Hurting people hurts other people. This is a truth that we should acknowledge, if we are honest. And yet, our human nature takes over and we tend to vilify those who seek to control us without looking for the hurt that might be causing their behavior.
It is easy to dislike Lady Catherine DeBourgh. She is controlling, vindictive, and pompous, and none of us wish to be in the company of someone who makes us feel so demeaned. But, what if there is more to Lady Catherine’s actions than merely spite and arrogance? Is it possible that she is motivated not by a haughty need to control, but by fear and loneliness? Karen Aminadra has introduced us to a Lady Catherine who is not revealed in the pages of Pride and Prejudice, nor any other novel I have seen to date.
Catherine DeBourgh has suffered the loss of everyone she has ever loved – her parents, her husband, and her beloved only sister – and has been rendered friendless by her own gruff, abrasive nature. Even her ridiculous clergyman has left her for a more pleasant parish. Driven by fear of losing the only people she has left, she seeks to control the lives of her daughter and two nephews in hopes of keeping them close to her.
The Lady has convinced her daughter, Anne, as well as everyone else, that Anne is sickly and cannot participate in the same activities as other ladies. If she learns to ride a horse, she may have a fatal fall. If she travels far beyond her home or attends parties, she could catch someone else’s illness and succumb to it. Either scenario would leave Lady Catherine desperately alone.
When Darcy defies his aunt’s wishes and marries outside the family, and Colonel Fitzwilliam is detained in war, Lady Catherine makes a new plan to ensure that Anne will remain in her company. She simply must marry Anne off to a man of her choosing and have them live with her at Rosings. And, what better way to choose a husband for her daughter than to play hostess to a parcel of eligible young men?
As the parade of potential suitors arrives, so does a new clergyman, along with his no-nonsense, plain-speaking father, to settle in to Hunsford.
As Lady Catherine begins to see the eligible bachelors for the rakes they really are, Anne finally finds her own voice and her mother could not be more proud to see a bit of herself in her only child. But, what is it, exactly, that makes Catherine decide that status and rank mean far less than forgoing fear and having joy in one’s life?
I truly enjoyed reading this book. I love to hate Catherine DeBourgh, as many do, but I loved seeing the other side of her. It is refreshing to know that the beastly Lady Catherine has human emotions and wants to be loved and needed, just like the rest of us.
Review by Leatherbound Reviews contributor Heather Head
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