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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Ladies of Longbourn by Rebecca Ann Collins

The Ladies of Longbourn: The acclaimed Pride and Prejudice sequel series (The Pemberley Chronicles)
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
ISBN: 1402212194
Pages: 320 pgs
Genre: Jane Austen Sequel/Pride and Prejudice
Challenges-Read’n’Review Challenge, 100+ Reading Challenge

Publisher’s  Description:

The bestselling Pemberley Chronicles series continues the saga of the Darcys and Bingleys from Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice and introduces imaginative new characters.

Anne-Marie Bradshaw is the granddaughter of Charles and Jane Bingley. Her father now owns Longbourn, the Bennet's estate in Hertfordshire. A young widow after a loveless marriage, Anne-Marie and her stepmother Anna, together with Charlotte Collins, widow of the unctuous Mr. Collins, are the Ladies of Longbourn. These smart, independent women challenge the conventional roles of women in the Victorian era, while they search for ways to build their own lasting legacies in an ever-changing world.

The ladies find strength, companionship, and friendship together as they work to build a children's hospital, deal with a deadly outbreak of influenza, and help a gentle lady flee a violent and destructive marriage.

Jane Austen's original characters - Darcy, Elizabeth, Bingley, and Jane - provide a framework of solid values and commentary to anchor a dramatic story full of wit and compassion.

My Review:

This series is turning out to be my favorite excursion into the post-canon Jane Austen world. Collins adds so much richness through adding new characters and  new storylines to the background of Jane Austen’s world. The Ladies of Longbourn is a great continuation of The Pemberley Chronicles series.

I liked the main couple in this one. Anne-Marie, Jonathan Bingley’s daughter and Charles Bingley’s granddaughter, was a really engaging and interesting character. She begins the story when she escapes a terrible marriage with a preacher (like Charlotte Collins) and then becomes friends with and eventually marries Colin Elliot, a Tory MP.  I felt so bad for her in her marriage with Mr Bradshaw. She is such an intelligent and vibrant character that it almost felt like a waste for her to be in such a horrible marriage with such a dolt of a man. Colin was also a great character. He was a great hero for our heroine. Intelligent, well mannered, handsome, polite…all things I like in a man. He also fit extremely well with Anne-Marie.

I really enjoyed the political aspect of The Ladies of Longbourn. It seemed to be much more intense in . The writing was also excellent, as it always is with Rebecca Ann Collins. She weaves the history, drama and romance together perfectly and keeps you interested in all of them at the same time. I am constantly amazed at how she can use so many characters and  storylines and keep them straight and interesting.

The only problem I had with this book was that sometimes when discussing politics, they were a bit too preachy. I felt as if I was listening to a sermon. As much as I appreciate the history, I do not like being sermonized. This was not a huge complaint, it did not occur often and did not deter from my enjoyment of the novel. It just got a bit frustrating at times.  I also did not feel that spectacular chemistry between Anne-Marie and Colin as I did with Jonathan and Anna. This one has slightly more complaints than the previous books but they are relatively minor.

I am still loving this series. Usually about halfway through a series, I lose interest. It is not happening with this one. I can’t wait to start the next one.
*This book was bought by me for me. I am not making any profit from my review of this book other than my enjoyment.


  1. ooo that looks really interesting! I've just started to get into these Austen spinoff/companion books. They look really good! I'm hoping I like them as much as you do. Great review and thanks for the info.

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