I was intrigued by the premise of Finding Anne de Bourgh. Pride and Prejudice is one of my favorite books and, to be honest, I hadn't thought much about Anne de Bourgh, the woman that Lady Catherine expected would marry Darcy. This book tells her story and it is really well done!
I love that the author remains true to the way Jane Austen drew the character of Anne, yet adds her own characterization and growth arc. The language of the time period, the setting, and the attitudes about station and what is expected of a daughter in search of a husband is so well done. Anne is such a sympathetic character as she tries to find her way through her health issues and actually leading her own life and making her wishes known. With such an overpowering mother, that is a feat all on its own.
Our hero, Mr. Talbot also has his own issues that has caused him to be relegated to the fringes of society. But he sees something different in Anne and they are drawn together. I loved how he subtly championed her and her efforts to be her own woman. His kindness and humor and all he's overcome make him a hero any woman would want. And the way he treats Anne is swoon-worthy.
The secondary cast is memorable and the author has obviously done her research with all the details that are included. My only complaint was that several times throughout the book the word reigns is used when it should be reins. I know, I know, such a small thing, but it wasn't a one time mistake and I'm surprised the error wasn't caught! With that said, the real genius to this book is that it is not merely a regency love story! This is also a mystery that will pull you into the story and keep you turning pages so you can see who the real villain is, (and there are some scenes that will pull on your heartstrings for sure, villain or no!) and of course if our couple will be kept apart or find their way to each other.
I really enjoyed this book and I think regency fans will, too.
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Here's the back copy:
As heiress of Rosings Park, Anne de Bourgh’s health is of utmost importance to her mother, Lady Catherine de Bourgh. Thus, following the shock of a recent fire at Rosings Park, the young woman is spirited away to Brighton to take the cure. While her domineering mother is bent on healing her daughter’s sickly constitution to secure her a suitable match, Anne herself is far more concerned with sketching the flora and fauna of the lovely sea town. It is in pursuit of artistic inspiration among the flowers that Anne becomes acquainted with Mr. Owen Talbot, a charming man with whom Anne feels an immediate connection, notwithstanding their differing stations.
But despite their growing esteem for one another, the couple faces an insurmountable problem: Lady Catherine has set her sights on a rich, well-connected man for her daughter, and Mr. Talbot is simply too common. With their love in jeopardy, the couple soon faces far graver problems. There has been a murder in Brighton, and Anne is innocently drawn into an amateur investigation that ultimately traces its roots to her own family. With a frightening foreshadowing regarding the de Bourghs, Anne begins to question whom she can truly trust.
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