Charlotte Lucas always seemed like the least interesting character in Pride and Prejudice to me.
We barely saw her in most of the story and though she was a good friend to Lizzy, the last we saw of her she was basically walking away with Elizabeth’s best hope of a husband (at that point any way).
So when I saw that this one was coming out, I was eager to see how the author would portray Charlotte in this reimagining. It sounded so promising and after I read the pitch, I found myself wondering—what DID happen to Charlotte Lucas and Mr Collins?!
Needless to say, I was eager to see how this one played out and started reading it as soon as I downloaded it.
Charlotte Collins, nee Lucas, is the respectable wife of Hunsford’s vicar, and sees to her duties by rote: keeping house, caring for their adorable daughter, visiting parishioners, and patiently tolerating the lectures of her awkward husband and his condescending patroness, Lady Catherine de Bourgh. Intelligent, pragmatic, and anxious to escape the shame of spinsterhood, Charlotte chose this life, an inevitable one so socially acceptable that its quietness threatens to overwhelm her. Then she makes the acquaintance of Mr. Travis, a local farmer and tenant of Lady Catherine..
In Mr. Travis’ company, Charlotte feels appreciated, heard, and seen. For the first time in her life, Charlotte begins to understand emotional intimacy and its effect on the heart—and how breakable that heart can be. With her sensible nature confronted, and her own future about to take a turn, Charlotte must now question the role of love and passion in a woman’s life, and whether they truly matter for a clergyman’s wife (summary from Goodreads)
Let’s get right to the point….I loved this one. I thought the author did a great job at capturing the bleakness that had become Charlotte’s life in a marriage with Mr Collins. As we all know, she married Mr Collins for want of security which made perfect sense in the novel, and honestly I never stopped to consider anything else about it until this book popped up on my desk for review. But once I started reading it, I felt so bad for Charlotte.
What a mundane and tedious life she must have had but what made it so real though was the humor the author wove in the narrative. It wasn’t all heartbreak and sadness for Charlotte, I actually laughed a couple of times. I loved that the author captured that feeling of sadness but yet the dark humor that accompanied it.
What shined for me in this one though, was the author’s ability to articulate the feelings that arose within Charlotte when it came to the life and marriage that she chose. The complexity of those feelings really worked well in this novel and were highlighted with realness and grace as was befitting of our heroine in this book.
You can also tell that the author is clearly a fan of Jane Austen as this book maintains the ‘Austen Magic’ with charm, humor, love, but adds the perspective of a modern woman. I loved it. This combination really worked incredibly well and once I started this book I couldn’t put it down. As a fan of Austen, I thought the author did her justice with this one and gives a whole new generation of fans something to enjoy and savor!