Jennifer Becton took on quite the task in making Caroline Bingley the heroine of her story. In Pride and Prejudice, Caroline is a mean, spiteful snob. She vies for Mr. Darcy’s attention and continually snubs Elizabeth Bennet and her family. Becton had her work cut out for her!
Based on my prior prejudice, I’ll admit it took me some time to get into this charming and clever novel. Becton begins her story where Austen ends. Caroline starts as heartless and unlikeable. Becton took her time to slowly convince her reader otherwise. I frequently stopped to marvel over Becton’s skillful writing.
Caroline Bingley begins shortly after Pride and Prejudice ends. Caroline has been banished from revisiting Pemberley until she apologizes to Elizabeth Darcy. She goes to live with her mother under the watchful eye of Mrs. Pickersgill, a companion her brother Charles appoints to her. Though Caroline treats Mrs. Pickersgill like a servant, she is curious as to why her mother and friends treat her as an equal. Caroline is obsessed with maintaining proper class structure; which Becton unravels throughout the book. Mrs. Pickersgill’s story is a tantalizing mystery.
Mr. Rushton is another annoying fly in the ointment of Caroline’s perfectly planned return to society. She distrusts him based on his checkered past, while her family and friends seem to admire him. Mr. Rushton is an excellent addition to the Pride and Prejudice cast.
The characters of Elizabeth and Darcy only appear briefly in this story, but Becton remains true to Austen’s inspiring original and makes them believable. My only regret was that I bought this book on my phone. I would much prefer to have this book in paper copy and recommend the indulgence to others.