Skylar Burris's Reviews > Charlotte Collins: A Continuation of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice

Charlotte Collins by Jennifer Becton
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really liked it
bookshelves: romance, regency, pride-and-prejudice-sequels

I was glad to see another continuation of Charlotte Collins’s story. My own,
An Unlikely Missionary, was published in 2009, and I wondered at the time if anyone but me would care about the fate of this plain friend of Elizabeth Bennett. I realized that Charlotte may never be of as much interest to general Pride and Prejudice fans as she is to me: I have observed that my earlier novel Conviction: a sequel to Jane Austen's Pride & Prejudice, which focused on Georgiana Darcy, continues to outsell my version of Charlotte’s story, despite being two years older, and a search of P&P sequels will find precious few focusing on Charlotte. Yet I have always felt Mrs. Collins deserved to have a fair shake and a story of her own, so when I saw this book, and at the very reasonable Kindle price of just $2.99, I had to purchased it.

I admit that when I read the blurb describing the book, it did not sound particularly exciting – the drudgery of a boring marriage, followed by a death, followed by feverish work to secure one’s livelihood – but, as a writer, I also realize authors typically do not get to write their own blurbs. So I gave it the benefit of the doubt and plowed in. In fact, though the description led me to believe I might be subject to many scenes of tedious married life, the novel opens on the funeral of Mr. Collins and moves at a decent pace from there, and Charlotte’s quest to secure her livelihood is not a focus. We are almost immediately treated to a ball and amusing flirtations, and from there romance and conflict unwinds.

The book is somewhat predictable and formulaic, but this is true of most Regency romance, and so I do not really fault it for this; one expects to be surprised by a mystery or a thriller, but not so much by a romance. The book held my interest, which is the key, and I gulped it down in a single day. There were moments of wit here and there that made me smile. This was gratifying because I always enjoy a touch of humor in Regency romance and find it is too little present. No, it doesn't arise to the level of Austen; it is funny rather than satirical, but one cannot really expect sequels to equal the classic original in that regard.

There were elements of the risk to Charlotte’s reputation that I did not find quite plausible, but to avoid spoilers I will not discuss that here. Suffice it to say that, despite any implausibility, this risk functioned well as a plot device, created tension, and kept the story rolling. While the book does not have a great deal of thematic depth and meaning, I did not feel it needed to nor pretended to - it is simply a fun, light read that moves quickly, and therefore one of the better P&P sequels I have attempted.

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Reading Progress

November 24, 2010 – Shelved
April 9, 2011 – Started Reading
April 9, 2011 – Shelved as: romance
April 9, 2011 – Finished Reading
October 31, 2013 – Shelved as: regency
October 31, 2013 – Shelved as: pride-and-prejudice-sequels

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