The very next morning, the entire party departed for Pemberley, and if some of the Bennet sisters looked longingly out the window at the only home they had ever known retreating into the distance, he could not blame them. Their world had overturned in the space of no more than a few days.
(from Shadows Over Longbourn)
Quick summary: Shadows Over Longbourn is one of the most unique variations of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice that I’ve had the pleasure of reading thus far. Jann Rowland imagines what might have happened had the Bennet sisters been orphaned and become wards of their second cousin, Fitzwilliam Darcy. They are whisked away to Pemberley after Mr. Bennet’s death, rescued from the vicious Thaddeus Collins and his son, who have inherited Longbourn, and given all the advantages of the Darcys’ connections in terms of education and finding husbands. As Elizabeth’s warm feelings toward William become something much more, she believes he will never feel the same way and prepares for a life away from Pemberley as a governess. When the Bennets return to Hertfordshire several years after their father’s death, they encounter a vengeful Collins, who will not take no for an answer when it comes to finding a wife for his son among the Bennet family.
Why I wanted to read it: Of course, I will read anything to do with Jane Austen, but when it comes to variations, the more unique, the better. And Shadows Over Longbourn definitely fit the bill!
What I liked: I was drawn into the novel from the very beginning, and I was hooked until the very end. I loved how Rowland changed so many things because I had no idea how events would play out. Putting the characters together this way and earlier than in the original novel changed the characters and how they evolved. I loved seeing Elizabeth take charge at Pemberley, how she and Darcy developed a partnership of sorts early on, how the Ramsgate incident unfolded, and how Elizabeth and Darcy’s feelings changed over the years. I especially loved the addition of Thaddeus and William Collins, as they gave the story a bit of darkness and excitement.
What I disliked: Absolutely nothing! I was blown away by the creativity of the re-imagined plot, and had real life not gotten in the way, I likely would have devoured this novel in one sitting.
Final thoughts: Shadows Over Longbourn is a breath of fresh air among Pride and Prejudice variations. I loved being surprised by the differences from the original, yet Rowland’s appreciation for Austen and her characters shines through. Shadows Over Longbourn is definitely a contender for my Best of 2016 list, and it stands about among the best Pride and Prejudice variations I’ve read so far.
About the author: Jann Rowland is a Canadian writer. He enjoys reading and sports, and he also dabbles a little in music, taking pleasure in singing and playing the piano.
Though Jann did not start writing until his mid-twenties, writing has grown from a hobby to an all-consuming passion. His interest in Jane Austen stems from his university days when he took a class in which Pride and Prejudice was required reading. However, his first love is fantasy fiction, which he hopes to pursue writing in the future.
He now lives in Alberta with his wife of more than twenty years and his three children.
Giveaway: Jann is graciously offering one ebook version of Shadows Over Longbourn to my readers. To enter, please leave a comment with your email address, and let me know why you really want to read the book. The giveaway will close on Sunday, June 5. The winner will be chosen randomly and announced in the comments section of this post.
Follow the blog tour:
April 27/ Interview Post & Ebook Giveaway at Babblings of a Bookworm
May 1/Journey to Longbourn Estate & Ebook Giveaway at Just Jane 1813
May 5/ Book Review & Ebook Giveaway at Half Agony, Half Hope
May 26/Book Review & Ebook Giveaway at From Pemberley to Milton
June 2/Bringing Thaddeus Collins to Life & Ebook Giveaway at More Agreeably Engaged
Disclosure: I received Shadows Over Longbourn from the author for review.
© 2016 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.