Friday, June 4, 2010

A Woman Of Influence by Rebecca Ann Collins

Jane Austen fans, rejoice!  Rebecca Ann Collins has written a series of ten books extending the lives of the Austen characters and moving them forward into a new historical era.  Specifically, the series is billed as the sequel series to Austen's Pride And PrejudiceThe series is called The Pemberley Chronicles, and A Woman Of Influence is the ninth book in the series.

Becky Tate is the widow of a publisher and she is entering a new stage in her life.  She has sold the London house she and her husband shared and bought a new estate in Kent, where she is close to her sister.  Becky is deciding what she will do with the rest of her life.  An author, she is also interested in moving forward the plight of women, especially the poor, uneducated and often abused women of the serving class.

A young woman is found wandering the estate.  She has a young son, and has been trying to support both of them by working in the hops fields.  They are dirty and hungry.  Becky takes them in and discovers that the woman claims that her husband is imprisoned, leaving the family to make its way as best it can.  Along with her circle of friends, Becky becomes fascinated with this story and attempts to discover the truth and right any wrongs committed.

While this story is one of the linchpins of the book, there is much else.  There are deaths, weddings, the birth of children.  Relationships between family members and friends are explored.  The relationship of parents to adult children is a recurring theme.  The life of an upper class woman in the eighteenth century is displayed in depth.  How I wish I had the time to spend on relationships and causes that these women did!

This book is recommended for those who love Jane Austen, or are interested in stories of women's rights when society had cast them as the weaker sex, or for anyone interested in a great read.  A Woman Of Influence is written in a gentle style, and I found it compelling.  The reader is drawn into this world and what happens next is all that can be thought of. 

No comments: