Recollections of Rosings
Nothing has prepared Catherine or her daughter Lillian to see a black and smoldering ruin where an elegant house once stood. “Catherine gasped. She could hardly breathe, and beside her Lillian was weeping…” Rosings Park, the de Bourgh estate, once a second home to Catherine, has been largely destroyed by fire. Memories of Rosings past, long buried, rise with the smoke.
While a protégé of Lady Catherine de Bourgh, Catherine fell in love with Frank Burnett, the Rosings librarian—but Frank left suddenly and Catherine married someone else. Now a widow with a grown daughter, Catherine is considered too old for romance. Then Frank returns to assist with conservation efforts at Rosings. Secrets emerge. Everything changes.
Recollections of Rosings is the eighth in a series of Jane Austen look-alikes, The Pemberley Chronicles, written under the pen name of Rebecca Ann Collins. The characters are connected to the cast of Pride and Prejudice—but this is not the Darcys’ story any more. Time has passed, a war was won. There is a woman on the throne of England now.
The social and legal issues of Victorian England touch Collins’s well-to-do characters, but lightly. Catherine and her sister have money of their own. They speak of women’s emancipation; but they are optimists, not suffragists. Catherine’s social conscience—she will help educate the poor—is typical of her class at mid-century.
Although one misses Austen’s trenchant wit, Collins writes well and wisely. Fans of the series will enjoy the unfolding story. Others may simply enjoy Recollections of Rosings as a mature romance. (Note to Rebecca Ann Collins: perhaps it’s time to break away from Pemberley altogether.) Recommended.