Title: Pemberley Ranch
Author: Sourcebooks Landmarks
Format: Trade Paperback
Release Date: December, 2010
How I read it? Trade Paperback ARC
Rating: 5 Crowns A ROYAL READ
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…
(from the publisher)
I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed Pemberley Ranch. Author Jack Caldwell offers Pride & Prejudice up in a fresh new prospective that immediately engages the reader. When I first heard talk of a novel that intertwined Pride & Prejudice and Gone With the Wind, I was apprehensive yet eager to read a work such as this. In the I was worried that the characters would lose that special something that Jane Austen provided, but once I picked up Pemberley Ranch, I found that I could not put this book down. The characters are in essence the same characters they have simply been transplanted to post-Civil War America. The core of the story still remained the same, only now Elizabeth and Darcy have to face the North/South problem rather than Regency Class division.
A true gem of historical romance. One that I believe will attract a broad spectrum of readers.
First off Royal Reviews would like to thank Mr. Caldwell for this lovely guest post.
PRIDE & PREJUDICE AND THE CIVIL WAR? WHERE DID THAT COME FROM?
Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice is a classic for many reasons. One can talk about her style of writing, her turn of phrase. She is beloved for her immortal yet real characters-not only the spirited Elizabeth and honorably reserved Darcy, but the delightfully comic Mr. Collins, Mrs. Bennet, and even Lady Catherine de Bough (she really is ridiculous). Austen is funny and dramatic at the same time.
I want to talk about the famous plot, so amply described in the title of the work.
There are themes of class and misunderstanding in Pride & Prejudice that are immortal. Consider Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing and As You Like It. Boy meets girl, but preconceived notations lead to misunderstandings that keep them apart. They must overcome these obstacles to find happiness, and in the process, grow as human beings. In Austen’s novel, the impediments stem from the class structure in Regency England. Elizabeth is from the lowest caste of the aristocracy, while Darcy, though untitled, is a representation of the First Circles of society. That is a lot to overcome-Elizabeth’s declaration that “he is a gentleman; I am a gentleman’s daughter: so far we are equal” is just barley true. Lady Catherine is right-Elizabeth’s connections are terrible. But Elizabeth is fortunate to fall in love with a rich man that disdains society. Once she sets aside her prejudices, and Darcy sets aside his pride, all ends happily.
So, why did I transport this story thousands of miles and over sixty years in the future to 1870’s Reconstruction Texas in Pemberley Ranch?
I am a native of the state of Louisiana, born and bred in the swamps, who has always had an interest in history and genealogy. I learned that I had family who fought on both sides of the US Civil War. This was brought home to me in a very personal way: On a visit to the Vicksburg Battlefield, I stood at the very spot where troops from Louisiana withstood assaults from Union forces under the command of General Sherman. I am related to Sherman, and I had ancestors that fought in the very Louisiana regiments he attacked. That dichotomy left a mark on me.
This affected how I look at my country, particularly when I consider the nations my ancestors came from. England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Germany, Sweden. All great places to visit with fascinating history. And yet……………
European history is filled with wars and conflict. People living only miles apart knew nothing of each other because they spoke a different language. Grudges carried on for centuries. Even today people remember everything. Countries are breaking up because of language and culture and history, some peacefully (Czechoslovakia in 1993 and Belgium any time now) and some not (Yugoslavia in 1991).
It is said that America has no history. That might be true. But it is also true that other nation might be captive of their history.
Let me explain. The family of my wife, Barbara, is German/Polish from Wisconsin. As I said, I’m from Louisiana. It occurred to me that in many nations of the world, I should hate my wife’s family because of the Civil War. But I do not, and it would be considered ridiculous in this country if I did. In comparison to the rest of the world, America has generally “gotten over” the Civil War.
This brings me back to Pemberley Ranch. I wanted to tell the story of Reconstruction in the South after the Civil War, much like Margaret Mitchell did in her masterpiece, Gone With the Wind. It occurred to me I could come up with Pride & Prejudice on steroids-make Elizabeth (Beth) an Yankee and Darcy (Will) a Confederate veteran. And let’s kick it up another notch: Have Beth’s only brother a casualty of the war. She would hate Southerners, right? Meanwhile, Yankee carpetbaggers are busy stealing land from the locals. Will could have a problem with that. How does our couple overcome those obstacles?
Really, it is the story of post-Civil War America. Because we did overcome all that.
Just how Beth and Will overcame all that-well, you’ll just have to read Pemberley Ranch.
It takes a real man to write historical romance, so let me tell you a story.
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 Minnesota. For more information, please visit http://webpages.charter.net/jvcla25/. Also check out Austen Authors where he regularly contributes.
I have two copies thanks to Sourcebooks to giveaway on December 27, 2010
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