From the desk of Kimberly Denny-Ryder:
The thing I like best about novellas is that they are typically quick reads that don’t take up much time, yet offer a lot of fun in return. When I first mused reading Most Truly by Reina M. Williams, I was intrigued as it seemed to have all of these good characteristics of a novella, and was a Pride and Prejudice sequel to boot. Additionally, although this isn’t the first time I’ve read something that featured Kitty (I’ve also read Maria Grace’s Twelfth Night At Longbourn), it is always a treat to find something dedicated to the Bennet sisters who don’t steal the headlines in P&P. So, with that in mind, I set aside a short block of time and dove right in!
A Return to Pemberley
Most Truly begins with Col. Fitzwilliam having recently returned from the war, weary and happy to exchange his fellow soldiers for members of his family and friends. This is no fleeting visit though, as the Col. is in possession of a tidy sum of money for his efforts. As such he now intends to enter into a marriage and begin life anew as a civilian husband. He travels to Pemberley, where his beloved cousins Darcy, his wife Elizabeth, and his sister Georgiana reside. There he finds Kitty Bennet, who surprises him completely by catching his eye. Her charms and mannerisms make him think twice about his values and his position as a gentleman and what that entails. Kitty, meanwhile, does not want to get embroiled with military men (as she did in her past), and will not risk attracting attention from her family. She has settled into a happy new life at Pemberley, and can’t risk ruining it. However, she can’t deny her feelings for Col. Fitzwilliam, and he, in turn, has eyes only for her, bringing him at odds with the wishes of his aunt, Lady Catherine, and his parents. What will become of this tense situation? Will Kitty have her moment in the spotlight?
No Longer Lydia’s Shadow
I liked the dynamic of Kitty attempting to improve herself, and I especially liked to see the inner turmoil that she went through during this transformation. As a relatively unbridled individual in her youth, she was carefree and fanatical about redcoats. After the Wickham debacle, she sees the error of her ways and begins her quest (with Elizabeth and Georgiana’s help) to become a proper and poised lady worthy of marriage. In Most Truly we see the evidence of her new outlook on life. She’s graceful and worries about saying and doing the wrong things. She truly puts forth a great effort in showing Darcy and Elizabeth that she’s dedicated to not being that girl that was Lydia’s shadow. But when Col. Fitzwilliam shows up, she begins to waver inside. Will falling in love with him prove that she is still that carefree youth? It was this inner debate that Most Truly impressed me with.
Lack of Embellishment
On the other hand, parts of the novella could have definitely been fleshed out more, where descriptions of characters seemed to just be told to the reader instead of shown. This lack of embellishment made the work more concise, of course, but it also detracted from becoming immersed in the story. I understand that novellas are written with the intent of being short stories, as things tend to move relatively fast, but this just felt too fast. For example, Anne de Bourgh and Alfred Fitzwilliam (Col. Fitzwilliam’s youngest brother) become engaged and you’re not really sure why. You’re told that they love each other and are given one tiny morsel of a scene together and that’s it. I would have loved seeing them have a conversation with another character (or with each other) explaining how their love blossomed, or even how they had remained steadfast in their love over the years. Small things like this would have greatly enhanced my appreciation for the novel.
A Sweet Romance
In the end, if you’re able to look past the rapid story development, Williams’ Most Truly is a sweet romance with Kitty at its center. For those of you who love stories starring Austen’s supporting characters, this is definitely one for you.
4 out of 5 Stars
ADDITIONAL BOOKS IN THE SERIES
- Miss Darcy Decides : A Pride and Prejudice Novella (Love at Pemberley Book 2
- Miss Bennet Blooms: A Pride and Prejudice Novella (Love at Pemberley Book 3)
- Misunderstood: A Pride and Prejudice Novella (Love at Pemberley Book 4)
- Most Truly: A Pride and Prejudice Novella (Love at Pemberley Book 1) , by Reina M. Williams
- Rickrack Books (December 15, 2013)
- eBook & audiobook (91) pages
- ASIN: B00H07FW5E
- Genre: Austenesque, Historical Romance, Short Fiction
ADDITIONAL INFO | ADD TO GOODREADS
We received a review copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Cover image courtesy of Rickrack Books © 2013; text Kimberly Denny-Ryder © 2014, austenprose.com, an Amazon affiliate. Updated November 26, 2022.
It is always fun to read a new author, and I know that this was Williams’ debut. It’s good to see that she has the skills to craft an interesting story and I look forward to reading it. Thanks for the thoughtful review Kim. The Bennet sisters are sure getting there own spotlights lately. Next, I suspect that Maria Lucas or Col Denny will have their day.
Great review, I’ll definitely add it to my ever increasing ‘to read’ list! :)
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Thank you! Laurel Ann, it would be fun to read some Maria Lucas or Col. Denny books, though, like Louise, my to-read list is already ever-increasing too! And I’m glad to see Anna Elliot has a new book coming out! I enjoyed Georgiana Darcy’s Diary.
btw, if anyone likes audio books, Most Truly is out on Audible (and iTunes), narrated by the wonderful Kate Sample (bostonbritvoice dot com). If you’re interested in listening, please contact me (reina at reinamwilliams dot com), as I have some freebies (reviews are always appreciated!) I’d like to share with other Austenprose readers. Thanks for your blog, Laurel Ann, and Happy Easter to those who celebrate it!