Pemberley Ranch

Pemberley Ranch

by Jack Caldwell

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Pemberley Ranch by Jack Caldwell

When the smoke has cleared from the battlefields and the civil war has finally ended, fervent Union supporter Beth Bennet reluctantly moves with her family from their home in Meryton, Ohio, to the windswept plains of Rosings, Texas. Handsome, haughty Will Darcy, a Confederate officer back from the war, owns half the land around Rosings, and his even haughtier cousin, Cate Burroughs, owns the other half.

In a town as small as Rosings, Beth and Will inevitably cross paths. But as Will becomes enchanted with the fiery Yankee, Beth won't allow herself to warm to the man who represents the one thing she hates most: the army that killed her only brother.

But when carpetbagger George Whitehead arrives in Rosings, all that Beth thought to be true is turned on its head, and the only man who can save her home is the one she swore she'd never trust...

"It's Pride and Prejudice meets Gone with the Wind-with that kind of romance and excitement."
-Sharon Lathan, bestselling author of In the Arms of Mr. Darcy

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781402261008
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Publication date: 12/01/2010
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 445,455
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

Jack Caldwell, a native of Louisiana living in Wisconsin, is an economic developer by trade. Mr. Caldwell has been an amateur history buff and a fan of Jane Austen for many years. Pemberley Ranch is his first published work. He lives with his wife and three sons in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin area.

Jack Caldwell, a native of Louisiana living in Wisconsin, is an economic developer by trade. Mr. Caldwell has been an amateur history buff and a fan of Jane Austen for many years. The Three Colonels is his second book with Sourcebooks. He lives with his wife and three sons in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin area.

Read an Excerpt

From Chapter 1

Rosings, Texas-September, 1870

A lone figure sat astride a tall, black Arabian under a single oak tree atop a ridge. It was a hot day, and in the early afternoon sun, the shade was welcomed by horse and rider alike, standing as still as a statue. He was a tall man in a white shirt with dark trousers and black boots, his unbuttoned vest flapping in the slight breeze, a tan, wide-brimmed, ten-gallon hat pulled low over his brow. Before him stretched a sea of prairie, dotted with hundreds of cattle, lowing and grazing. They were not alone; a handful of wranglers carefully moved their cowponies around the vast herd, keeping an eye out for trouble. The movement of the horses disturbed the man's mount, and he reached down to gently stroke its neck.

"Whoa there, Caesar, rest easy," William Darcy cooed. "We'll just stay here under the shade for now. Enjoy the cool." The stallion nodded his head in apparent agreement and bent to take a few nibbles of grass. The man's attention returned to the scene before him, his bright blue eyes taking in every detail.

A flash of moving white caught his attention. He turned away from his perusal of the herd and twisted in the saddle. There! Across the ridge of hills was a rider, moving fast. Darcy narrowed his eyes in concentration. The horse was a brown and white paint, and none of his riders had such a horse. A stranger-on his land! Caesar began to prance in place, feeling his master's tension through the reins.

The rider seemed to be alone, and while Darcy had left his gun belt and Colt revolver at the house, he did have a rifle holstered to his saddle. "What say we go check that out, boy?" The horse agreed, and they loped down the hill.

Darcy moved at an angle to the stranger, holding Caesar back until necessary. The intruder was at a full gallop, flying across the crest. Darcy lost sight of the paint as he reached the valley between the hills, and he allowed Caesar his head. The stallion dug in and moved quickly up the rise, and Darcy saw with confidence that he was in the proper position to cut off the paint. Caesar spotted his quarry and headed toward the other horse, waiting for direction from his master.

As they grew closer, Darcy could see that the rider and paint moved in perfect harmony. The horse was rather small, but so was the rider. A boy? Darcy thought, before noticing the wild, curly hair flying on either side of the rider's hat. As Darcy pulled to a halt, blocking the paint's progress, a shock of realization coursed through him. That's no boy-that's a girl! A girl in men's clothing!

He pulled his hand away from his rifle, and unarmed, raised his palm in an unmistakable sign. "Hold on, miss!"

The surprised girl came to a halt a few feet away, dust swirling in the breeze. She had on a red-and-white gingham shirt and dungarees, boots firmly in the stirrups. She wore a wide-brimmed floppy hat, shading her face, but even at that distance, he could see her blazing eyes.

"What do you want?"

Her voice was lower than Darcy expected from so short a person-she could not be more than five feet two inches-but it was not unpleasant to his ears, though it was Northern and unfriendly. Darcy was not used to answering demands from anyone in the last four years, and he wasn't going to change for some strange female.

"Who are you?" he demanded. "This is private property. Who gave you leave to ride across Pemberley?"

"Private?" It was clear he surprised her. "All this? I thought this was open range."

"Not hardly. Everything this side of the Long Branch belongs to Pemberley Ranch." He considered her. "You're not from around here, are you?"

The girl raised her chin. "We are now. Our place is across the river. My father owns the farm there."

Darcy relaxed a bit. "The old Thompson place?" She answered with a nod. "You're one of Tom Bennet's daughters? I was told he had a herd of them." Almost immediately he recognized how his choice of words could be considered an insult, but it was too late.

The girl's voice was ice cold. "Tom Bennet is indeed my father, sir, and I thank you for your kind observations about my family. Now, if you'll pardon me." She pulled her reins to return from whence she came, only to be halted by Darcy's words. "I'll escort you back to the ford, miss, if you don't mind."

She looked over her shoulder at him. "I do mind. You've made it clear that I'm not welcomed here, and I can see myself home. Good day." To her increased irritation, Darcy fell in beside her. "I see there was no cause for me to voice my preference!"

"The ground is uneven here, and as it's unfamiliar to you, you might meet with misfortune."

"So-I cannot ride my horse, is that what you mean?" Darcy snapped back, "I truly don't wish to offend, miss, but you're being mighty stubborn! Your pony might fall into some gopher hole and break his leg and have to be put down. Now, I call that a tall price to pay for your pride!"

The girl said nothing, she only lowered her head. But Darcy could see the color rise on her cheek as she bit her lip. The two rode in silence for some time along the ridgeline before turning right and making their way down to the river. The trees grew more plentiful and thick next to the riverbank. Darcy tried to come up with some conversation, but the girl's studied avoidance of his glance stilled his tongue. After a few more minutes, they reached a shallow ford across the Long Branch.

"Well, here we are-Thompson Crossing. Your daddy's farm's on the other side. I reckon this is how you crossed over?"

The girl's sarcastic side reasserted itself. "It is. Thank you so much for assuring I didn't cause Turner any injury. I am forever grateful!"

Darcy blinked. "Turner? Your horse's name is Turner?" A grin stole across her face. "It is, sir."

"Strange. Most girls name their ponies Star or Brownie or Buster."

Her grin turned into a mocking smile. "But I'm not like most girls, as I'm sure you've discovered." With that, she spurred the paint across the ford, splashing water everywhere, leaving a bemused Darcy behind. He shook his head before turning Caesar back toward the Pemberley ranch house. It was only then he realized that he had neglected to introduce himself.

No harm done, he thought. It's not likely we'll meet up again.

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Pemberley Ranch 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 26 reviews.
Kimberly_Book_Addict More than 1 year ago
Pemberley Ranch, a contemporary westernized version of Pride and Prejudice, is Jack Caldwell's debut novel. I saw this in Barnes and Noble with the comment "It's Pride and Prejudice meets Gone with the Wind -- with that kind of romance and excitement" and was instantly struck that I had to try the novel out. Glad I did! The Civil War has finally ended. Will Darcy is headed back to Rosings, Texas to his beloved Pemberley Ranch with his friend Dr. Charles Bingley. Up north in Ohio, Beth Bennet is finding out that her father is selling their family farm to her uncles and moving the family to Rosings. Shortly after their arrival Beth meets the haughty Will Darcy, Jane falls in love/marries Dr. Bingley, and the carpetbagger George Whitehead comes to town. Whitehead becomes a good friend of the Bennet family much to Darcy and Bingley's chagrin. Whitehead has a past with the two men, having been their jailer in the prison camp that Darcy and Bingley wound up being wrongfully thrown into near the end of the Civil War. Darcy begins discovering that Whitehead is double-crossing his cousin Cate Burroughs, the owner of the B&R Ranch. Darcy also discovers that Beth is unlike any woman he has ever met and sees himself falling in love with her. It's up to him to convince her that he isn't the haughty arrogant man she believes him to be and that Whitehead isn't looking out for her family's best interests either. Pemberley Ranch is filled with murder, mayhem, gunfights, love, deceit, and all the things you'd expect from a Pride and Prejudice sequel with western influences. So let me preface this by saying it was SO interesting to finally read a sequel written by a man. (NOTHING against women when I say that) I'm so used to reading a P&P sequel written by a woman where Darcy has a huge character transformation and Elizabeth has a transformation, but not on an epic scale like Darcy. Reading Pemberley Ranch it is Beth who has the huge character transformation. It was an interesting change to read and I think because as women we romanticize the transformation of Darcy into something bigger than is actually written. (Maybe because the period of time in which he transforms is not written explicitly?) Anyway, back to Pemberley Ranch! It was also refreshing to not read an overly mushy or sexual romance between Beth and Will. The conflicts are what take center stage here; especially those between Cate Burroughs, Will Darcy, George Whitehead, and Denny's gang. The romance that is written however does seem more realistic and natural than other sequels I read. Nothing is overly romanticized, it all seems natural. Caldwell did some really interesting things with the characters that I enjoyed: Bingley was a doctor, Mr. Lucas was the town sheriff, Colonel Fitzwilliam was the head man on Darcy's ranch, Denny was a gunslinger, and Mrs. Younge became a saloon owner. I also was pleased to see other Austen characters make their way into the novel, with the biggest supporting part going to Reverend Henry Tilney of Northanger Abbey. All in all the book was a lot of fun to read and as I said previously a refreshingly different point of view. For those women who are trying to get the men in their lives to read a Pride and Prejudice sequel, I would definitely suggest trying this one. It's written with enough action to keep their attention. Kimberly (Reflections of a Book Addict)
LauraFabiani More than 1 year ago
When I first saw the cover of this book I was immediately attracted to it. Perhaps it's that gorgeous taffeta skirt draped over the horse... Jack Caldwell's Pemberley Ranch is, we can say, the Western version of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. When I first started reading it, it took some getting used to. But I quickly realized that it's only loosely based on P&P, and the storyline really does stand on its own. Most of it is predictable, of course, but the Civil War aspect was a refreshing change from the usual P&P based novel. I also liked that the author took a different spin on most of the characters, however, I would have liked a little more suspense rather than to have most of what the bad guys were planning spelled out. Elizabeth (Beth) Bennet is a stalwart Union supporter who lost a brother in the war, whereas William Darcy is an ex-Confederate officer. While Beth can't get past what happened in the war she soon finds out there are always two sides to a story, or in this case, the war. Darcy, on the other hand, seems too perfect throughout the story, showing no ill effects from having fought in the war and suffered as a prisoner of war. There is profanity and an explicit sex scene in this novel. Also, what happens to one of the young women was sad and life-scarring but was quickly forgotten once the scene moves onto Darcy proclaiming his love for Beth and she agrees to marry him. I felt nothing for them as I was still thinking about the other situation. Would a female author have handled this differently? Perhaps. I would like to think so, though. If you like Western tales, this one contains most of the elements as there are good and bad cowboys, a sheriff trying to enforce the law, a corrupt judge, greed for land, trouble at the saloon, a deadly shoot-out and some head-strong women. All that was missing were the Indians. So, if it's a Western romance you're itching for with a good cowboy and a sly villain, this one may suit your fancy.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a wonderful retelling of Pride and Prejudice that keeps the characters true to themselves in a new story line. It was similar enough to know who was who. I believe this was and is a western that captures the heart of Jane Austen's work.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was appalled that the author made Mr. Darcy's thoughtlife so... ungentlemanly. Had to stop reading it midway through the book.
AAR More than 1 year ago
PEMBERLEY RANCH by Jack Caldwell is a historical romance set in 1863 Vicksburg,Mississippi and 1870 Rosings, Texas. It is well written depth,details, and fast paced. It has deceit,deception,romance, greed,family,love,land grabbing,suspense,intrigue,adventure,prejudices, and faith. This is the story of a Yankee farm girl meets Confederate rancher. It takes place a couple of years after the Civil War.The hero, Will, is a former ex-Confederate prisoner of war. He is strong, determined,handsome, a rancher,subdued, well respected by his men,sister and other town people.The heroine, Beth, is a Yankee, moved to Rosings by her parents with her other siblings. She is beautiful, independent, strong willed, determined, has a hatred to Confederates due to her older brother, Samuel, being killed during the war.When Beth and Will first meet sparks fly. They unwillingly fall in love. When trouble comes calling, Will takes the problem in hand and with the help of his men, together with other town people. They get the situation in hand. I would recommend this book especially if you enjoy the time right after the Civil War, Texas, disagreements, greed, a young romance in progress and learning the stories of the secondary characters coming to completion. This book was received for review from the publisher and details can be found at Sourcebooks Landmark and My Book Addiction and More.
Tribute_Books_Reviews More than 1 year ago
Mr. Darcy as a Wild West cowboy? A dungaree-clad Elizabeth Bennett flying over the range on her painted pony? Pride and Prejudice is done Texas-style in Jack Caldwell's debut novel, Pemberley Ranch. Whether or not a devotee of the esteemed classic novel will want to mosey on over to the antebellum cattle town of Rosings, depends upon one's taste for shifting the time and place of Austen's beloved characters. If one's taste is for Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and the numerous sequels, prequels and spin-offs in existence, then Caldwell's take will be heartily enjoyed. For the Jane Austen purist, it might be a bit harder to swallow. Where Caldwell excels is in fleshing out the masculinity of the buttoned-up Regency era Darcy. Here the sense of his authority and command over outlaws and swindlers is impressive to behold. He's as fast with his gun as he is in spying on a skinny-dipping "Beth." He is a man that other men can't help admiring, and one that causes many a woman to swoon. However, it is Darcy's inner turmoil that is most captivating. As a Confederate soldier, he was flogged within an inch of his life. If not for the attentions of his comrade "Dr." Bingley, he would not have survived. The wounds run deep. He collapses during a night of heavy drinking after "Beth" refuses his marriage proposal. Yes, the self-contained Darcy gets intoxicated. At times, the Annie Oakley approach to Elizabeth is a bit much. Being a crack shot with a rifle during a Custer's Last Stand/Alamo type scene borders on the unbelievable. While the original Elizabeth was more than a tea-sipping lady in a parlor, she also wasn't above and beyond her time period in terms of her station and decorum. Caldwell's Beth is a little more tomboy and a little less intellectual. The more inspired anecdotes involve the supporting cast. Fitzwilliam and Charlotte Lucas have a secret, passionate affair. Caroline Bingley suffers post-traumatic stress disorder from Sherman's March to the Sea and the burning of her Georgia home. Lily (Lydia) is a saloon girl thrown away by town bad boy George Whitehead (Wickham). Mrs. Bennett possesses common sense and the esteem of her husband. Another tidbit that Caldwell gives to fans is introducing characters from other Jane Austen novels into the story. Henry Tilney of Northanger Abbey is the town clergyman and devoted suitor of pious Mary. Emma's Mr. Knightley and his brother are the entrepreneurs that Darcy invests in to bring the railroad to Rosings. While bit players like Anne de Bourgh and Georgiana Darcy are given more of a voice. Overall, if you're willing to hop in the saddle, you'll enjoy the ride.
Laurel_Ann More than 1 year ago
I have been patiently awaiting a Wild West rendition of Pride and Prejudice for some time, so when Pemberley Ranch rode into town, I was all anticipation. The blending of the two genres seemed like a natural to me; especially concerning two romantic archetypes - the Regency gentleman and the American cowboy. *swoon* It's really not surprising that so many elements from the Regency-era have transitioned neatly into Caldwell's new adaption of Jane Austen classic story set in post-Civil War Texas. Lizzy and Darcy are as spirited and arrogant as ever in any century, transformed into Beth Bennet, a poor Yankee farmer's daughter from Ohio relocated to Rosings, Texas where rich Johnny Reb William Darcy has a large cattle spread, Pemberley Ranch, and the local Darcy Bank. Caldwell does a great job of melding the plot to fit a western theme, changing enough of the story to make it original, yet harkening to all of the plot points that readers will recollect from the original narrative. There are some important exceptions. Given that this is a tall tale from the Wild, Wild West, Cate Burroughs (Lady Catherine de Bourgh), George Whitehead (George Wickham) and Lily Bennet (Lydia Bennet) can be "really" officious, dastardly and loose! Well maybe they were already, but in this setting the writer does not have to be as proprietous as Austen was obliged to be in the early nineteenth-century. Pemberley Ranch had some surprises. The Team Tilney fan-girls will be happy to know that Henry himself makes an appearance as a very "likable" high plains rector in a supporting role. Even pedantic Mary Bennet is under his charms. The dialogue is lacking Austen's wit and snappy retorts, but shucks, this is the Wild West where outlaws and lawmen talk with their guns. The story builds beautifully in the western theme of shoot-outs over the land as opposed to Austen's conflict of social decorum with witty words. However, some things never change as both plots have money struggles in common, and, the eventual humbling of Darcy's pride and dissolution of Beth's prejudice - culminating in a great romance as they ride off into the sunset. Yippy ki-aye. Laurel Ann, Austenprose
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is agoid old fashion gone with the wind exciting romance, action, and comedy all in one. This book would be a perfect movie. Never all dull moment.
KellytwoKF More than 1 year ago
Wonderful mish-mosh!  A quote on the cover of this enticing book says  “It’s ‘Pride and Prejudice’ meets ‘Gone With the Wind’...” to which I would add, plus almost any John Wayne movie featuring the Old West.  If you have a hard-time imagining Mr. Darcy as a pistol-packing, rip-snorting gunslinger, don’t worry. He isn’t quite that here, but he is a man of honour, which is what a man most needed to be in the days following America’s War Between the States in the 1860s.  Jack Caldwell did a fabulous job of mixing and matching the inhabitants of Regency England with the aristocrats of the old South and the brave newcomers to the mostly-unexplored West.  The book is rich in history and the customs that prevailed at the time, while staying true to the concepts of both Jane Austen and Margaret Mitchell. No one is ever entirely perfect, which adds to their character, sometimes in detrimental fashion. Heroes are still heroes and villains will always be villains.  All the main characters from P&P are here, some with slight alterations to their name or their manner, so it’s fairly easy to keep track of who’s who.  The tightly-knit village life of rural England lends itself happily to the barren countryside of middle Texas. Not far from the other Austin, in fact. Bravo!  I’ll be reading it again. Soon. 
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I finished it at last. You could really tell by his writing style that this was the author's first book. Wyckham was shot in the end and killed and so was Lady Catherine deBaurgh! There was no confrontation between Lady Catherine and Elizabeth which was disappointing because I LOVE that bit with "the shades of Pemberly thus polluted!" and all! Nobody writes like Jane Austen!