It ought to be so simple. The titled were wealthy, and the poor were poor. That is how it used to be, but now trade and title were blurring, a most confounding condition. Caroline sighed. She simply could not understand the way of the world.
In this better-than-average spin-off to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice Caroline Bingley retreats to her mother’s home to lick her wounds and strategize how to return to the Darcy/Pemberley circle without apologizing to Elizabeth Bennett. It was brave to take on Caroline Bingley rather than the usual siblings of Elizabeth and Darcy. It keeps her snobbish character intact while making her a little more relatable and her mean-girl actions foiling Jane’s romance with Charles Bingley a little more understandable. A.) She loves her mother. B.) Her family comes from middle-class roots. Her father made his fortune “in Trade” and she lives in fear of being looked down on and excluded because of that.
The writing was competent. Although, and this seems picky, the author seemed to really really like the word “smirk”. It was distracting. Caroline’s motivation for trying to make a noble marriage in order to still have access to Pemberley made no sense. Why Should Darcy and Elizabeth or her brother care about whom she married after being understandably cut from their society? Darcy had already demonstrated his democratic nature by marrying Elizabeth and his friendship with her own brother. Given the Author’s background and qualifications, I expected better.
I do give Jennifer Becton credit for exploring the unjust way women were treated and making the slow changes in society and the rise of the middle-class part important themes in her novel. It was entertaining. I did enjoy her relationships and interactions with Lavinia, the love interest, Rosemary, and her family. I was glad that she brought in Elizabeth, Darcy, Jane, and Charles in a believable way. But Ooh, that title.
May 17, 2019