The Women of Pemberley
by Rebecca Ann Collins

Paperback - 248 pages    1998
The Pink Panther

        Review by Jennifer Scott, August 30, 1999
I have now had a chance to read the two books by R A Collins.

They are a very good read.  I especially like the way in which she has woven the lives of Jane Austen's characters and their descendants into the social and political events of 19th Century England.  She has developed the stories in a most credible and enjoyable fashion.

The second book The Women Of Pemberley follows on from Pemberley Chronicles and they should be read in that order to keep up with who is who.  There is to be a third, Netherfield Revisited, published by the end of the year.

         Comment by Jenny2, November 2, 1999
I liked the books, although they are not my favourites.I think they are a little bit too massive. Too many characters and all kind of plots are involved. The relationship between Elizabeth and Mr Darcy is in the background somehow.

          Comment by Claudia Taylor, November 9, 1999
If I may be permitted to do a short burst of applause for a very much better quality piece of work- try Rebecca Ann Collins The Pemberley Chronicles and The Women of Pemberley, if you want a truly loving continuation of the stories of Darcy and Lizzie, Jane and Bingley and many others. All your favourite characters behaving as you and I expect them to do, in the context of a changing world- Britain in post napoleonic Europe, with the industrial revolution and the expansion of the empire as the backgound to their lives.  Its far more exhilarating stuff. I loved it .

           Review by Linda Waldemar, March 24, 2001
This is the second of the series of P&P sequels by Rebecca Ann Collins. The Women of Pemberley are: Emma Bingley Wilson, Emily Gardiner Courtney, Cassandra Darcy Gardiner, Isabella Fitzwilliam Forrester and Josephine Tate Darcy.

The book is organized as a prologue, five chapters and an epilogue.   The action starts in 1847 and concludes in 1859 with each chapter told from the perspective of one of the women listed above.

Emma, the eldest daughter of Jane and Charles Bingley, is 30, married to David Wilson and the mother of Stephanie and Victoria.  At the opening, we learn that she cannot attend the 17th birthday party of Julian Darcy because her husband, David, a Member of Parliament, cannot get away. Jane confides in Elizabeth that she is very concerned about the happiness of her daughter. All are pleasantly surprised and relieved when Emma and her daughters are brought to Pemberley by her brother-in-law, James Wilson. We learn from Jonathon Bingley, her brother, that David is in trouble. A scandal soon breaks. Emma and her daughters are removed to the Wilson family estate in Kent with David's mother by James Wilson for their protection.

Emily is the second daughter of Elizabeth's aunt and uncle Gardiner. As the story opens, she is 39 and married to the clergyman of Kympton, James Courtney. The mother of three children, she is always willing to help farmers, tenants, immigrants, anyone who is less fortunate. Emily bravely stands up to a group of men who are threatening to burn the dwellings of a group of Irish women and children.

Cassandra is happily married to the eldest Gardiner son, Richard. They have four children and Richard is a dedicated doctor. Like her cousins, Cassandra is constantly helping the less fortunate. Her parents, Elizabeth and Fitzwilliam Darcy remain at nearby Pemberley and are still as active as ever.

Isabella is the daughter of Caroline Gardiner, eldest of the Gardiner children, and Colonel Fitzwilliam. Her chapter opens with memories of the death of her older brother, Edward, and William Darcy in a riding accident in 1834. Isabella grew up lonely and melancholy with a fear of love. This changes when she meets Henry Forrester, a dedicated doctor who works with her uncle, Richard. Isabella learns that she has a talent for nursing. Like the rest of the family, she is dedicated to helping the less fortunate.

Josie's paarents are Rebecca Ann Collins and Anthony Tate; the grandaughter of Charlotte Lucas Collins. She is an aspiring  writer and is described as a strong-minded and independent young lady. Her difference from most other young ladies makes her attractive to Julian Darcy, the heir to the great Pemberley estate. Although she reciprocates his love, she will not agree to marry him at first because she wants to concentrate on getting her writings published. During this chapter we encounter Henry and Philip Wickham, sons of George and Lydia. Being much like their parents, they ingratiate themselves into the Darcy house in London and proceed to wreak havoc with the servants. The elder Mr. Darcy must come to London to eject them from the property.

In the epilogue we learn that Josie and Julian marry, celebrate the birth of their son, Anthony Fitzwilliam Darcy, and move to Pemberley.

This book, like The Pemberley Chronicles, has many characters, births and deaths and includes historical happenings in the story. I started the story with pen in hand and still had trouble keeping up with the characters. Elizabeth and Fitzwilliam Darcy and Jane and Charles Bingley are regularly present. Again, they are unfailingly good and kind. I find all her characters to be one dimensional. The only bad ones are the Wickhams and they have no redeeming characteristics.

Not an easy read, but pleasant.

        Written by Lynne Robson (4/14/2003 3:59 p.m.)
I got the Pemberley Chronicles Series after it was recommended by a friend. I felt after reading the first two books that I had totally wasted my money. They are more like reading a History book with P & P characters added to them, I must say I was really very disappointed with them as they do not tell you much about Darcy, Elizabeth, Bingley and Jane's family life but talks too much about life in England at the time.