Guest Post from Alexa Adams to learn more about her trilogy and the inspiration to write it. Also have a peek at my reviews of First Impressions and Second Glances for my thoughts about the previous two books of this series. (I was given review copies of these stories but this is my unbiased opinion.)
I had loved seeing Darcy and Lizzy's path to their happily ever after with a lot less misunderstandings and problems (First Impressions), and then seeing the road to true love for Kitty with her Sir James Stratton which was full of misunderstandings and problems (Second Glances) and I was excited to read this final tale about Charlotte Lucas' journey to happiness (in this series she never married Mr Collins) and I was not disappointed.
"Charlotte smiled from across the room at the man's obvious devotion to her friend. Such attachment was very charming, undoubtedly, and when it came to an end, as it was most certain to do, they would have abundant good fortune to keep the inevitable aggravations with each other to a minimum. Both a Christmas celebration and conclusion to Tales of Less Pride & Prejudice, Holidays at Pemberley begins where First Impressions ends, with the marriage Fitzwilliam Darcy to Elizabeth Bennet, and spans the course of Second Glances to conclude their story. As the Darcys enjoy their first years of marriage, Charlotte Lucas is often invited to join them. Watching as the Bennet sisters, one by one, marry to both outrageous advantage and with great affection, her only ambition remains independence and respectability, stubbornly blind to the virtues of a love match. Miss Lucas thinks she has found an acceptable husband in David Westover, rector of Kympton and determined bachelor, but he remains oblivious to the implications of befriending a Miss Lucas. It may mean some heartbreak, but if Mrs. Darcy's pragmatic friend will only surrender to Cupid, she may find wild fantasies do come true, even for ladies dangerously close to thirty."
From the first few words the humour and wit of the author is apparent. She really has a very Jane Austen-y style of writing and the subtle sarcasm and witty remarks are brilliantly clever.
As in the preceding two books, the jumping between the thoughts of all the different characters was brilliant and very insightful. It was carried out very skilfully and cleverly indeed and the narrative was perfect. The story flowed well and never dragged.
Charlotte has always been a practical character when it came to marriage - she is not a romantic, you know - and it is sad to hear her inner thoughts as her practical side and disbelief in love in very evident. However, staying with the very happily married Darcys begins to test her beliefs and she even begins to envy her friend as 'To be confronted by a real-life prince charming was intolerable'. But still her practical nature shows through, strengthened by the fact that she was now thirty, and so 'Charlotte was left to contend with the possibility that dreams really do come true, at least for others.' Her journey to discovery of love and what it is like to experience the emotion is very touching; seeing the views of one who never believed she would feel such a thing, even doubted it existed, alter so through the story.
David Westover is a very fun character. He has been looked after all his life as a result of an accident when he was a young boy which killed his mother, meaning his sister has always looked after him and so, of course, he could not possibly look after himself well enough let alone consider taking on the role of husband, or so his sister tell hims. Consequently, he has hung onto his bachelorhood for many years and doesn't plan to give it up.
But then Charlotte and Westover meet. Through a shared love of drawing the two grow close and for Charlotte her heart begins to be touched. However, Westover is rather oblivious to his own feelings - men know nothing about their hearts you understand. There are ups and downs, trials and tribulations, misunderstandings and miscommunications for these two but the relationship, eventually, reaches its happy conclusion! (No that was not a spoiler as we are told Charlotte Lucas becomes Charlotte Westover in the conclusion of book one, and besides, there has to be a happy ending doesn't there!) I will not give away anything about how the inevitable ending is reached!
Back to the Darcys! Darcy and Lizzy are extremely happy and their marriage prospers through this book, as we would expect it to! In this story we begin with their marriage, then see into their first year as a married couple and even get a glimpse of the Darcys facing parenthood!
Darcy is, of course, still the perfect gentleman and you will envy Lizzy when you read just how perfect a husband Mr Darcy makes - I certainly envied her!
It was enjoyable to see more of the relationship between Georgiana and Kitty, and then the success of the subsequent marriages of those two girls (which was the focus of Second Glances.)
In this trilogy lots of the characters we know and love are a bit different to how you might expect them to be - it is tales of less pride and prejudice after all - and so some characters needed to change a little! I have grown accustomed to this by now and so the nice Lady Catherine - to Lizzy anyway - no longer takes me by surprise nor the calmer Mrs Bennet and the matching-making Mr Bennet! All the secondary characters were great in this story and all had an interesting role. The Wickhams, George and Caroline (yes Caroline Bingley!) obviously still come along to cause problems for Darcy, but they also provide a lot of amusement, especially at the hands of Lady Catherine! But I will say no more!
The ending of the story, and consequently the trilogy, was perfect; all the characters being brought together from all three stories in a very neat and tidy way and all lose ends are tied up nicely!
I have greatly enjoyed this entire trilogy and it has been really nice seeing how the marriages of all the Bennet daughters come about, as well as a few others like Caroline Bingley, Georgiana Darcy and Charlotte Lucas. It was a very unique take on the original with some wonderful story lines, all which flowed smoothly. The humorous and witty style of writing this autho has was very enjoyable to read! For a hopeless romantic like myself, the lack of romantic scenes, kisses and such surprisingly didn't bother me - the writing was so good (and you know I love my romance so that is saying something!) I understand the romance was not the focus and yet, even for me, it didn't feel lacking - anyway, there were still a few sweet scenes every now and then!
This is great as a trilogy as it does contain running themes, but it would be equally as good if taken as three separate stories - you don't have to have read the first one to enjoy the second one, the second one to enjoy the third... You get the idea!
This was refreshingly different and put an interesting spin on the story we know and it was definitely Tales of Less and Pride and Prejudice (especially for Darcy and Lizzy!) If you want books which show the stories of not just one or two characters but many, where the romance is not the only thing going on in the book (as can be the case with some), and where the narrative flows and captures the sarcastic and witty tone of Jane Austen, then these are the books to read - any book from the trilogy! (Although I say read all three!)
I can't thank Alexa Adams enough for asking me to review her wonderful stories! I wish her every success and good luck for the future!
Your affectionate friend,