I’ve been on a bit of a Pride & Prejudice kick over this past year or so. I finally read all of Jane Austen’s books last year and when given the opportunity to read “sequels” for P&P, I can’t seem to turn them down.
My Cousin Caroline is the story of Caroline Gardiner and Colonel Fitzwilliam. When I first started reading the book, I admit to being a bit uncomfortable. Why? It’s all due to the significant age difference between Caroline and the Colonel.
However, once I got into the story, I was able to overlook this, mostly due to the fact that I know this wasn’t unheard of back in that time period. Much older men married MUCH younger women and it worked out fine. And what I liked is that the Colonel fought his attraction until…well, until it got too hard not to finally admit his feelings. Still, the age difference was still hanging over it all.
The thing I appreciated the most about this book was that it was number 6 in an ongoing series and yet you didn’t feel like you were floundering. I hate reading series and getting lost because I can’t figure out what happened in the previous books. Sourcebooks was nice enough to send along a “cheat” sheet of the previous books to help me keep track of who was who.
On to my thoughts…I actually really enjoyed this story. I enjoyed Caroline’s strength and maturity, even though she was so very young when the book started. The Colonel surprised me. He was such a secondary character in P&P (even though he was the catalyst at a certain point) and it was nice to see him fleshed out.
I really liked how the author really made you feel like you were reading the recorded history of these people. She made them seem real. To say that the book was perfect would be a fallacy, unfortunately. It was more a history lesson than a romance. I never could understand exactly how Caroline and the Colonel fell in love. Instead of showing the natural progression of their relationship AND them falling in love, it basically was vignettes of their lives.
There was no consistency. The years jumped. It was difficult to keep track of time, especially later in the book when we get to them being old and looking back at their life together.
Still, the book was greatly enjoyable. I've got book 7. Now I wish I could get books 1-5. lol
My Overall Rating: B-
You can buy the book here.