Sunday, November 7, 2010

Review: THE LEGACY OF PEMBERLEY by Rebecca Ann Collins

As in life, good things in books also come to an end. So goes The Legacy of Pemberley, the tenth and final chapter in Rebecca Ann Collins's The Pemberley Chronicles.

Fifty years have passed since Darcy and Elizabeth married, and we have reached the midpoint of the Victorian era. This period, with its locomotives and coal-smoke belching industry, is very different from the elegant, if backward, Regency.

In this last novel, Ms. Collins concludes the stories of the grandchildren of the Pride and Prejudice characters. Although no one character dominates this book, the most compelling story is that of Caroline Fitzwilliam, the daughter of Elizabeth's uncle and aunt Gardiner and the widow of Colonel Fitzwilliam. Living with Rachel, her youngest daughter, Caroline suffers from the loss of her Fitzy, the love of her life. But Caroline is not a woman to roll over and die. She continues her and the colonel's crusade against injustice by opening a shelter for homeless women. No stranger to the tangles of politics, she defeats a developer who would carve the Derbyshire landscape into tiny plots of haphazard housing.

The main romance belongs to Rachel, who never found a man who caught her heart, until Daniel Faulkner returns from 20 years in Australia. Although Rachel and Caroline are distraught at the possibility of leaving each other, love finds a way to solve all problems. Again, Daniel is another of my favorite kind of hero, the decent man. Ms. Collins is an expert at writing them. I love them all.

The story ends as it began, with Elizabeth and Darcy. They look back over the events of their half century of happy marriage, content that they have trained the next generation to serve as wise stewards of The Legacy of Pemberley. I was sorry to read the final "The End".

Thank you, Rebecca Ann Collins.

Thank you all,
ARC provided by Sourcebooks

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