Netherfield Revisited has Jonathan Bingley as the main character and I really enjoyed it.
If I were to review the whole series, I would say that Ms Collins has taken Jane Austen's characters and has been careful not to change their personalities. She has, however, included so much more that is her own, the historical background of the nineteenth century and the children and grandchildren of the Austen characters, and her books overshaddow many of the other sequels.
Of Netherfield Revisited, I can only say that if you have read
and enjoyed Pemberley Chronicles and The Women of Pemberley
then it is a must and although some of the events are predictable
there are some interesting surprises. I found it a book which I could
not put down.
This cannot account, however, for the response she has had since then to two other books, which follow on from The Chronicles and particularly Netherfield Park Revisited, which is the least dependent upon the characters from Pride and Prejudice and yet remarkably linked to it, by context.
The story of Jonathan Bingley- son of Charles and Jane Bingley, who returns to Netherfield and tries to make a new life after a personal tragedy is told with sympathy and restraint, without resort to sensational Gothic-style melodrama or contrived distortions of character.
In fact, the characters have a readability that seduces es the reader into identifying with them and sharing their problems and successes, as so many did and still do with Jane Austen's own people.
In The Ladies of Longbourn, the same interesting mix of character and situation makes for a very readable continuation to Netherfield Park. Anne-Marie Bingley, widowed daughter of Jonathan Bingley, must find a way to overcome the malaise of a desolate marriage. How she does it is told with understanding and honesty in this, the fourth book in the series of Pemberley novels by Ms Collins.
The lively dialogue, believable characterisation and vivid style- (which makes no attempt to copy Jane Austen, as so many sequel writers do with marked lack of success) guarantees the success of both these very readable and enjoyable stories.
Perhaps her greatest achievement is to enlist the help of "dear Jane" (she claims she only borrows her characters and will not distort or destroy their integrity) to add weight to her own work, without appearing to imitate, or even worse, plagiarize the original. Even better, she tells a story very well.
I have no doubt of the enjoyment that her readers will derive from these
two companion volumes.
Dear Ms Collins,
Thank you once again for a remarkable and enjoyable experience, with both Netherfield Park Revisited (which I have revisited so many times since my first reading) and now, the lovely Ladies of Longbourn.
What stands out, for me, in these, as in all your novels, is the integrity of the characters and content. I am particularly attracted to the women like Anna Faulkner and Anne-Marie Bingley, who are your own creations and yet could well be Jane Austen's, for they are so true to the period and its ethos that I have to pinch myself to believe that they have been created at the end of the twentieth and not the eighteenth century.
Likewise, the backgrounds, historical context and social conventions are all so right for the period, a reader is transported quite effortlessly back in time, to a period in English history when women could not vote, there was no chance of divorce and children worked twelve hours a day in appalling conditions.
But best of all are the fascinating, but totally believable, stories
you tell- of the men and women who have traveled out of Pride and Prejudice
into your books. I can honestly say that I have not enjoyed another
sequel ever as much as I have loved reading Netherfield Park and
The Ladies of Longbourn.
Dear Ms Collins,
I am 17 years old and a student. i wrote to you earlier about my love of your book, The Pemberley Chronicles, which I obtained from the Jane Austen Society library.
I have since got my own copy and the other two books- Women of Pemberley and Netherfield Park Revisited. I am honestly taken aback at the honesty and delightful quality of the writing and wish to tell you how very much I enjoyed them.
Being an avid Jane Austen fan, I tend to read everything about her and her books, but it is very rarely that I find continuations that are as honest and true to the original as yours. Too often, the authors of sequels show no knowledge of the period, but your stories are exceptional in their closeness to the original and the research into the historical background, essential to the plot.
In Netherfield, my favourite character is the lovely Anna Faulkner and the way in which you have developed the plot of the relationship between her and Jonathan Bingley is so well done, I shall read and re-read it many times.
Thank you very much for giving me so much enjoyment with your books.
Jonathan Bingley is the eldest offspring of Charles and Jane Bennet Bingley. When the story opens in 1859, he is a Member of Parliament and struggling with a failing marriage to Amelia-Jane (nee Collins). Amelia-Jane is the youngest of the three daughters of William and Charlotte Lucas Collins. The couple have been blessed with four children; Charles, who is studying medicine, Anne-Marie, a dedicated nurse, Teresa (Tess), who is 16 and Catherine (Cathy), who is 9.
Jane Austen's characters are present from time to time. They must be getting quite aged ;-) Elizabeth and Darcy are Jonathan's god-parents and he visits and consults with them occasionally. Jane and Charles Bingley show concern for their only son. The Gardiners are mentioned and their offspring are too. Charlotte Collins and Mary Bennet live at Longbourn. Maria Lucas Faulkner and her Doctor husband live at Haye Park. Their youngest daughter, an Anne Elliot type, is one of the main characters of this tale.
In order to save his family, Jonathan Bingley decides to buy an estate in the country. It turns out that Netherfield Park is once more available. Since Jonathan was born there, he has sentimental feelings about the place and decides to buy it.
This is a fairly simple and predictable tale, though not unpleasant. The author's writing style is a bit somber and serious. Even when the narrator describes teasing and fun between the characters, it does not show in the writing. The characters are one-dimensional. JA's characters are close enough to the originals to be acceptable.
If this sounds interesting to you, then you should acquire it and read
it. Just do not expect it to be anywhere near Austen in quality.