Title: Caroline Bingley: A Continuation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice
Genre: Historical Romance
Author: Jennifer Becton
Source: Kindle purchase from Amazon $3.99
Sexy Rating: 3.5
Description from amazon.com:
When Charles Bingley and Mr. Darcy made proposals of marriage to the Bennet sisters at the end of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, Caroline Bingley was both distressed by her brother’s choice of bride and humiliated by Mr. Darcy’s rejection of her. And she made her objections known.
Now banished from her brother’s household, Caroline must return to her mother’s home in the north of England until she can make amends with both Bennet sisters. Desperate though Caroline may be to return to polite company, she absolutely refuses to apologize to Miss Elizabeth Bennet, and instead, she seeks an alternative route back into society in the form of Mr. William Charlton, heir to a barony.
Through her connections with Mr. Charlton’s sister Lavinia, Caroline begins to infiltrate the household in the hopes of securing the gentleman and his title for herself. However, she must also contend with her vexing emotions regarding Mr. Patrick Rushton, a once-wealthy landowner, and the meddlesome opinions of Mrs. Rosemary Pickersgill, the companion sent by her brother.
When all that Caroline has ever dreamed of attaining–an ancient family name, a title, and a home of her own–is finally within her reach, will she grasp for it even if it means disregarding the workings of her own heart? Or will she cast off the trappings of society and give herself to true love?
If you have read Pride and Prejudice or if you have watched any of the many movies made from this classic romance, then you know Caroline Bingley is a snob. And you may be wondering how she can possibly redeem herself from the manipulations she so enthusiastically has undertaken to bend others to her will. Jennifer Becton not only delves into the psyche of Caroline, she brings the reader along to wish for and watch hopefully for Caroline’s redemption.
So many Historical Romances focus on the redemption of the hero, in this book we are treated to the redemption of the heroine. It is not easily won, she does suffer and her distress and pain is felt by the reader.
In this Becton’s second continuation book (the first being Charlotte Collins) she once again brings us into the Regency period without sugar coating the era. It was a difficult time for women who were treated as property. There was little choice, either marry or live a life of poverty. Caroline Bingley did have personal wealth but it was controlled by her brother and if she married it would be controlled by her husband. Either way she would be under the thumb of a man. The period also embraced the societal structure of the class system and because Caroline’s ancestry was of tradesmen she was obsessed with elevating herself to the upper classes.
Becton is an extraordinary writer who kept me riveted to this story. Her characters are realistic and very well drawn. She shows how misguided Caroline can be and how those who care for her try to show her the reality of her life. It is often frustrating to see Caroline’s persistence.
This book is well written and the romance well done. I felt like cheering for Caroline Bingley’s redemption and her happily ever after. Don’t misunderstand, she doesn’t change totally. She becomes self-aware, and she allows herself to follow her heart instead of her misguided social climbing.