The Ladies of Longbourn (Pemberley Chronicles #4)

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Overview

"A masterpiece that reaches the heart."
- Beverley Wong, author of Pride & Prejudice Prudence

The bestselling Pemberley Chronicles series continues the saga of the Darcys and Bingleys from Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice and introduces imaginative new characters.

Anne-Marie Bradshaw is the granddaughter of Charles and Jane Bingley. Her father now owns Longbourn, the Bennet's estate in Hertfordshire. A ...

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The Ladies of Longbourn (Pemberley Chronicles #4)

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Overview

"A masterpiece that reaches the heart."
- Beverley Wong, author of Pride & Prejudice Prudence

The bestselling Pemberley Chronicles series continues the saga of the Darcys and Bingleys from Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice and introduces imaginative new characters.

Anne-Marie Bradshaw is the granddaughter of Charles and Jane Bingley. Her father now owns Longbourn, the Bennet's estate in Hertfordshire. A young widow after a loveless marriage, Anne-Marie and her stepmother Anna, together with Charlotte Collins, widow of the unctuous Mr. Collins, are the Ladies of Longbourn. These smart, independent women challenge the conventional roles of women in the Victorian era, while they search for ways to build their own lasting legacies in an ever-changing world.

The ladies find strength, companionship, and friendship together as they work to build a children's hospital, deal with a deadly outbreak of influenza, and help a gentle lady flee a violent and destructive marriage.

Jane Austen's original characters - Darcy, Elizabeth, Bingley, and Jane - provide a framework of solid values and commentary to anchor a dramatic story full of wit and compassion.

"Interesting stories, enduring themes, gentle humour, and lively dialogue."
- Book News

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Once I picked this book up I really had a hard time putting it down." - My Reading Spot
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781402212192
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks
  • Publication date: 10/1/2008
  • Series: Pemberley Chronicles Series , #4
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 1,027,100
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Rebecca Ann Collins is the pen name of a lady in Australia who loves Jane Austen's work so much that she has written a series of sequels to Pride and Prejudice. Thoroughly researched and beautifully written, this series has been extremely successful in Australia with over 80,000 books sold.

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Read an Excerpt

Excerpt from Part One: 1863

SPRING TOOK ITS TIME COMING to Hertfordshire that year. January and February had been cold and wet, providing little encouragement for anyone to venture out, unless it was absolutely essential to do so. Teresa and Cathy had been invited to their grandparents' home, Ashford Park in Leicestershire, and would not be back for some weeks. Anna Bingley went regularly, sometimes with her husband, to visit her parents at Haye Park and to Longbourn, to see her aunt, Charlotte Collins.

The Faulkners always welcomed their visits. In addition to the obvious pleasure of seeing their daughter and grandson, Dr Faulkner had found in his son-in-law a man after his own heart. Modest, amiable, and good humoured, with strong principles and a genuine desire to help those around him, be they his friends and relations or the men and women who lived and worked on his estates, Jonathan Bingley had pleased and surprised his father-in-law with the strength of his conviction that fairness was an essential ingredient of a civilised society.

As one who cared with equal solicitude for all his patients, rich and poor alike, Dr Faulkner was singularly impressed with a landowner who had been a parliamentarian and yet could put the interests of his tenants and labourers above profit, in an age that saw men grow greedier by the day. He was well satisfied that his daughter had married such a man as she could both love and respect.

As for Mrs Faulkner, so completely overwhelmed was she by the idea of her daughter being the mistress of both Netherfield Park and Longbourn, which Jonathan Bingley had inherited in its entirety after the death of his aunt Miss Mary Bennet, that she asked for little more than an occasional invitation to dine at Netherfield. With the arrival of their grandson Nicholas, her cup of joy was filled to overflowing.

Following the death of Mary Bennet, Charlotte Collins had continued to live at Longbourn, where on Anna's initiative and with Jonathan Bingley's encouragement, a School of Fine Arts for Young Ladies had been established. As the excellence of Anna Bingley's teaching of Art and Music and her aunt's reputation as a firm and scrupulous mistress in charge became more widely known, several new enrolments had resulted and there had been many more enquiries this year, from all over the district, as the daughters of the middle class sought artistic accomplishment. Mrs Collins believed they ought to consider taking on another teacher, in addition to Mrs Lucy Sutton, a widow who had moved to Meryton from London with her children, and was doing well teaching the younger pupils. Plans were afoot to resume after Easter for the new term, and Mrs Collins and her staff were busy making preparations to receive their new pupils.

Jonathan Bingley, having just returned from Longbourn, was divesting himself of his coat in the hall, when Anna came downstairs with their son Nicholas, who flung himself into his father's arms with the excessive enthusiasm of most energetic two-year-olds. Stopping to hoist his son onto his shoulders, Jonathan joined his wife on the stairs and, as he did so, noticed the letter in her hand. Recognising immediately Anne-Marie's handwriting and the notepaper from Standish Park, he asked "Does Anne-Marie write to say she is coming home?"

Anna nodded, smiling. She knew how much he had missed his daughter, who had been away in Kent since before Christmas. "Yes indeed, we are to expect them on Thursday. I believe, Emma, James, and their youngest boy will stay with us a week. Young Charles is back at school, and Victoria and Stephanie are in London, making preparations for the wedding," she said, glancing at the letter, as she told him the news.

"That is excellent news, excellent," said her husband, fairly beaming with pleasure, "and how does she write? Is she cheerful? Has she been well all Winter?" he asked and Anna laughed, "Oh, Jonathan, you know we would have been informed if she had been unwell. Of course she is well and what is even better, she seems well on the way to recovering her spirits, too. She writes of her determination to get back to work."

Then seeing the look of alarm that crossed his face, she said quickly, "Not at the hospital at Harwood Park, no, but she has a plan in mind for a children's hospital in Meryton. She says she has discussed it with Emma and James and is keen to get to work on her plans. I gather from her letter that she has accompanied Emma on some of her charity work in the back streets of London and has been moved by the plight of the children there. They get little medical attention and many die of neglect," said Anna, adding grimly, "It really is a scandal, Jonathan."

Her husband agreed that it was.
"Yes indeed, my dear, I am ashamed to admit that governments in England, and here I do not exempt my own party, have repeatedly shirked their responsibilities in this regard. Ever since 1848, decent people have demanded that the government take action to improve the health of ordinary folk, but despite the passage of the Public Health Act, very little progress has been made. Unfortunately, our governments prefer to leave it to the local boards of health and the religious charities to run health services. These bodies are usually far more concerned with other matters than the health of the poor. Both James and I have always believed the government must do more," he declared.

By this time, young Nicholas had become bored and impatient. He had hoped his father would play with him, but since that was not forthcoming, he demanded to be set down, so he could climb the stairs alone and demonstrate his independence. Conversation had to be suspended while his parents indulged him and praised his efforts. He was a lively child and was not often refused attention when he sought it.

Later, after his nurse had taken Nicholas away to the nursery, Jonathan returned to his daughter's letter. He wanted to know what more she had written and what impression Anna had formed of her state of mind. He was still desperately anxious for her.

In the long Winter months during which Anne-Marie had remained with her Aunt Emma Wilson at Standish Park, Anna had had the unhappy task of acquainting her husband with the whole truth about his daughter's marriage and the reasons for her anguish, which had been kept from him.

At first, he had been stunned by the enormity of it all. He could not believe that the Harwoods, who had been her special friends, had thought it right to persuade her into such a marriage. It seemed to him a heartless and unconscionable thing to have done. He was angry, too, that he had never been consulted.

"What right did they have to take upon themselves the duty of advising her upon such an intimate and important matter? Surely, if any one had responsibility, it was I? Anne-Marie should have been encouraged to confide in us before accepting Bradshaw. I cannot concede that the Harwoods had any greater claim to advise her on such matters. I should, at least, have tried to make her see that it was a decision fraught with danger for both of them. To make a mistake in love and acknowledge it is one thing; but to coldly agree to enter into a marriage without love is quite another matter. I am not surprised she has suffered terribly; she is too sensitive, too softhearted to accept such an arrangement and feel no remorse," he said and, hearing the anguish in his voice, Anna knew his resentment would not abate easily.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 7 of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 19, 2008

    These things, we are told, are sent to remind us that¿ sequels can be almost as good as the originals!

    Ladies of Longbourn, the fourth book in the acclaimed Pemberley Chronicles series brings us inside the lives of the third generation of Darcys, Bingleys, Fitzwilliams, et al. These are the now grown-up grandchildren of our favorites. And once again, we readers are introduced to a number of interesting new characters, who provide additional layers of richness to an already complex story-line. Anne-Marie Bingley is the granddaughter of Jane and Charles. A strong, independent, and seemingly unsinkable young woman, Anne-Marie [deeply impacted by the tragic death of her mother and the odd circumstances surrounding it] is drawn by a number of social and peer pressures into a loveless marriage. Her family and friends are stunned and dismayed but can do nothing other than accept her decision. Being an honorable and deeply principled person [like her father and grandfather], Anne-Marie recognizes her mistake, agonizes over its implications, but remains determined to live with her decision. And for a while, outward appearances suggest that Anne-Marie is content. Events transpire which enable her to escape her loveless marriage, but Anne-Marie¿s honor will not allow her to shake the feelings of guilt and mortification which remain it its wake. She turns for support to the strong Austen-inspired women of her family and receives it in full measure. Determined to move on with her life, Anne-Marie turns her passion toward community service. She begins lobbying for the building of a public children¿s hospital. Unfortunately, the political leaders of the time see these institutions as the purview of the church or of private funding. And so despite the full support of her family, it appears that a political champion will be needed to make Anne-Marie¿s dream come true. Her white knight appears in the form of a young, idealistic new MP [appropriately named Colin] who becomes not only her champion in the halls of Parliament, but also the one who would rescue her from a life of loneliness and self-reproach. As in her previous books, Ms. Collins adds a dose of humor to the Ladies of Longbourn. This time it takes the form of Lydia Wickham in a cameo appearance. 'Lydia was Lydia still untamed, unabashed, wild, noisy, and fearless...' In her later years, she has also become thoughtless and greedy. Elizabeth¿s long-ago wish of 'meeting with another Mr. Collins' is also fulfilled in this book, through the introduction of Mr. Griffin, the lugubrious rector of Netherfield. Ladies of Longbourn is a wonderful continuation of the Pemberley series. It expertly brings the reader along the continuum of changing English society, economics, and politics. And all the while, we remain comfortably ensconced in the rose-colored sitting room with north-facing windows in what could be Pemberley, Netherfield or Longbourn.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 17, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Bennet girls' children

    The tales of the descendants of Jane and Elizabeth Bennet continue in this 4th installment by Rebecca Ann Collins. Here we follow the story of Anne-Marie Bingley, Jane's oldest grand-daughter. She has suffered the loss of her husband (we find that it was just a marriage of convenience) and see her struggle to open a new Children's hospital in the Netherfield Area. The story is worry Austen's characters but lacks Austen's style. (

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 3, 2010

    Longbourn Revisited

    Rebecca Ann incorporated so many emotions and events into this one book that it is truly captivating, yet never leaves your head spinning. I cannot sing enough praises for this series or it's author. I shall think someone a simpleton who doesn't enjoy these chronicles.

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    Posted October 26, 2009

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    Posted January 22, 2011

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