I enjoyed The Darcys of Pemberley enough to get the next book that Shannon Winslow wrote about the characters of Pride and Prejudice. This second book, titled Return to Longbourn, follows the lives of Kitty and Mary after the death of their father Mr. Bennet.
I freely admit that I liked this novel even better than Winslow’s The Darcys of Pemberley because the focus is more on fringe characters and made up characters so the author had a little more room to breathe with her imagination. That is my very favorite kind of Austen fan fiction because it doesn’t mess with my notions of Austen’s creations.
Mary has been a governess for three years or so before her father dies. She feels useful in this occupation as it gives her a means to escape the pressures that come from living with Mrs. Bennet. Kitty has been bouncing from Elizabeth’s and Jane’s homes without ever finding a husband, much to her mother’s distress.
When Mr. Bennet dies Mary goes home to arrange things since Mrs. Bennet is insensible and Kitty doesn’t know how to be useful. Due to the entail the house passes to a Mr. Tristan Collins, younger brother of the now dead Mr. Collins. Until the new owner shows up the Bennet ladies remain at Longbourn.
Mary gladly goes back to Netherfield to resume her post as governess to the three Farnsworth children. She faces a hostile mistress of the house, sister to the owner, a lecherous footman, and a confusing Mr. Farnsworth. Not having dealt with many men in her life Mary is at a lost to know how to deal with her boss as he begins to blur the lines between master and governess and treating her as an equal.
Mrs. Bennet is determined to have Kitty marry Mr. Collins if he should be single. Kitty demurs and runs off to Pemberley for a visit when the dreaded man is slated to arrive. She tells Mary that she ought to marry Mr. Collins and preserve Longbourn for the family. Mary isn’t so sure about this idea until she meets Mr. Collins and discovers him to be a pleasant, handsome, and sensible young man.
Just as Mary feels like she is falling in love with him Mr. Collins announces his intentions to visit Pemberley so he can visit his sister (she lives near there) and his cousins. Mary is appalled when she receives a letter from Kitty stating that she is in love with Mr. Collins and plans to marry him. Mary decides to go and fight for her man. Can she secure his affections before Kitty?
Eventually Mary has to return to Netherfield and her job. A terrible accident occurs and she flees to Pemberley and the Darcys. Will she know her heart in time to prevent her from a marriage of convenience? And just who does she love?
It’s a fun story with a few unexpected plot twists. I didn’t see some of the things that happened which made the book that much more fun. The Kindle version is only $3.99. There aren’t bad words or explicit scenes.