Sunday, June 13, 2010
Review: A WOMAN OF INFLUENCE by Rebecca Ann Collins
Rebecca Ann Collins's A Woman of Influence is Book 9 of The Pemberley Chronicles, the Pride and Prejudice sequel which follows that book's characters and their offspring into the Victorian era. This installment chronicles the midlife romance of Becky Tate, the second daughter of Elizabeth Bennet's friend, Charlotte Lucas, and the Reverend Mr. Collins.
The now widowed Becky is at last free of her long, unhappy marriage. Her husband, while providing money and prestige, did not love her. Thinking love would come, adolescent Becky married him and used her considerable intelligence, charm, and tenacity to help her rich, powerful husband expand his commercial empire. But their business-arrangement marriage did not survive the death of their daughter, which her husband blamed on her.
Acutely aware of the plight of women, Becky encounters a young woman whose husband was falsely accused of a crime and imprisoned. In helping the woman, who reminds her of her lost daughter, she encounters a man from her past who may give her the love she craves.
I like honorable, decent men as my heroes, and Ms. Collins has a knack for writing them. In Book 8, Recollections of Rosings, the hero was the marvelously appealing Mr. Frank Burnett, who also appears here. In A Woman of Influence, she has created the equally wonderful Mr. Aldo Contini. He helped Becky in the dark days when her husband abandoned her after their daughter's death. Now he returns, hoping the love they felt then but could not act upon can at long last be fulfilled.
Becky could be difficult and headstrong, and she has suffered unhappiness, some of her own making and some not, but her pain makes the ending sweeter. For a good view of Victorian life, and a happy ending with true love between two wonderful people, try A Woman of Influence.
Thank you all,
ARC provided by Sourcebooks