable.  

In Netherfield Park, Jonathan- son of Jane and Charles Bingley has to navigate a difficult route through a crumbling marriage and a burgeoning political career, while in The Ladies of Longbourn, his eldest daughter Anne-Marie, herself a victim of a passionless partnership must find a way to refresh and restore her faith in life and her fellow human beings.

Both Jonathan and Anne-Marie are helped in their struggles by strong, compassionate women- in Anna Faulkner and Emma Bingley , whose grasp of the true values of a good life are demonstrated by their lives, without mawkishness or sentimentality. Indeed, both books have a thread of gentle humour which leavens any trace of the “worthy Victorian morality” that weighs down so many 19th century novels.

Ms Collins’ crisp narrative style combined with lively dialogue distinguishes these charming novels. They have convinced me that a carefully crafted, well researched and credible sequel, can be just as enjoyable as the Austen original.

In addition, both novels tell romantic love stories, set in a historical era when men and women enjoyed the benefits of traditional courtship during which they had the time and opportunity to discover the qualities of character and disposition that drew them together; a far cry from the in and out of bed- quickie marriages and even quicker divorces of today. They will appeal to Austen fans and  all those readers who enjoy this genre.

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