These spring days in March always have me thinking about Elizabeth Bennet’s visit to Kent to see Charlotte Lucas in Pride & Prejudice. I love Jane Austen’s descriptions of long walks in the countryside and sitting in the sunlit parlour, while the characters enjoy a brief respite from routine… And then of course there is the building suspense as we anticipate Mr Darcy’s proposal to Eliza… But what about Charlotte? What was her experience? Well, you need wait no longer for May 2020 sees the publication of Helen Moffett’s fresh new novel – Charlotte.
Charlotte is a bold new interpretation of Jane Austen’s beloved classic, Pride & Prejudice. Moffett’s protagonist and unlikely heroine takes on the form of Charlotte Lucas – Elizabeth Bennetts plain neighbour and confidante.
The story begins several years after where Pride & Prejudice leaves off. Charlotte is content; she has three beautiful children, a home of her own and a kind and caring (if a little foolish) husband in Mr Collins. But a great tragedy befalls the happy family, and the emotions and friendships in the summer that follow, leave Charlotte changed forever…
Alongside the current story the plot skips back, at intervals, to Charlottes account of the original story, and the author plays with events to explore Charlottes thoughts and feelings during key scenes – presenting a fresh new perspective on well-known characters. True to Jane Austen’s style, Moffett focuses her writing on character growth, perceptions and understanding, creating an intricate read. Throughout the story Charlotte comes to term with unfathomable grief, unlikely friendships and finally experiences love.
Suitable for obsessive Austen fans (I’m not saying anything…!) through to readers who have never read a page of Austen – there is something there for everyone. I found certain elements of the story very modern but thoroughly enjoyed the character interpretations – new and old – and the insight into the experience of what Charlottes famous decision was really like and the life it entailed. Charlotte’s inspirational strength of character gives this story a passionate feminist edge.
I’d just like finish by saying a huge thank you to Andrea at Bonnier Books for sending me my proof copy 🙂
Can’t wait for you to all be able to read it and share your thoughts with me!
Stay safe and keep reading,
Meg Readz xx