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Charlotte, by Helen Moffett (audiobook read by Isabella Inchbold)

Charlotte Lucas is Elizabeth Bennett’s best friend and has married the easily ridiculed Mr Collins. Now she is happily ensconced at Hunsford, mother to three children and enjoying her friendship with Miss de Bourgh. But tragedy strikes…
Charlotte is a sequel to the much beloved Pride and Prejudice. It is mostly written in the Charlotte’s present day (around 1820) with some reflections about the past, including events from the original classic and events in the intervening years.
Fans of Austen will know the character of Charlotte Lucas well. The eldest daughter with no hope of abandoning spinsterhood, she seizes the opportunity to wed after Mr Collins’ proposal is rejected by Lizzie. Calculating? Perhaps but it is more reasonable to see her as a woman grabbing a chance to marry when everyone else has written her off as an old maid.
Genuine love develops between Charlotte and Mr Collins. My heart broke at the sadness they endure but their love remains strong. However, their relationship is threatened when Charlotte’s heart and body are captivated during her grief. Rather surprisingly, there are sex scenes included.
Anne de Bourgh’s character has plenty of spark in this book which I loved. Both Charlotte and Anne have become experts at spouting what Lady Catherine and Mr Collins want to hear but can persuade them through subtlety. This served to soften the big emotions of grief and infidelity that are dealt with in other plotlines.
Charlotte is an enjoyable book and I loved the interpretation of the classic characters and the imagining of how their lives developed.

Charlotte book cover

Book blurb
Everybody thinks that Charlotte Lucas has no prospects. She is twenty-seven years old, unmarried, plain, and seemingly without ambition. When she stuns the neighbourhood by accepting the proposal of buffoonish clergyman Mr Collins, her best friend Lizzy Bennet is angry at her for undervaluing herself. Yet the decision is the only way Charlotte knows to provide for her future, and marriage will propel her into a new world, of duty, marriage, children, grief and ultimately illicit love, and a kind of freedom.
Jane Austen cared deeply about the constraints of women in Regency England. This powerful reimagining takes up where Austen left off, showing us a woman determined to carve a place for herself in the world. Charlotte offers a fresh, feminist addition to the post-Austen canon, beautifully imagined, and brimming with passion and intelligence.


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