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Charlotte Collins Mystery #1

The Lovesick Maid: A Pride and Prejudice Sequel

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One of the maids at Rosings Park is sick. But is there more to Mary Booth's illness than a broken heart? Only Charlotte Collins has enough wits about her to find the answer.

In this Pride and Prejudice sequel, Jane Austen's Hunsford and Rosings Park comes to life with familiar characters like the lovelorn Anne de Bourgh, Colonel Fitzwilliam, Mr Collins and, of course, Lady Catherine. There are new faces, too, as Charlotte searches for the truth.

88 pages, ebook

Published February 25, 2018

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About the author

Mark Brownlow

6 books29 followers
Mark is a British-born writer and travel journalist now living in Vienna, Austria.

Published May 2023: a new Charlotte Collins mystery...

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5 stars
27 (32%)
4 stars
30 (36%)
3 stars
21 (25%)
2 stars
3 (3%)
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1 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 28 of 28 reviews
Profile Image for wosedwew.
1,163 reviews104 followers
May 17, 2023
Common sense is a flower that does not grow in everyone's garden. ~ Author unknown

Elvis Presley would have us believe a “hard-headed woman” and a “soft-hearted man” have been the cause of trouble since the world began.

But what about an intelligent, imaginative woman paired with a dullard?

Charlotte Lucas Collins made what she considered an intelligent decision: to marry a slow-witted but essentially good-hearted man. She does her best to give him the respect he deserves while giving herself the freedom she requires.

Common sense is not so common. ~ Voltaire

A young housemaid from Rosings has taken so dreadfully ill her parents fear she will die. Others from Rosings suspect she is merely pining after a footman her Father thinks is not good enough for her.

Charlotte visits the family and investigates.
Who supplies the draughts the maid is taking?
Who has a reason to wish the family ill?
How can Charlotte hold her husband at bay while she solves the mystery?

I missed the Darcys but the Colonel and Anne de Bourgh combine forces with Charlotte to convince Lady Catherine they should be re-admitted to Rosings. Is Lady Catherine as easily led as Mr. Collins?

This is a short, clean and amusing story that I would recommend to JAFF readers needing a break from angst!

I’ll be watching for the next in this series.

Mad, adj.: Affected with a high degree of intellectual independence. ~ Ambrose Bierce
Profile Image for Leslie.
2,741 reviews2 followers
March 22, 2018
This was an absolute joy to read. This is a new series (yay!) set at Rosings featuring the sleuthing Charlotte Collins. I really love this Charlotte she has managed her husband, and really pretty much Lady Catherine so now she is dealing with the parishioners. When a tenants daughter falls ill Charlotte tries to determine who, what where, why and how is it happening.

This is a clean, low angst, low distress mystery. Lizzy and Darcy are mentioned by never appear. Another reviewer mentioned Miss Marple and that was one of my initial thoughts as well. Obviously Charlotte is younger but equally determined and no one will stand in her way.
Profile Image for Susan.
5,464 reviews49 followers
August 1, 2018
In this Pride and Prejudice sequel several years have passed since Charlotte married Mr. Collins. But now she is concerned when one of the Rosings's maids, Mary Booth, seems to be more than suffering from a broken heart. Charlotte is determined to solve the mystery and maybe help her own loneliness, and her sense of still being an outsider in this parish.
A delightful whodunnit with a cast of familiar characters plus a few new ones.
Profile Image for Teresa.
553 reviews116 followers
March 16, 2018
I thoroughly enjoyed this short story. It's set in Rosings Park and the village of Hunsford and the main character is Charlotte Collins. The writing is wonderful and I think Mark catches the cadence and nuances of Jane Austen perfectly.
This is the first in a series I believe and I'm looking forward to the next one to see what gets thrown into the mix and how it effects our beloved characters from P&P.
Profile Image for Debbie.
1,500 reviews30 followers
March 20, 2018
This is a really good whodunnit at Kent after Pride and Prejudice ends. N0 murder, but Mary Booth, a Rosings maid, has a mysterious illness. At first, it appears she's just heartbroken, but then her illness starts to seem more suspicious.

I love this story despite the absence of Elizabeth and Darcy. Charlotte Collins makes a great Miss Marple. She manages her stupid husband and his equally short-sighted patroness deftly, and she cares about the villagers and the Rosings staff. Even Anne de Bourgh needs Mrs. Collins' intervention. The eventual reason uncovered for Mary's sickness makes sense without being too obvious.

There are small threads left hanging after the mystery is solved. Anne has desires that do not mesh with her mother's plan for her. Also, Charlotte lacks true companionship. The servants and villagers respect her, but she is still considered an "outsider." I look forward to future books in this series.
Profile Image for Don Jacobson.
Author 22 books100 followers
March 13, 2018
A Gentle Mystery

Mark Brownlow offers readers a subtle mystery which reminded this reviewer of a Miss Marple story. He imbued his detective, Charlotte Collins with a quiet persistence that fraudsters the lines expected for the woman from Lucas Lodge. No explosive action sequences...just The low key acts of sleuthing that take all the puzzle pieces and try to assemble them once only to discover they do not fit. A moment's pause leads to a more satisfying conclusion. Well written and edited, Lovesick Maid is a solid kickoff to the series.
Profile Image for Rose Servitova.
Author 5 books43 followers
April 1, 2018
A fantastic read. I loved it- where Austen meets Agatha Christie. I look forward, very much, to the next installment. Everyone who loves Austen should read this.
Profile Image for Racheli Zusiman.
1,443 reviews47 followers
February 11, 2022
איזה כיף של ספר!
הספר הוא תעלומה בלשית המהווה המשך של "גאווה ודעה קדומה" של ג'יין אוסטן, הפעם בכיכובה של שרלוט קולינס. אחת המשרתות הצעירות בבית רוזינגס של ליידי ק'תרין דה בורג נופלת למשכב, ושרלוט חושדת שמשהו לא כשורה. בין לבין מוזכר היחס של ליידי דה בורג לנישואיו של דארסי לאליזבת', וגם אן דה בורג וקולונל פיצוויליאם מופיעים, וכמובן מר קולינס. רוח הספר והדמויות ממש ממש מזכירות את "גאווה ודעה קדומה" (בניגוד לספר שקראתי לא מזמן, The Clergyman's Wife, ששם דמותה של שרלוט הייתה מאוד לא קשורה ומאכזבת), וזה ממש כיף!
בקיצור, ספר מוצלח מאוד. נהניתי ואני ממשיכה לספר ההמשך שבו פותרת שרלוט תעלומה נוספת...
Profile Image for Lona Manning.
Author 7 books30 followers
March 6, 2018
Mark Brownlow chose well when he selected Charlotte Lucas Collins as his protagonist for a new series of cozy Regency mysteries. Who better than Charlotte--level-headed, practical, kind and intelligent--to delve into unexplained happenings in her new home of Hunsford?
A housemaid at Rosings is mysteriously ill. Who or what is behind it? Brownlow provides several plausible perpetrators. Charlotte has to solve the mystery while contending with her husband and the imperious Lady Catherine DeBourgh. Brownlow deftly sketches in the village of Hunsford and its inhabitants and their daily lives. There are some flashes of Brownlow's wry humour (which fans of his "inbox" series at www.lostopinions will know), especially when he is discussing the deBourghs. I should have liked even more.
I like the way Brownlow handles the characters we know from Pride & Prejudice. In some of the JAFF I have read, Rev. Collins is a horrible, odious person--here he is, as Jane Austen portrayed him--a fallible human being, both pompous and insecure at the same time. I've always thought Anne DeBourgh was a real challenge for the JAFF writer. Jane Austen never gave her any dialogue. She is in poor health and utterly dominated by her mother, yet Austen didn't invite the reader to be sympathetic towards her. We never get an insight into her character, nor find out if she wanted to marry Darcy. So how to re-interpret her? Brownlow lifts the curtain partway on Anne, and we know that there is more to come in future installments of this series.
The book follows canon except in one particular--Charlotte has not had a "little olive branch" and her union with Mr. Collins is unblessed with children, but that does leave her free to solve mysteries, after all! And Brownlow's prose, while not Austenesque, is very good.
There is a romantic sub-plot but romance does not predominate. This is a cozy mystery story, with a chance to spend some time with some of our favourite characters from Pride & Prejudice. So The Lovesick Maid should be judged on its own merits as a cozy mystery and enjoyed by people who enjoy this genre.
Profile Image for Sophia.
Author 5 books334 followers
August 30, 2018
Last year, I became enamored with Cozy Mysteries. I was delighted to discover a new one set in Jane Austen's Pride & Prejudice world. A clever and fun fusion that brings authentic Regency village/country house setting, a charming lead character, and a colorful array of side characters and happenings to fill out this first book in the series.

Time line-wise it is set after the events of Pride & Prejudice and focuses on the people at Rosings and Hunsford village with P&P side character, Charlotte Collins nee Lucas as the amateur detective nosing out the truth of a ticklish situation below stairs at Rosings. Fans of Austen will enjoy the fact that the author pursues the ongoing story of some of Austen's characters while also providing a clever mystery in this gently-paced, shorter piece.

I enjoyed all the elements of the story and look forward to continuing on with book two and following the threads left loose for the reader's delight. Readers need not have read/watched the movie adaption of P&P to enjoy this one so it can be enjoyed by current and new fans alike.
Profile Image for Mark Brownlow.
Author 6 books29 followers
March 1, 2018
Not going to rate my own book, but I can legitimately claim to have read it (repeatedly, in fact).
740 reviews55 followers
June 24, 2020

My Rating: 3.5* rounded up to 4*

"If a marriage is to succeed, then a wife must encourage her husband to pursue those interests likely to keep him engaged for long periods of time." (quote from the book)

Mrs. Charlotte Collins walked softly and carried a subtle stick. Her intelligence led her to gently manipulate her husband in order for her to go about helping those less fortunate in her parish. When illness strikes a maid with no explanation, other than being heartbroken, she starts her own investigation.

I enjoyed this Regency 'cozy' mystery that shines a light on the day-to-day life of Mrs. Charlotte Collins and the denizens of Hunsford and Rosings Park. I look forward to her next mystery!
Profile Image for Jennifer Joy.
Author 40 books179 followers
June 10, 2021
What I loved:
❤️ Charlotte makes a believable detective. Very Miss Marple!
❤️ How Charlotte manages everyone around her so well (especially Mr. Collins)
❤️ A solid, well-done mystery
❤️ Wit, humor, and charm.
This was a wonderful, low angst read I’m certain to read again!
Profile Image for Barbara Klaser.
563 reviews11 followers
April 21, 2021
This is the first in a Pride and Prejudice sequel mystery series, and I've now read both books currently in the series, but out of order chronologically. Oops. It doesn't matter too much, as they stand alone quite well. They're mystery novellas, with mysteries that Charlotte Collins feels compelled to solve. There's a romance that runs as a connecting thread through both stories, and I found them both delightful. Of the two, I think this one is my favorite.

The story takes place at Hunsford, and at Rosings Park, the home of Lady Catherine de Bourgh and her daughter Anne. The time of the story is after Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet married, and they are not currently welcome at Rosings, so Charlotte is missing her friend. She goes to visit a young Rosings house maid who is ill, at home with her family in the village. It turns out the girl may only be lovesick, but there seems to be more to her story than that, and Charlotte overhears some conversations and gets hints from gossip, leading her to look into the matter more deeply. Meanwhile Colonel Fitzwilliam visits Rosings. Anne de Bourgh confides in Charlotte. Then the lovesick maid, Mary, takes a turn for the worse, and the situation is suddenly more alarming, the mystery more urgent to solve.
842 reviews18 followers
November 11, 2019
Very nice

After reading "Cake and Courtship" by this author, I was expecting biting wit and humor. This short book, however, is just an interesting little tale involving Charlotte Collins and some events in the small village of Hunsford. She gets involved in some intrigue concerning a sick girl, who is a maid at Rosings Park. Charlotte attempts to unravel a mystery about what is making the young maid ill.

All the usual Hunsford characters are there, as well as Colonel Fitzwilliam, and we meet some of the other staff of Rosings Park. Mr. Brownlow has captured the style and tone of Jane Austen 's original version, portraying Lady Catherine and Mr. Collins and others in very familiar ways. This isn't a comic story, but rather a drama of sorts, showcasing Charlotte's calm demeanor and her skill at manipulating people with her sense and intelligence. She seems able to turn Lady Catherine and Mr. Collins to her way of thinking with some well placed logic and flattery. The villagers she handles with a more direct application of her superior sense.

The book is well written and well edited. I recommend it to anyone who would like more of Charlotte.

Profile Image for Lisa.
189 reviews
June 5, 2020
It was interesting

I liked the plot, there is a bit editing problems. But,the author should know that Charlotte would never call Elizabeth, Eliza. From the original P&P, only Caroline Bingley addressed her as such. That was she knew that Elisabeth hated the nickname. Charlotte, friends and family revered to get by her given name or Lizzy.
Profile Image for Nikii.
219 reviews11 followers
January 29, 2019
A lovely, smart return to the world of Pride & Prejudice, featuring the inimitably practical Charlotte Collins and the other characters of Rosings Park and Hunsford Parsonage. I will definitely be buying the sequel!
697 reviews6 followers
July 14, 2019
Avid Reader

This was a quick fast read. I thought the way that Charlotte solved the mystery was interesting, especially since the person suspected of poisoning Mary Booth was innocent.
280 reviews
June 7, 2020
The Lovesick Maid...

Enjoyable read. The rectors wife gets into an interesting tale of events in the small village they live in. She handles in investigation of possible poisoning case. A definite must read. Very enjoyable short story
547 reviews
July 14, 2022
An excellent novella

A tight well constructed mystery with Charlotte Collins as the central character. I particularly liked the portrayal of Lady Catherine, exactly as I imagine her from canon - formidable but not villainous.

I heartily recommend this book.
Profile Image for Anne.
38 reviews1 follower
May 24, 2020
Charlotte finds the clues

A young maid at Rosings has a mysterious illness, and Charlotte Collins untangles a web of lies to find the cause. Happy ending.
720 reviews
June 10, 2020
Interesting read. I would recommend this book. A mystery based on Pride & Prejudice characters. Looking forward to the next book in this series.
Profile Image for Greencolander.
17 reviews
December 27, 2021
Cute book

A clean Pride and Prejudice variation focusing on Mrs. Charlotte Collins (nee Lucas). Characters are true to the original book. Free of typos.
1 review
January 20, 2023
Very enjoyable.

I really liked this book. It was a nice cozy mystery-ish book. I loved the ending. Very fine writing. I will be reading the next one.
Displaying 1 - 28 of 28 reviews

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