Saturday, September 12, 2009
My Cousin Caroline by Rebecca Ann Collins
My Cousin Caroline
After recently reading a book about Pemberley, I felt afraid this book, "My Cousin Caroline," would seem boring. After all, what else could happen? As far as Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth, their material needs are met: lovely children, a beautiful estate, servants, gardens, etc. What else could happen? What would come next after love and marriage and the babies in a baby carriage? Was there more to thread on to Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice" yarn?
I can say a resounding yes there is more to learn about the inhabitants of Pemberley and surrounding homes and villages. "My Cousin Caroline by Rebecca Ann Collins is a page turner. Caroline is very different from Elizabeth, Jane and most of the females I had met in "Pride and Prejudice." Caroline knows she has a mind. She knows her mind is made to be used for more than a bonnet frilled with lace and ribbons. By golly, she wants to use it. When political conversations go on around her, she is unafraid to speak up. Caroline shares opinions about working hours for the poor, the mills and the health and welfare of poor and unhealthy children. Hearing Caroline speak out walked me in to a different world from the one where women whispered about husbands and wealth while embroidering or lifting a tea cup. There is quite a bit about the slavery question too.
However, I loved the other world too. I loved the gossip about who would marry whom, what widow didn't have a dime and what girl was altogether too flighty. So, to satisfy me there was a little this and a little that in "My Cousin Caroline." Still, Rebecca Ann Collins begins to pull apart the myth that women are incapable of keeping a happy husband, raising children and caring about the outside world.
I liked "My Cousin Caroline" because I could feel a frantic and quicker pace. Each day there is a new struggle to face, a new change to make or not make. To me, it seemed like all of the English villagers were on the move, literally or figuratively. There is talk of reform constantly. There is the poorhouse, education for children and working businessmen without one ethical bone in their bodies and there is a coming war. I really felt as though my world had become a part of their world. "With the onset of a recession, unemployment was increasing..."
I could go on and on writing about "My Cousin Caroline." I loved this book. Rebecca Ann Collins' sequel to "Pride and Prejudice" is just overwhelmingly spellbinding.