If you are a regular reader of my blog you will know that I love Jane Austen and books which are either modern re-tellings of her stories or which feature her characters. The eponymous Charlotte of this book is, of course, Charlotte Lucas from Pride & Prejudice, or Mrs Collins as she becomes. We follow what happens to Charlotte following her marriage to Elizabeth Bennet’s cousin Mr Collins and on an extended visit to Pemberley with her daughters.
Helen Moffett has really captured the essence of the early 1800s time period so well and it did feel to me as though I was reading a book that could easily have been written by Jane Austen herself. The author ties in her storylines beautifully with the well known story of Pride & Prejudice. Those who are familiar with the book will happily recognise some scenes told through the eyes of other characters. I enjoyed how the author takes the story past the end of Pride & Prejudice and imagines what has happened not just for Charlotte and Elizabeth but for many of the other well loved characters too.
Mr Collins never really comes across as a very pleasant character in either the book or any of the subsequent film or tv adaptations but we see him here as a much less shallow person. Indeed, we see his emotional side and we see a man who is loved by his wife and family. And Charlotte, as we come to see, has a great capacity to love.
I thoroughly enjoyed Charlotte which was beautifully written and so compelling. I think that Jane Austen would have approved of the woman her character becomes in this book.
My thanks to publishers Manilla Press (an imprint of Bonnier) for my review copy from Netgalley. Charlotte is published today in ebook and audiobook formats. The hardback edition will be published later this year. You can order a Kindle copy here: Charlotte
From the back of the book
Everybody believes that Charlotte Lucas has no prospects. She is unmarried, plain, poor and reaching a dangerous age. When she stuns the neighbourhood by accepting the proposal of buffoonish clergyman Mr Collins, her best friend Lizzy Bennet is appalled by her decision. Yet this is the only way Charlotte knows how to provide for her future. Her married life will propel her into a new world: not only of duty and longed-for children, but secrets, grief, unexpected love and friendship, and a kind of freedom.
Jane Austen cared deeply about the constraints on women in Regency England. This powerful reimagining takes up where Austen left off in Pride and Prejudice, showing us a woman determined to carve a place for herself in the world. Charlotte offers a fresh, feminist addition to the post-Austen canon, beautifully imagined, and brimming with passion and intelligence.