Wednesday, 25 July 2012

5 Star Review of CHARLOTTE from IndieJane

Review and Giveaway: Charlotte – Pride and Prejudice Continues
by KIMBERLY NOELLE on JULY 16, 2012 ·

I generally don’t hold with Mr. Collins apologists. I love him as a deliciously smarmy character, a bumbling, toadying man with few personal charms. And I always agreed with Lizzy Bennet’s shock at Charlotte Lucas’ marriage to him. So, I was skeptical of Karen Aminadra’s Charlotte: Pride and Prejudice Continues before I started.
But early on I got a clue as to how the author viewed Mr. Collins and, like the gradual love story in the book, I started to come around. Here’s how Charlotte describes her husband:

 “His attentions were kindly meant; he simply had no real knowledge and no true discernment of the feelings of others to prevent him from either upsetting someone or insulting them.”

In other words, Aminadra writes a Mr. Collins who means no malice. He is just so socially inept that he can’t help treading on toes, which he does quite literally when he and Charlotte dance. This is just one of many traits that Charlotte finds irritable about her husband as the story begins. Though she scolds herself roundly and reminds herself that she did not marry for love, Charlotte cannot help but be jealous when her friends start to fall in love and get married. She begins to wonder if she is not more romantic at heart than she had suspected. Her transformation into a romance heroine is a delight to watch as the story unfolds across Aminadra’s pages.
Indeed, one of the funniest parts happens when Mr. Collins, who is attempting to take more of an interest in his wife’s thinking, finds a novel by Charlotte’s bedside and begins reading. His reactions to the salacious bits are hysterical and had me laughing out loud. It was then I knew that my mind was starting to change about this character.
What is also a delight in this story is the way the characters deal with the biggest nuisance in their lives. Like Napoleon conquering Europe, Lady Catherine de Bourgh – known in Pride and Prejudice as Mr. Darcy’s interfering aunt – is intent on ruling Hunsford and all its people. She is here made to seem like a jealous, petulant tyrant. Everyone in the town is negatively affected by her strict adherence to hierarchy. This plays itself out, of course, in the main story, but also appears to great effect in a very sweet secondary storyline involving one of Charlotte’s friends. So it becomes a pleasure then to see the characters take their small revenges on the tyrant. And eventually to see Mr. Collins get his own back. (This is a happily ever after, after all…)
Another aspect that I particularly loved about this novel, aside from the happily ever after for Charlotte, is the wonderful female friendships. In Pride & Prejudice, we know that Charlotte and Lizzy are friends, but we don’t see too much of their intimate conversations. In Charlotte, we see a woman developing warm and caring relationships with quite a few females, including two of the town’s ladies & even her own housekeeper. These relationships are crucial in helping Charlotte remain strong in herself, even when she despairs of Mr. Collins.
Overall, Karen Aminadra creates a believable story that helps us understand why Mr. Collins might be the way he is, and speculates on what might happen to him when he realizes he is blessed with the love and devotion of a good woman. Charlotte charmed even this reviewer into giving Mr. Collins another chance. You should too.

see the whole article at IndieJane here