It is a truth universally expected that once three Bennet sisters achieved matrimony, Mrs. Bennet would turn her attention to the matrimonial prospects of the remaining two. In this Pride and Prejudice continuation, the author explores the life of the fourth Bennet sister, Kitty. Now freed from Lydia’s orbit, what will silly and insipid Kitty make of herself? What will she do next?
The answer is: quite a lot. Tired of being thought vain and vapid, Kitty seeks to improve her mind through reading and to sharpen her skills in singing and the pianoforte. She visits London with Jane and Mr. Bingley, making the acquaintance of a handsome music master, a courteous older gentlemen, and a friendly second-born nobleman. A deep friendship grows between Kitty and Georgiana Darcy, and Kitty is invited back to Pemberly for the summer.
Meanwhile, Lizzy plans a midsummer’s ball, determined not to let Darcy down as she learns to play the grand hostess. But when Lydia decides to attend without invitation, both Kitty and Lizzy must work hard to avoid social disaster. Kitty finds herself caught in the middle of a hurtful contretemps, the victim of misunderstandings and accusations. Is she destined to be the least regarded Bennet sister, or can she rise above her past follies and current situation?
This book was one of the more delightful Austen continuations that I have read. I sincerely sympathized with Kitty, and her character came alive in these pages. One thing I appreciated is that the author did not try to denigrate the other Bennets, whose worthiness Austen has already shown, in order to make Kitty shine. Kitty’s longing for approval from her father is poignantly portrayed, as is her longing to emulate the good that she sees. A few parts of this novel were a little slow, but overall, this was an enjoyable read with an unexpectedly delightful heroine who has now come into her own.
Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.