Colonel James Fitzwilliam is home. The war has left him weary, battle-scarred—and a free man of fortune ready to find a wife. He travels to Pemberley, his second home. There he meets Kitty Bennet. Her unexpected charms soon have him questioning his familial duty and his expectations. A fight looms on the horizon when his aunt—Lady Catherine de Bourgh—and his parents arrive with their own plans for his future.
Kitty Bennet has found happiness. At Pemberley, she has improved herself and formed true friendships with her sister Lizzy and Georgiana Darcy. Kitty is captivated by the gentlemanly Colonel Fitzwilliam. But she will not be silly over a redcoat again, and she will not risk her happiness—or his family’s displeasure—for his attentions. Colonel Fitzwilliam, Darcy, Lizzy, and Georgiana have their say, and Kitty learns a new lesson—love will find you at Pemberley.
Publisher and Release Date: Amazon Digital Services, December 2013
Time and Setting: Regency England
Genre: Historical Romance
Heat Level: 1
Reviewer rating: 4 stars
Review by Maria Almaguer
I do not consider myself to be a Jane Austen purist but perhaps I am. Jane Austen is my favorite author and I re-read her works every day – a chapter before I turn out the lights every night – as well as critical analyses and scholarly studies on her work. I have no desire to read spinoffs of her novels, but I can certainly appreciate and understand how she continues to influence, inspire, and entertain over 200 years after her death; in fact, she’s the reason I read historical romance.
Pride and Prejudice is arguably Jane Austen’s most popular and famous novel and many fans cite it as their favorite. People are fascinated, charmed, and entertained by the story of the taciturn Mr. Darcy falling head over heels for the impetuous and lively Elizabeth Bennet who stands up to his imperious behavior.
In Most Truly, Reina M. Williams tells us she was inspired to write this unplanned novella of Kitty Bennet’s story after re-reading Pride and Prejudice in the 200th anniversary year of its publication, which was in 2013.
The story takes place at Pemberley, where Kitty often visits her sister and brother-in-law, Elizabeth and Darcy. Here she feels free and calm, away from her overbearing and hypochondriac mother and silent father, free to indulge in quiet reflection while at the same time, meet people and expand her social horizons.
I find a very quiet Kitty here but then again, she was quiet in comparison to her sister, Lydia, and her antics; she was a follower. Here, Kitty is free to make her own choices and govern her own behavior as well to discern what she wants from life. At the beginning of this novella, she simply wants to enjoy time with her sister and her new husband on the lovely grounds of Pemberley. She also befriends Darcy’s sweet sister, Georgiana, who plays matchmaker here.
Yet Kitty is haunted by her own past behavior and the questionable reputation that she and Lydia cultivated with their reckless actions that culminated in Lydia’s scandalous elopement. Kitty sees this time as an opportunity to reinvent herself; she is determined not to lose her mind over an officer and disappoint her family again, despite her growing attraction to Colonel Fitzwilliam.
Colonel James Fitzwilliam, Darcy’s charming cousin and Elizabeth’s brief love interest, has returned from war with aches and pains as well as weakened eyesight. He vaguely remembers hearing about Lydia and Kitty (much to Kitty’s mortification) but the Kitty he encounters is quietly lovely, sweet, and very pretty. He is attracted to her, and her demeanor, conversation, and smiles calm his restless soul. It is his duty to marry now but he wishes to marry for love, not merely to satisfy his family’s wishes.
Of course, popular secondary characters make reappearances. Mr. and Mrs. Bennet and Lady Catherine de Bourgh and her nondescript daughter, Anne, are all here. I like that Anne is a much more appealing character here (and with a sweet love interest of her very own). New characters include James’ parents and younger brother, Alfred.
There is also a lot of nice description of nature and landscape, of flowers and plants, birds, and the weather, all quietly complementing the reserved nature of this story.
This is a sweet romance although there is some nicely portrayed sexual tension between Kitty and James, especially in the drawing room scene. Lizzy, Darcy, and Georgiana all notice their attraction and quietly encourage and endorse it, but it’s all very proper and discreet. This is a very calm story with restless emotions just under the surface. It is not written in language in the style of Jane Austen – for that, I highly recommend Second Impressions by Ava Farmer – but that’s fine with me as, if it can’t be done successfully (which is very difficult), it’s best avoided.
Most Truly is a light and charming novella that impressed this Jane Austen aficionado.