Jane Austen's
Charlotte
by Julia Barrett
amazon.com
Hardcover - 240 pages 0 edition (April 15, 2000) 
M. Evans and Company, Inc.; ISBN: 087131908X 
amazon.co.uk
Hardcover - 240 pages (15 April, 2000) 
M. Evans and Company Inc; ISBN: 087131908X
amazon.ca
Hardcover - 240 pages 0 edition (June 20, 2003) 
M. Evans and Company, Inc.; ISBN: 087131908X 

        Review by HazelRC, April 21, 2000
I normally don't read People magazine, but I happened to come across the  review when I was at the doctor's office, and I must say that you might want to trust that review. I bought Charlotte about three weeks ago, and I was really excited about reading it. The 12 chapters that Austen wrote are always so much fun to read and always leave me wanting to know more about the lives of the characters, especially Sydney, about whom we hear so much about from his brother. He kind of reminds me Henry Tilney since he seems quite fond of teasing his hypochondriac brother and sisters.

Well, after reading about two chapters into the continuation, I couldn't read on. Believe me, I tried to force myself to keep reading, but I was unsuccessful. I don't know what it is. The tone or something just didn't ring true. So, I've abandoned it. I am now into the last third section of Honan's bio of JA. This is my third bio of Austen, but I find that more compelling than Charlotte.

I hope this helps you decide. I rarely abandon a book, but I couldn't help it !


        Review by JennyS, April 24, 2000
The plot is probably the most credible of the completions to Sanditon and I like the way the author has developed the Parker brothers.  I did, however, find the language rather tortuous and felt that the characters tended to make speeches rather than talk to each other.
        Review  by Carol Knierim, 19 June 2000
I just finished reading it and I think Julia Barrett massacred this story.  The language she uses is all convoluted and flowery.  She brings in new characters and changes most of the old ones.

Jane Austen's plot seems to be about trying to get a seaside resort going.  The heroine is a practical girl who seems destined for the witty brother of one of the resort's investors.  Barrett changes it to the story of a naive, spoiled country girl who is fascinated with a sophisticated woman novelist.  The novelist whisks her off to London where she remains until she is ordered home by her father so she can marry Austen's hero.


        Review by Linda Waldemar, 13 December 2000
I wonder why the title of this book is Charlotte.  We know as much about her at the end of the book as we do at the end of JA's fragment.  She is absent from many chapters and when present, she says little.  The author describes an incident early on where Charlotte is overheard making a witty comment and the object is offended. From then on, she holds her tongue.  That might be okay, but she speaks rarely and the readers are not privy to her thoughts.

Another character that we expected to be major is Sidney Parker.  Well, we see and hear even less of him!  In the last few pages, as we have always expected, Charlotte and Sidney get together.  But, there is absolutely no reason.  They have had very little interaction and no attraction was described.  Well, she did have Sidney take notice when he first met Charlotte, but nothing more.

The main character of this book is Sir Edward Denham,  although, he is not much of a hero.  JA says " Sir Edward's great object in life was to be seductive. With such personal advantages as he knew himself to possess, and such talents as he did also give himself credit for, he regarded it as his duty. He felt that he was formed to be a dangerous man, quite in the line of the Lovelaces. The very name of  Sir Edward, he thought, carried some degree of fascination with it."  The author spends most of this book having him fulfill this "duty".  She later describes him as "that inept example of aesthetic, unworldly sensibility".

Austen's fragment seems to be left intact.  Where JA left off and Barrett began is immediately discernible.  From one sentence to the next, the tone changes; the humor evaporates.  Although there seems to be a good deal of effort to maintain the language and the humor, it falls far short of the mark.  Also, the plot is almost as choppy as this review.  For example, early on, we do briefly encounter Henry Heywood who is Charlotte's favourite brother as they are very near in age.  Later on, Charlotte receives a letter from her father indicating that she need no longer worry about Henry.  This is the first that we learn that she has been worried.

Actually, this is not really a bad book.  I guess that I am excessively disappointed because I expected to become better acquainted with the Parkers and Charlotte Heywood and I did not.  If one's expectations are not high, it might be enjoyable.  For myself, I was glad when it ended.


        Written by Joyce Buckley (12/15/2000 8:09 p.m.)
Well, I try hard not to think about it now, it was so truly awful. I had indeed to actively make myself finish the dreadful object. In an amazing achievement, the author actually succeeded in killing off any spark of life in either the story or the characters as begun so promisingly by Jane Austen. She quite bears off the palm for overuse of passive voice in a novel. Many a time the  poor limp sentences nearly lost all sense by the time the full stop finally arrived.  By the end I heartily wished the sea had risen up and swallowed the sad little hamlet of Sanditon  whole, thus putting the poor reader and the mangled characters out of their misery.   I can only be thankful that I had not been put to the trouble of purchasing this dust collector, by the courtesy of my local library bearing the brunt of purchase.
        Written by Siobhan  (4/3/2001 7:21 p.m.)
Has anybody here tried to read Charlotte, a completion of Sanditon by Julia Barrett? What do you all think?

My mother got it from the library, read it and lent it to me with only the comment that she liked the other one better (that's the one by "JA and Another Lady").

I read along happily until the end of Jane's fine writing. The very next sentence physically jolted me up out of my chair! Charlotte opens her mouth to insult Lady Denham in her own house - granted she didn't know she was there, but really! I forged on however for far too many more chapters.

The "story" has gone nowhere - it does in fact seem to jump about in time and place, even filling in  the intimate details of Charlotte's father of all people - he isn't even in Sanditon. I found the language  far too unnecessarily complicated. In many cases I had no idea what the author was trying to say, but cared too little to try to figure it out. I just kept hoping it would get better, or I would get used the style.

I think the most important flaw is that there is no consistent point of view. The story is told in brief
skits from the view of Charlotte, Sir Edward, Miss Denham, Lady Denham, Clara, the narrator and on
and on and on. I couldn't even tell who the main character is except that I assume by the title it's
supposed to be Charlotte.

I finally called my mother this afternoon to ask if it got any better. She had had exactly the same her if anything ever happened and she said no - she couldn't remember anything happening. She read it just two days ago! Immediately afterwards she read the other completion and quite enjoyed it.

So what I would like to know is: is this book worth finishing? I'm about half way through. I have only ever not finished a book once before, a very long time ago. I don't like to do it, but I think my time might be better spent in tackling something new from the stack on my bookshelf or in re-reading Persuasion.

What says the Republic?


        Written by April Laymon  (10/4/2001 10:30 p.m.)
Seeing the featured Amazon.com book on this page, made me wonder if anyone else has read it?? Charlotte, by Julia Barrett. I read it recently, and was pleasantly surprised, but would love some other opinions.
        Written by Siobhan  (10/5/2001 12:47 p.m.)
Seeing the featured Amazon.com book on this page, made me wonder if anyone else has read it?? Charlotte, by Julia Barrett. I read it recently, and was pleasantly surprised, but would love some other opinions.

I'm glad you enjoyed it. But I could not get much past where Jane left off. Believe me, I tried. I think that's only the second book in my life that I haven't finished and I've read some bad books. I asked my mother if it got any better and she said no, so I quit.

For me, it was a combination of the language or sentence construction - it was painfully slow to read - and the characters. The author chose to introduce new characters when there was a great selection already in place left by Jane.


        Written by Louise C  (10/7/2001 6:14 a.m.)
For similar reasons to Siobhan, I gave up a couple of chapters after JA's portion ended. The 2nd author needed paragraphs to explain what JA would have described in a few lines. And there was none of JA's sly wit, in fact I found it totally humourless.
 

I will say in its favour that I didn't dislike it as much as Emma Tennant's sequels.


        Written by Hadas (June 4, 2003 )
The two versions of Sanditon ; I read both, and I can safely say that I thought the "Other Lady" continuation superior. The Julia Barret continuation was so dull that I can't even recall what it was exactly about by now. :) The language of "Another Lady" is also superior... not a perfect work perhaps, but it's my favorite Austen sequel as to date.