Above painting: Louis Jean Francois - Mars and Venus an Allegory of Peace


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Monday, December 27, 2010

Book Review: Pemberley Ranch, by Jack Caldwell

Congratulations Mr. Caldwell!  I have not had a book grip me as Pemberley Ranch did since I read Ken Follett's World Without End.  When I say this, I mean that I couldn't STOP reading... and when I was forced to put the book down to work or take care of my family, all I could do was think about getting back to it.  Pemberley Ranch, Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, with an American south twist, is a definite recommended read!

Book Info...

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…

Product ISBN: 9781402241284

Price: $14.99
Publication Date: December 2010

My Review...

There are a number of reasons why I enjoyed this book so much.  The setting is fascinating, unique and fresh--and by the way, I loved the maps in the beginning!  Never before has the dashing Mr. Darcy come to be a cowboy, at least that I've read.  But it isn't just that he's a cowboy, we also have the element of the Civil War, North vs. South.  Mr. Caldwell breaks open an entire new can of worms to toss at a famous and favorite couple of literary fans -- Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy.  And, Mr. Caldwell has truly made this his own story!  There are new and intriguing characters, new conflicts, new goals, new motivations, new emotions, and a sensuality/risqueness you don't often see in P&P continuations.  We have saloons--and whores, gun fights, cattle ranching, secret rendez-vous, railroads, murder, bank forclosures, cowboy hats and spurs, gingham and dungarees.

Mr. Caldwell's writing is tight and action packed, which makes for quick and exciting reading.  His research was extensive, and I learned more about the Civil War in his book--which I didn't even realize until the end--than I did in history class.  But don't get me wrong, the book isn't a history lesson, its fiction and action and drama.  The front cover has a quote from author, Sharon Lathan that says, "Pride and Prejudice meets Gone With the Wind." And how true her words are!  We have the southern belles, the outdoor picnics, large plantation homes, the issue of slavery, the different views of the north and south.  But it is also more than that, because we aren't in Georgia, we're in Texas, and things in Rosings, Texas are a lot different then they were in Georgia during and after the civil war. 

Additionally, I liked how a few familiar names from Austen's other works popped up in the book, like Miss Dashwood and Mr. Knightley.  They weren't main characters, but it was still neat.

You don't have to have read any of Ms. Austen's classic works, to enjoy Pemberley Ranch.  Mr. Caldwell has taken these characters and reinvented them.

Well done!  I look forward to reading more work by this author.

I would love to hear if anyone else was as impressed and enthralled with this book as I was.

About the Author...

Jack Caldwell, a native of Louisiana living in the upper Midwest, is an economic developer by trade. Mr. Caldwell has been an amateur history buff and a fan of Miss Austen for many years. Pemberley Ranch is his first published work. He is married with three sons.  Visit Mr. Caldwell at http://webpages.charter.net/jvcla25/

Mr. Caldwell will be visiting History Undressed on Wednesday, December 29th!  Don't forget to stop by!  Two commenters will win a copy of PEMBERLEY RANCH.


Anonymous said...

Hear, hear! Just when you think there can't be a new take on Pride and Prejudice, Jack Caldwell comes out with this thriller that keeps us on the edge of our seats. His men are real men, the conflicts are serious, and he doesn't back away from issues like race and religion and prejudice. This is a great book.

~ June

Carol L. said...

Thanks for the review. I'm definitely looking forward to Pemberley Ranch . I have a feeling it's going to be one book I'll try reading in one sitting. :)
Carol L

Unknown said...

This is definitely a book I'm eager to read and quite a different take on my absolute favorite book of all time. What a great guy you are for listening to your wife! Here's wishing you great success with your first published work!

Nancy Lee Badger said...

Great concept! The author has taken a period in history special to me and mesmorized his readers by using the a well-loved romance to come up with something i have to read! Great idea! Leave it to Sourcebooks to back this 'novel' idea!