Archive for November, 2009

Emma and Knightley – Book Review


by Rachel Billington

What happened to Emma and her Mr Knightley after Jane Austen put down her pen?  Rachel Billington has written a lovely sequel to the much adored Austen classic Emma.

After only one year, Emma and Mr Knightley’s marriage isn’t as carefree as they each would have liked.  Tragic news reaches Hartfield that the lovely Jane Churchill (nee Fairfax) has died after giving birth to a boy and her distraught husband Frank is missing.  Frank’s father, Mr Westen, cannot leave his wife who is about to give birth herself and askes Mr Knightley to travel to London to try to find the broken Frank Churchil and bring him home to Highbury.

Mr Knightley lodges with his brother John and his wife Isabelle, Emma’s sister, whilst in London.  He isn’t able to find Frank but writes to Emma saying that business holds him town for a little longer.  Emma and Mr Knightley had not been apart since their wedding and Emma finds the separation difficult.  She is made more uncomfortable by the feeling that her husband isn’t telling her everything.  She senses that something is wrong but he will not confide in his wife.

Over the past year Emma has felt more and more unsteady about the way her husband treats her like a child.  She wishes he would trust her and consult with her on more serious matters than the dinner menu.

Jane Austen once discribed Emma as the heroine that you would despise and then come to love.  Rachel Billington has kept with Jane’s vision of Emma.  She is full of her own self-importance and position in the community and blinded from seeing the value of the people around her.  Emma’s foibles are frustrating but as promised by Jane, she has capacity for goodness and is shamed into correcting herself.

Rachel Billington has been faithful to our Jane and I enjoyed Emma and Knightley very much.

Posted on 22 November '09 by , under Historical Fiction, Jane Austen & Austen Inspired, Reviews. 2 Comments.

Lady Catherine’s Necklace – Book Revew


by Joan Aiken

A blizzard delivers to Lady Catherine de Bourgh’s door, a gentile couple, Mr Delaval and his sister Miss Delaval.  Uncharacteristically, she offers them lodging while Miss Delaval recovers from a sprained ankle and their carriage is repaired.   The pair are soon firmly entrenched at Rosings much to the discomfort of other members of the house. The addition to Rosings Park sparks a series of changes and dramas that will alter the household forever.

Colonel Fitzwilliam has arrived, escorting Lady Catherine’s brother Lord Luke, who has pressing family business to discuss.  Lord Luke’s eccentric manner brings entertainment to Anne, Lady Catherine’s long suffering daughter but sorely tests the latter’s patience.  When Lady Catherine is compelled to visit her sister-in-law, Anne finds opportunity to escape her oppressive life and find her own feet.

The Parsonage is also experiencing change.  Charlotte Collins is confined with their 3rd child and her sister Maria Lucus has arrived to aid her.  Mr Collins is called away after the death of Mr Bennet of Longbourn, to finalise affairs regarding his inheriting the estate.  Maria has had much to ponder since her last visit and wonders if she will have the strength to face the man she shouldn’t love.

This was a fun book to read with the familiar characters from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.  It was fun to get to know better some characters that we were not able to study closely in P & P.

I especially liked getting to know Maria Lucus and Anne de Bourgh better.

Posted on 7 November '09 by , under Historical Fiction, Jane Austen & Austen Inspired, Reviews. 4 Comments.