This is the story of Charlotte Lucas, and what happened after she married Mr. Collins. Since I’ve always sympathized with Charlotte, the blurb intrigued me from the very first. We know she married him because she saw this as her only way out of spinsterhood. We know Mr Collins married because, well, he needed a wife. But what happened afterward? What if … their relationship could’ve grown into one of true affection?
Marriage suits Charlotte. She throws herself into her role as minister’s wife. After befriending the prostitute Vanessa, she decides to take up her cause and reform the town’s prostitutes. By doing so, she stirs up the townspeople’s prejudices and hypocrisy and inadvertently gets herself and her husband into a great deal of trouble – not only with Lady Catherine. A fire, a theft, the threat of the Bishop cracking down on them are all elements that contribute to some suspenseful reading.
I loved what the author did with the character of Mr. Collins! She takes the caricature of a man and breathes life into him. He is not ridiculous, but awkward. Behind his ostentatious façade, he is truly kind, vulnerable, and deeply sincere. We also see his weaknesses and fears, but his character grows as the story progresses. The scene where he finally jumps over his own shadow and stands up to Lady Catherine is brilliant! I was literally cheering.
Friendship, loyalty, love, and integrity in one’s religious faith are all central topics in this gem of a novel.
Recommended to all who enjoy reading sweet/clean Pride and Prejudice variations rooted in Christian faith.