In the final installment of The Pemberley Chronicles, Rebecca Ann Collins transports readers for the final time to the halls of Pemberley and into the lives of Pride and Prejudice's most beloved characters. Darcy and Elizabeth, after fifty happy years of marriage, find their love for each other as strong as ever, but all is not well at Pemberley and Netherfield. When a crisis requires Elizabeth, Darcy, Jane, and Bingley to leave for Italy, they'll see just how well the next generation steps up to carry on and prove that the bonds of love and family are strong enough to weather any challenge.
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As mentioned in my previous Collins review, A Woman of Influence, I’m a bit of a latecomer to The Pemberley Chronicles. I began the series with the final two volumes, so my perspective is a bit skewed. However, I feel that my view of Ms. Collins’ work can provide a specialized opinion for others who find themselves beginning as late as I have.
The Legacy of Pemberley picks up after the events in the previous novel, but the focus is not on that book’s main character, Becky Collins. In fact, the focus doesn’t remain on one character throughout. The volume is sectioned into three parts, with each subdivision having its own theme:
- Part One: Emily’s Children
- Part Two: Solitary Lives
- Part Three: The Inheritance
While these plotlines are somewhat separated, they are interconnected with the many friends and family that make up Rebecca Collins’ post-Pride & Prejudice world. As the tenth volume in this series, Legacy exudes a feeling of history, with many lives growing, changing and experiencing much of what their world has to offer over many decades.
There are of course sweet romances between young lovers, but long-established relationships are celebrated as well. Some ties have ended due to those who have passed away, but they are never forgotten and beloved far beyond the grave. Some spouses never get over their love and remain unmarried for the rest of their lives. Yet some are brave enough to offer their hearts, after many years of healing have passed. They face a difficult decision as they cherish their past yet want to move on into the future. For some it leads to a grand new life and for some, there is rejection.
Drama makes an appearance a few times in Legacy. The lands near Pemberley become threatened by developers, powerful men who take away land and all that is tied to it, just for their comfort and financial gain. Some of the nearby residents have seemingly no way to combat this threat, and even I had no idea how they could conquer these aggressive bullies. The moments in that story line were very interesting. As in our modern world, real estate development can be a nasty business.
In another storyline, Georgiana’s daughter Virginia is a bit of a spoiled princess who brings drama wherever she goes. Like many in Legacy, she is mourning the loss of a loved one, but she takes the opportunity to not only mourn but poison the air around her. She was a very unlikable character, and I just loved that. Ms. Collins truly was able to get my ire up while reading about Virginia. She reminded me a bit of Lydia, Elizabeth Bennet Darcy’s sister.
Elizabeth and her dear Darcy are within the pages of The Legacy of Pemberley, but as they are now advanced in age, 50 years into their marriage, they take a back seat to the next generation of Darcys, Gardiners and others within the shadow of Pemberley and its surrounding influence. I wish I had seen more of these characters, but it was understandable that it was time to introduce new characters for the next generation.
As a latecomer to The Pemberley Chronicles, I can honestly say that I think I would have enjoyed the novel more if I’d read the entire series. The interconnections between friends and family are so deep, the Appendix with its helpful character descriptions wasn’t enough for me to appreciate everyone and keep their histories straight.
However, the stories themselves are interesting, regardless of how each character is related to another. As I disregarded each character’s connection to Pride and Prejudice and just read each episode as its own unique story, I relaxed and was able to truly enjoy each moment. The narratives are lovely, providing a fitting end to this amazing series.
If you haven’t started The Pemberley Chronicles yet, I do recommend beginning with Book 1, also entitled The Pemberley Chronicles. There are so many references to past events in Legacy, I frequently wished that I could have had the opportunity to enjoy The Chronicles from the outset.
Having said that, Legacy on its own was very enjoyable. Much like its predecessor A Woman of Influence, this final installment reads like a smooth walk by a stream. It’s soft, quiet, yet always moving and not dull by any means. It sparkles and soothes at the same time. There may be an occasional dramatic bump or two, and this only adds to the experience. If the The Legacy of Pemberley is any example, it reveals that author Rebecca Ann Collins has brought her readers on quite a journey, one that has individually enjoyable stops along the way. I’m glad I came along on this sojourn, and I look forward to coming back around to its start as well.
This title was provided to me by Sourcebooks Landmark.
No obligation other than an honest review was required.