Whatever Became of Charlotte Lucas?
by Elizabeth Newark

Paperback - 131 pages 1 edition (September 1997)
New Ark Productions; ISBN: 0965914704 (out of stock) (out of stock) (out of stock)

Excerpt from CONSEQUENCE

        Review by Linda Waldemar, November 7, 1997
 The cover of this book says "A gentle, Jane Austen-style joke".  Then, on the dedication page, readers are challenged to identify "those occasional places where I use Miss Austen's actual words, lifted unblushingly from Pride and Prejudice".  And one of the early sentences is:  It is a truth universally acknowledged that o be heir to an estate is eminently less satisfying than to be in possession of that estate.

It appears to me that the author intended that this be a fun read.  And, I think that she succeeded quite well, indeed.  Most everything about this book is light; the size, the character development, the tone.  But, it is light and pleasing.

The story takes place 26 years after the marriage of William Collins to Charlotte Lucas.  They have five surviving, adult children. The youngest, 17-year old Eliza, meets, enraptures and falls in love with Henry Darcy, younger son of Elizabeth and Mr Darcy. It is easy to imagine that this Charlotte is an older version of Charlotte of P&P.  She is a dutiful and efficient wife and mother who manages her husband and looks out for the welfare of her children.

Also present in the novel are the Darcys and Jane Bingley and Caroline Bingley.  The character of Darcy and Lizzy and Caroline seemed quite plausible to me.  I was a little unsure of Jane, however.

The Darcys give a ball for their daughter, Juliet's, 19th birthday.  Most of the guests are the offspring of JA characters.  There are Christopher and Colin Knightly, Alexander and Paul Wentworth, Charlie Musgrove, Priscilla and Frederick Tilney, Gerard Churchill, Dorothea Brandon;  Claudia and Sophia Bertram (Tom's), Alice Bertram (Fanny's) and their cousins, Pamela and Angelica Yates, Catriona and Torquil Fitzwilliam and Walter William Elliot.   Some of these children are much like parents; Selina Ferrars, daughter of Robert and Lucy, is described as a vengeful social climber, while her cousin, Nell Ferrars has a sweet and modest manner.  The Collins' are invited because of Henry Darcy's interest in Eliza. Mr Collins must stay behind, to the relief of everyone, because of gout. The two elder daughters are visiting friends in Sanditon. The eldest Collins son, William, is the Vicar of Highbury and is married to Eugenia Elton. Therefore, Charlotte is only accompanied by her younger son, 22 year old Jonathon and Eliza.

The action includes an intrigue that occurs at the cotillion.  But, all ends well and several proposals occur.  The senior Darcys end the evening with a waltz together and appear to be as much in love as they ever were.  Charlotte handles a surprising occurrence to the benefit of her children, who seem to be getting their heart's desires.

Charlotte is a character that I always admired and I enjoyed reading about how her life might have progressed within her loveless marriage.

I recommend that you give this book a read.  Start with an excerpt from CONSEQUENCE.

        Review by Amy Bellinger, December 24, 1997
 Some of you might remember that we published some excerpts from a new sequel called Consequence -- Or, Whatever Became of Charlotte Lucas: A gentle, Jane Austen-style, joke.

Well, I finally read the whole thing last night (it's just a novella, a little over a hundred pages) and found much charm that the excerpts don't reveal.

For one thing, the central event, a ball given at Pemberley for two of Darcy and Elizabeth's children, is just a hoot because the children of most all the other novel's main characters are invited.  And each have inherited some of their parents' traits. The Betrams, Wentworths, Knightleys, Brandons, Ferrars and others are all there in the same room. Even Sanditon gets a mention. And Caroline Bingley is up to her old tricks of interfering with romance.

It's a sweet light story, but I think what I enjoyed about it the most is author Eliza Newark's handle on the characters -- especially Charlotte and Lizzy, but all of them really. You can tell she loves the characters and knows them, just like we do, or think we do.

Here's an example.

Charlotte Collins led her son and daughter into the ballroom, her back straight and her head held erect as she had taught herself to stand when dealing with Lady Catherine -- her chin not high (that would have invited a put-down), and not low (the humble aroused the bully in her ladyship).

 Excerpt from CONSEQUENCE.

        Review by Lynn Lamy, June 16, 1998
Charlotte Collins has five children.  The eldest, William Rosings Collins, was nothing remarkable, more like his father than his mother.   The next child, a son named Jonathan, was a very friendly and intelligent young man.  Then came two daughters, Catherine and Anne, both very much alike; not ill looking, but not young women of wit or great character.  The youngest, however, a girl named after Charlotte's dearest friend and called Eliza by her family, was Charlotte's delight.  After thirteen years of marriage, Mr. Collins has finally become the master of Longbourn.

Several years later, the Darcy's youngest son, Henry, stops at Longbourn on his trip home from university, deciding to meet some of his little-known cousins.  What he finds there intrigues him, for it

is none other than young Eliza Collins.  Henry manages it so that the Collins and their children are invited to the ball being given at Pemberley in a few weeks' time.  He longs to see Eliza again, and Elizabeth Darcy is scarcely less anxious to see her dear friend Charlotte again.  All the parties concerned are relieved when Mr. Collins is persuaded to stay at home at Longbourn to nurse his recent attack of gout.

What transpires at this ball changes all their lives forever.  The Darcy's only daughter Juliet stumbles on her trip toward adulthood, Henry and Eliza come to know each other better, and the Bingley and Darcy families seem to be on their way to becoming more closely related.  But it is Charlotte Collins' life who is changed the most drastically by this trip to Pemberley, in a secret she carries alone.

This was a delightful book.  It was a quick read, but a most pleasurable one, with all the characters acting just as one would suppose.  Charlotte is patient, but firm, Mr. Collins is obsequious, Elizabeth is arch but loving, and Jane is patient and kind.  The children of these characters are a delight as well.  Juliet is a spoiled young woman, as an only daughter of the Darcy's could well turn out.  Eliza is a delightful blend of Charlotte's quiet manner and Elizabeth's playful nature, and Henry is an eager, intelligent young man.

The book is full of great quotes:  About Charlotte, "Her method of dealing with Mr. Collins was always to ascribe to him the principles and virtues she wished he possessed."  Hence: "'You, with your natural kindness and condescension...'"   Newark seems to understand exactly what drives Jane Austen's characters and how they should act.  She also creates characters who mesh well with the society Jane Austen had already created.

This book is well worth looking for, even obtaining.  I enjoyed it immensely, which is more than I can say for many of the Jane Austen sequels I've read!

        Review by Tate, 3 December, 1998
The author describes this as a "gentle Jane Austen style joke" and if you take it as that, it's very charming. It's a quick read and the author cleverly weaves the offspring of many, many Austen characters (not just from P & P) into a cute tale about the children of Charlotte Lucas Collins and Eliza Bennet Darcy. (I picture the author with the Big 6 spread out before her on a table, cross referencing first names and other minute details!)

It's rather predictable, but certainly not without merit. My favorite aspect - it portrays the Lizzie/Darcy marriage, after 25 years, as one that is still full of love, admiration, and passion, just as I have always pictured it would turn out! On a scale of 1 - 10, 8 (published rather cheaply, but does have some nice old illustrations).

        Review by Carey Powell, February 17, 1999
Just finished "Consequence", a story about Charlotte Lucas Collins.  It was very cute.  I like the idea of focusing on a character other than Elizabeth or Mr. Darcy.  I feel so strongly about the two of them that I have a hard time comprehending some one else's ideas about them.

The book is not meant to be taken too seriously and is written purely for pleasure as the author tells us upfront.

Very pleasant reading. 

       Comment by Julie P., November 4, 1999
Far too short, but a fun read all the same.  I thought it was well written, and Newark and I are on the same page as to how Charlotte turns out.  Not bitter about her fate, just resigned to it.   I had fun figuring out who was who at the ball, and had to laugh at how the children all turned out exactly like their parents.

      Written by Rike (2/24/2000 8:06 a.m.)
According to these standards, the best Pride and Prejudice sequel IMHO is Consequence by Elizabeth Newark. It's rather short and concentrates on Charlotte Collins and the next generation at
Pemberley and Hunsford. I think the language is quite close to Austen's. In fact Newark openly encourages her readers to a game of "spot the quote", but the quotes are included so aptly that I don't mind at all. An excellent read!

      Written by Gwen S. (5/24/2000 6:38 p.m.)
I didn't like it that well because there were too many characters introduced and the scenery was described more than the characters and their actions were. I thought it was kind of cool, though, that she tried to incorporate children of the people from the other books though, personally, I would just have mentioned them. But otherwise, I thought it was amusing.

        Review by Rike, 26 May 2000
The novel is set some twenty-five years after Darcy's and Elizabeth's marriage, and is concerned with the romances of the Darcy's and Collins's children. At the same time, we hear a lot about Charlotte and the way she coped in her marriage. The novel is fairly short, but I think that the main characters are well-developed (there are indeed a great number of minor characters; children of many characters in all Austen novels). Charlotte's actions and thoughts are entirely convincing and quite touching, and perfectly in keeping with Austen's Charlotte. So are Elizabeth and Darcy.  As for the younger generation, Eliza Collins and Juliet Darcy are an amusing contrast.

        Written by Lynne Robson (June 6, 2003 )
Last year I managed to buy a copy of this book which is out of print at present. It is a quick read not a bad story at all .

       Written by Amy P (October 9, 2003 )
Consequence: Or Whatever Became of Charlotte Lucas by Elizabeth Newark is an amusing sequel and includes the children of virtually all of the main characters from the six novels as well as some of the characters themselves. The main focus, as the title suggests, is on Charlotte Collins and her children. It's set at Pemberley almost 25 years after the Darcys' marriage. It may be hard to find, but IMO it's worth the trouble.

        Written by Rike (May 3, 2007 )
I really enjoyed Consequence by Elizabeth Newark. ...may be hard to get, but ... well-written and the characters fit to how Jane Austen described them.