Michele's Reviews > Netherfield Park Revisited

Netherfield Park Revisited by Rebecca Ann Collins
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Nov 21, 08

really liked it
bookshelves: austen-esque

The Synopsis
Netherfield Park Revisisted takes up the story of Jonathan Bingley, the forty-two year old son of Charles Bingley and Jane Bennett. (Yes, Jane and Lizzie are grandmothers in this novel!). The time is the mid 19th-century and the winds of political change are sweeping through England. The reform movement is well underway and Jonathan is to play a pivotal role. But Jonathan's marriage is disintegrating and it is his quiet strength, so very much like his mother Jane, that will bring him through the intrigues and even betrayals that try his spirit. Through it all, many familiar Austen characters make recurring and enjoyable appearances; their lives, too, are effected by the events that take place.

By not reading the first book in the series, I missed out on the first quarter-century of Darcy and Lizzy's marriage, which was covered in The Pemberely Chronicles: A Companion Volume to Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. This in itself would be of little importance were it not for the recurring references to that time period throughout the novel. The result was a frustrating reading experience as I was continually obliged to fill in the gaps with not enough information to adequately do so.

There can be no doubt, though, that author Rebecca Ann Collins has the enviable talent of writing in Jane Austen's own voice. She admirably attempts to maintain the spirit of Pride and Prejudice and by and large succeeds. The original Pride and Prejudice characters who weave their way in and out of Jonathan's life are true to character - a tribute to the respect the author accords Ms. Austen.

The sheer volume of characters, however, led me to pull out a notebook and create a pedigree chart in order to keep them all straight. The convoluted politics of the time, however, are succinctly presented and illuminating for the reader -- I enjoyed that particular facet of the novel most of all. Ms. Collins demonstrates skillful navigation of the political eddies of the times and the social changes that were sweeping through Europe.

The Recommendation
If you enjoyed the tone of Jane Austen's original works, you'll enjoy the work of Rebecca Ann Collins. I would suggest, however, that you start with Book 1 of The Pemberely Chronicles and read them in order so as to avoid the confusion and frustration I experienced by jumping into the series mid-stream. I refuse to give up on this book, however, and fully intend to read it once again after obtaining the first two books. If the previous two books of the series are as well written as Netherfield Park Revisited, it should be a much more enjoyable read.
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Reading Progress

11/18/2008 page 25
8.31%

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