Review: Charlotte Collins

Jul 20, 2011 by

I have always had a special place in my heart for Charlotte Collins (formerly Lucas) from Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. It is so easy to compare her to Elizabeth: to applaud Elizabeth’s rejection of Mr. Collins, and lament Charlotte’s pursuit of him. After all, who would want to be married to someone like Mr. Collins? The reader often feels disappointed in Charlotte, and that her weakness highlights Elizabeth’s strength. I have never felt disappointed in Charlotte, but I have felt desperately sorry for her in many ways. To compare her, and her choices and options, to Elizabeth is unfair. As few choices as Lizzie has, Charlotte has even fewer. For one thing she is significantly older, with less family support, and probably an even more shaky financial future if she didn’t marry. Charlotte is forced to make the realistic choice, and while we recognize it was realistic we have no real hope for her future happiness.

Which is why I am so excited to see a continuation of Charlotte’s story that gives her a chance at that happiness! Jennifer Becton’s beautifully written novel is both believable and satisfying. While Darcy and Elizabeth make brief appearances, Becton remains focused on Charlotte’s life and circumstances, turning her successfully into a true romantic heroine. After Mr. Collin’s untimely demise Charlotte faces widowhood with the same seemingly unflappable calm that she faced her marriage. As Charlotte enters society again, this time as a chaperone to her younger, unmarried sister, she begins to realize that there might yet be a life for her beyond what she had imagined for herself. She even attracts the attention of two very different men . . . but are these men scoundrels or heroes? You will just have to read the book yourself to find out! And I highly suggest that you do!

Becton’s writing style is lovely, her novel is obviously very well researched, and, in my opinion, seamlessly weaves a new story strand into the rich tapestry of Austen’s characters. The final scene rates high on the “tingle” factor, which is an important requirement for all romantic novels.

I’m not going to lie, Jennifer Becton can write a hot man. The lead male character in Charlotte Collins is pretty smokin’, as is the hero in Jennifer’s new thriller Absolute Liability (which you should read because it is good), so I am all sorts of excited to read her upcoming novel Caroline Bingley just to meet the new hero. He’s going to have to be pretty special to be able to handle Caroline, right?

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