Published by Meadowbrook Press on October 16th 2019
Genres: Historical Romance
Format: Kindle Edition
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I received this book for free from Author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
In the original Pride and Prejudice, Elizabeth Bennet’s friend, Charlotte Lucas marries the silly and obsequious clergyman, Mr. Collins. But what if fate—and love—intervened?
Desperate to escape her parents’ constant criticism, Charlotte has accepted a proposal from Mr. Collins despite recognizing his stupid and selfish nature. But when a mysterious man from her past visits Meryton for the Christmas season, he arouses long-buried feelings and causes her to doubt her decision.
James Sinclair’s mistakes cost him a chance with Charlotte three years ago, and he is devastated to find her engaged to another man. Honor demands that he step aside, but his heart will not allow him to leave Meryton. Their mutual attraction deepens; however, breaking an engagement is not a simple matter and scandal looms. If they are to be happy, they must face her parents’ opposition, Lady Catherine’s disapproval, dangerous figures from James’s past...and Charlotte’s nagging feeling that maybe she should just marry Mr. Collins.
Charlotte had forsworn romance years ago; is it possible for her to become romantic again?
Ever have those side characters in a beloved story that get a bittersweet storyline? Charlotte Lucas from Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice is one of those characters for me. I do get that her temperament and outlook make her an unlikely romance heroine, but author Victoria Kincaid asks ‘what if…’ What if she was disappointed in love earlier in her life? What if her poor prospects were worse than anyone knew? What if the only escape was a disgusting twit? Oh yes, I was eager to explore the now dismal situation of this underdog heroine.
Charlotte Lucas is the oldest daughter of a puffed up, social-climbing pair who are disappointed in their plain, sensible daughter and do not hesitate to put her down and make her miserable. They will do anything to dispose of Charlotte off their hands even marrying her to one of the silliest and unattractive men who happens to be the heir to a local estate. And, Charlotte, because she sees a long life of her parents insults and resentment about providing for her, just wants a home of her own and children she can give her love. She’s not romantic after all, she reminds herself as she slams the door on her memories of a past when she- but no, best forgotten.
James arrives in Hertfordshire three years after the events in Bath when Charlotte broke their engagement and it was all his own fault. He finds her getting set to marry and tries to tell himself to wish her well and move on. But, quiet, calm and steady Charlotte who once looked on him with such love and now only looks dull and lifeless remains on his mind. If only he had arrived only days earlier.
This is a Regency romance. It’s set during the Christmas Season of 1813 with flashbacks to three years earlier when Charlotte’s family visited Bath and she first encountered James Sinclair. But, it’s also set against grander world affairs like the Napoleonic War which plays its role by providing an espionage element.
The story is more of a long novella so develops swiftly. That said, it was not under-developed. I loved the situation the author set up in Charlotte’s personal life with her miserable family so that she is desperate and takes the only offer she thinks she’s going to get. And, then for James to arrive and explain too late. There was good tension and conflict.
The characters were painted well with Charlotte the average heroine many of us can relate to. She’s a thinking woman who tries to make the most of her situation even though it seems like to her vivacious best friend Elizabeth thinks she is settling. She takes the hits in life and sucks it up. I didn’t know how she could get away from the skeavy Collins or how James was going to fix what he broke, but I was definitely vested in finding out.
James just caught a bad break and duty to his country had to come before his own happiness. I wanted him so badly for Charlotte when I saw how sweet and honorable he was. He, too, is an average guy asked to step up against a cunning French spy.
And, just as much as I loved the main characters, I enjoyed boo-hissing several of the cast of characters like James’ aunt, and Mr. Collins’, Charlotte’s would-be fiance’. They were comical on one level, but I think her parents were the worst belittling and emotional abusing their own child. I wanted Charlotte out from under their thumb.
I do enjoy a good reunion romance and this one was just the thing. While this is considered a Pride & Prejudice variation, it is really a separate story of a side character getting her chance at love. Austen fans will spot settings and some familiar characters in the background while newcomers won’t be lost in the least. I would recommend this to both Austen fans and those who enjoy a sweet, heartwarming second chance romance.
My thanks to the author for the chance to read this book in exchange for an honest review.