Woman of Influence (Pemberley Chronicles #9)

( 6 )

Overview

Contrary, opinionated, and headstrong, she's no typical Victorian lady...

"Truly a masterpiece that any Austen fan would enjoy."
-Beverly Wong, author of Pride & Prejudice Prudence

Becky Collins has always been determined not to submit to the pressures of Victorian society. But her marriage doesn't bring her the opportunities she'd hoped for, and her outspokenness does not find favor with the gentrified ...

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Woman of Influence (Pemberley Chronicles #9)

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Overview

Contrary, opinionated, and headstrong, she's no typical Victorian lady...

"Truly a masterpiece that any Austen fan would enjoy."
-Beverly Wong, author of Pride & Prejudice Prudence

Becky Collins has always been determined not to submit to the pressures of Victorian society. But her marriage doesn't bring her the opportunities she'd hoped for, and her outspokenness does not find favor with the gentrified ladies of Pemberley.

As the unintended consequences of her errors in judgment engulf her, Becky begins to understand what's really important in life. But has she learned her lessons too late?

"Collins painstakingly recreates pitch-perfect Austen period notes which her fans will relish."
-Publishers Weekly

"Inventive plot lines, credible characters, and an engaging style. Add to this an enviable knowledge of the history and culture of the period and a sensitive appreciation of the values and traditions that underlie the novels of Jane Austen."
-Book News

"Rebecca Ann Collins has taken the characters of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice and weaves new story lines and characters so seamlessly."
-A Bibliophile's Bookshelf

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Editorial Reviews

Historical Novel Reviews
A pleasant read, and the author has done a good job of using back-story to bring all of the characters into alignment.
Genre Reviews

— Debbie
Libby's Library News
A Woman Of Influence is exactly what I want as a Jane Austin fan! The perfect read.
— Libby
A Curious Statistical Anomaly
Collins continues the characters of Pride and Prejudice, taking them forward in time and allowing them to change and grow with the changing times... Curl up with this book and a cup of tea and enjoy.
— Gayle
Celtic Lady's Reviews
Excellent writing by the author creates a fun story to add to the Jane Austen sequels.
My Reading Spot
A wonderful writer and storyteller. [Collins] has a knack for writing in Jane Austen's own voice.
— Debbi
Booksie's Blog
Austen fans, rejoice!
— Sandie
From the Publisher
"A pleasant read, and the author has done a good job of using back-story to bring all of the characters into alignment." - Historical Novel Reviews

"In a writing style very similar to Austen's in word choice and phrasing... The world-building was excellent." - Genre Reviews

"A Woman Of Influence is exactly what I want as a Jane Austin fan! The perfect read." - Libby's Library News

"Collins continues the characters of Pride and Prejudice, taking them forward in time and allowing them to change and grow with the changing times... Curl up with this book and a cup of tea and enjoy." - A Curious Statistical Anomaly

"A good view of Victorian life, and a happy ending with true love between two wonderful people." - Linda Banche Romance Author

" Excellent writing by the author creates a fun story to add to the Jane Austen sequels. " - Celtic Lady's Reviews

"A wonderful writer and storyteller. [Collins] has a knack for writing in Jane Austen's own voice. " - My Reading Spot

"Austen fans, rejoice!" - Booksie's Blog

"Curl up with [A Woman of Influence] and go for a journey through an different era." - Books with a Cup of Coffee

"Ms. Collins has created quite an intriguing and colorful world with her expansion of the most beloved Pride and Prejudice." - History Undressed

Linda Banche Romance Author
A good view of Victorian life, and a happy ending with true love between two wonderful people.
— Linda Banche
Books with a Cup of Coffee
Curl up with [A Woman of Influence] and go for a journey through an different era.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781402224515
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 6/1/2010
  • Series: Pemberley Chronicles Series , #9
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 402,033
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.10 (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 10 sequels to Pride and Prejudice, following Austen's beloved characters, introducing new ones, and bringing the characters into a new historical era.

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Read an Excerpt

From the Prologue:

Becky Collins was back at Hunsford, not at the parsonage, where she had spent much of her childhood, endeavouring to fulfill the expectations of her zealous father, Reverend Collins, and avoid the censure of his indomitable patron, Lady Catherine de Bourgh, but at Edgewater-the property in the county of Kent, where she now lived.

She was, of course, no longer Miss Collins; having been married before she was twenty years of age to Mr Anthony Tate, a publisher of some power and influence in the community, she had been considered to be a woman of some rank and substance.

Thanks to the generosity of her husband, who, having separated from his wife, had elected to live out the rest of his days in America, where he had recently died, she was now a reasonably wealthy woman. Having sold their house in London, Becky had acquired Edgewater, an investment that had the universal approval of most if not all of her friends and relations.

Standing at the window of what was to be her private study and work room, Becky looked out across the grounds of her new home and smiled as her eyes took in the lovely aspect across the lake from which the property took its name. There was a singular sense of satisfaction in knowing that everything in this place would be as she had planned it; she no longer took directions from nor waited upon the approval of anyone. Neither was she obliged to submit her accounts to her husband's clerk for payment.

Becky Tate was at last her own woman and she enjoyed that above anything. For the very first time in her life, Becky had chosen where she was going to spend her time, just as she was now free to decide how that time was to be spent. It was for her an especially thrilling sensation, the likes of which she had not known in many years. Looking at the work she had begun at Edgewater, she could not resist a frisson of excitement as she contemplated the future that lay before her, a future to be determined entirely by her own wishes and limited only by her resources.

Becky was glad to have left Derbyshire. Her son Walter and his family now occupied the Tate residence at Matlock. She had been at Edgewater throughout the Winter, save for a visit to Pemberley at Christmas.

It was February and Winter had not as yet released its hold upon the countryside, though here in Kent it was decidedly warmer than it had been in Derbyshire. While many trees were still bare, but for the merest hint of tender green buds upon their boughs, the ground beneath them was broken by impatient clumps of bulbs pushing up out of the soil-snowdrops and crocuses, amidst drifts of scilla and bright wood anemones that covered the ground under the poplars in the spinney.

Becky loved the haphazard nature of the gardens at Edgewater, where large trees and evergreen shrubs, untamed by the fashionable art of topiary, held sway, while under them and along the edge of the lake, myriad wildflowers bloomed freely, unrestrained by the discipline of a formal garden.

Quite unlike the tidy beds at Hunsford parsonage, which her father had tended, or the hedged formality of Rosings Park in the era of Lady Catherine de Bourgh, the grounds at Edgewater appealed to her more spontaneous nature with their lack of orderliness and regulation.

As a young girl, Becky had hated Rosings Park with its innumerable rules and its regiment of retainers all trained to do Her Ladyship's bidding, without question. There had been so many gardeners and minions, she had been afraid to pick a bloom without permission, lest it should disturb the grand pattern of the most celebrated rose garden in the south of England!

Here, it was very different; she could do exactly as she pleased. On an impulse, she decided to go out into the garden and gather some flowers for her study. Collecting a basket and secateurs from a cupboard under the stairs, Becky went out through the side door onto a wide terrace, down the steps, and out toward the lake. There, the flowers were in abundance, stretching as far as she could see, across the water and into the meadows beyond. Clusters of blue scilla in the spinney caught her eye; they were a favourite with her.

She was about to take the path around the lake when her maid, Nelly, appeared, running towards her.

"Please, ma'am, Mr Jonathan Bingley is here to see you," she said.

"Jonathan Bingley? Are you sure, Nelly? Mr Bingley is in Hertfordshire at Netherfield. I know he is, because my sister Catherine and Mr Burnett have travelled there to visit Mr and Mrs Bingley only a few days ago." But Nelly was adamant.

"Indeed, ma'am, it is Mr Bingley. He said he has come directly from Netherfield to see you, and he says it's a matter of great urgency, ma'am." Puzzled and incredulous, Becky handed her basket to Nelly and hurried indoors to find Jonathan Bingley standing by the fire in the sitting room. She knew the very moment she set eyes on him, he was the bearer of bad news. Jonathan was wearing full formal black and his handsome face was unusually grave. As she entered the room, he came towards her at once. Becky did not know what to think, but as her mind raced and her heart thumped in her chest, he took her hand. Becky's hand trembled as he held it; she knew something had happened, but she was afraid to ask the inevitable question.

When he spoke, his voice was low and gentle. "Becky, I am truly sorry to be the bearer of such sad news, but last night your mama, Mrs Collins, was taken ill suddenly and though the doctor was called to her immediately, she took a turn for the worse and passed away just before dawn. Anna has gone with Catherine to Longbourn, and I have come as soon as I could, to take you back to Hertfordshire."

He was gentle and concerned as he broke the news, and as she wept, he held her awhile. When she was calmer and seated herself upon the sofa by the fire, Jonathan offered to get her a glass of sherry or something stronger and when she refused, he went to find the maid and order some tea. All this he did as though it was quite the most ordinary thing to do. Mrs Charlotte Collins was dead.

She had been ill, intermittently, since a bad bout of influenza in the early Autumn, but had seemed to recover her health. However, a damp, cold Winter had proved too much for her weakened body; pneumonia had set in. Her eldest daughter, Catherine, and her husband, Frank Burnett, had arrived in Hertfordshire only just in time to attend to her before her condition worsened.

As Nelly arrived with the tea, Becky's tears returned. The news had hit her like a thunderbolt. She had never been especially close to her mother, unlike Catherine, but she'd had great affection and respect for her. Her sense of shock was all the greater because the invitation from the Bingleys to Catherine and Mr Burnett to visit Netherfield had been extended to her, too. They had at first made plans to travel together to Hertfordshire and visit their mother at Longbourn, but Becky had changed her mind, deciding to return to Edgewater and supervise some of the work being done around the house and grounds. She was keen to get it done right.

She had written to her mother making her excuses and promising to visit her in the Spring. Now that promise would never be kept.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 6 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 9, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    A Woman of Influence - Another triumph!

    In the ninth of her 10-book series, author Rebecca Collins gives us a closer look at her namesake - an original character created for the Pemberley Chronicles series. Modern women can easily identify with Rebecca "Becky" Collins Tate - daughter of the lovable Charlotte Collins and her "somewhat less lovable" husband, Rev. William Collins of Hunsford Parish.

    To those around her Becky seemed to lead a charmed life. Married to a wealthy and successful newspaper owner, Becky had many unique opportunities for a woman of her era. She wrote and published articles; she traveled the country, interacting with interesting and powerful people. And she used her intelligence, charm, and tenacity to effect social change. Becky was the sort of Victorian woman that other intelligent women of her day must have envied.

    For some time Becky was content with her life. But the truth will eventually surface. And the death of her beloved daughter changed Becky, shook her confidence, and caused her to rethink her own place in the world.

    When we meet Becky Tate in Volume Eight of the series (Recollections of Rosings), she is seeking to fill the void in her life with social-climbing and busy-bodying. Through a series of events, Becky begins to see that her life has become one of idle gossip and vapid relationships. A renewed relationship with her sister Catherine helps her to turn that corner and begin to view life with new optimism.

    Throughout A Woman of Influence, we learn how Becky has come to be so unhappy, and we walk beside her as she bravely navigates her middle years - trying to figure out what to do with the rest of her life. She has become rather lost. Fortunately, her sister Catherine, with quiet strength and calmness of temper, helps Becky put things back into perspective, including her once well-honed sense of social justice. Becky throws her energy into helping Alice Grey, a young woman whose husband is the victim of gross injustice. Through her efforts Becky manages to bring restitution to Alice's family and a deep sense of satisfaction for herself.

    The book brings back many favorites. The Darcy and Bingley families figure prominently throughout the book (Jonathan Bingley in particular), reminding Becky directly or indirectly that her life has indeed been one of influence for good. The causes that she and her husband championed in their younger years were meaningful and important.

    And, finally, we witness a new romance for Becky - the return of an old flame. And so her life comes about, full-circle. Once again, I'm deeply moved by the author's ability to draw the reader into the lives of her characters. I have loved this series and getting to know its cast. It will be difficult for me to read Book 10 (the final in the series) and to say goodbye to the "family" I've come to know so well.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 8, 2010

    Mystery at Edgewater

    In this book Becky Tate finds herself trying to unravel the true identity of a girl whom she has just taken into her employment as well as find out the mystery as to if this girls husband was wrongfully imprisoned in order for another man to try and snap her up. The storyline will definitely keep you interested and at the end you will be wishing, like me, that the tenth and final book in the series will be released soon.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 14, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Fascinating!

    Jane Austen fans, rejoice! Rebecca Ann Collins has written a series of ten books extending the lives of the Austen characters and moving them forward into a new historical era. Specifically, the series is billed as the sequel series to Austen's Pride And Prejudice. The series is called The Pemberley Chronicles, and A Woman Of Influence is the ninth book in the series.

    Becky Tate is the widow of a publisher and she is entering a new stage in her life. She has sold the London house she and her husband shared and bought a new estate in Kent, where she is close to her sister. Becky is deciding what she will do with the rest of her life. An author, she is also interested in moving forward the plight of women, especially the poor, uneducated and often abused women of the serving class.

    A young woman is found wandering the estate. She has a young son, and has been trying to support both of them by working in the hops fields. They are dirty and hungry. Becky takes them in and discovers that the woman claims that her husband is imprisoned, leaving the family to make its way as best it can. Along with her circle of friends, Becky becomes fascinated with this story and attempts to discover the truth and right any wrongs committed.

    While this story is one of the linchpins of the book, there is much else. There are deaths, weddings, the birth of children. Relationships between family members and friends are explored. The relationship of parents to adult children is a recurring theme. The life of an upper class woman in the eighteenth century is displayed in depth. How I wish I had the time to spend on relationships and causes that these women did!

    This book is recommended for those who love Jane Austen, or are interested in stories of women's rights when society had cast them as the weaker sex, or for anyone interested in a great read. A Woman Of Influence is written in a gentle style, and I found it compelling. The reader is drawn into this world and what happens next is all that can be thought of.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted May 24, 2011

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    Posted April 16, 2011

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    Posted December 23, 2011

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