What Kitty Did Next, by Carrie Kablean – A Review

What Kitty Did Next 2018 x 200We were very pleased when a novel inspired by Jane Austen’s fourth daughter in Pride and Prejudice crossed our path. What Kitty Did Next is a continuation, as such, of one of the five Bennet sisters after the close of the classic novel, whose heroine Elizabeth receives most of the praise from her father and a marriage to Mr. Darcy of Pembeley in the end. Her younger sister Catherine on the other hand, or Kitty as she is called by her family, only earns put-downs and threats from her father after her involvement in her younger sister Lydia’s infamous elopement with Mr. Wickham. Accused of being silly and ignorant, what could Kitty do to regain her family’s trust, raise her self-esteem and make herself marriageable? From the title of the book, my expectations were high. How would Kablean turn the floundering duckling of Longbourn into a swan?

Much of the anticipation for the reader is generated by Kitty’s past behavior in Pride and Prejudice. For those who have not read the original, Kablean gives us ample background and character backstory.

Kitty, meanwhile, was just Kitty. A docile child, she had trailed after her adored eldest sisters but they, like many older siblings, had not delighted in her presence and had sent her off to play with the younger ones. Only sickness and prolonged periods of enforced rest had brought Jane, and occasionally Elizabeth, to her bedside, and when she had fully recovered her health Lydia had so far inserted herself as her mother’s favourite that it had seemed obvious that she should follow in her younger sister’s wake and share all the delights and comforts bestowed upon her. Neither commanding nor being the centre of attention, Kitty had become more adept at observing than doing and, until the events of the previous year, had not questioned this order of things. Chapter 6

Our sympathies run deep for Kitty. With three of her sisters married, she is stuck at the family home with sister Mary (no fun) her prattling mother (harpy) and a negligent father who has placed her on a very short leash in reaction to the bad conduct of a younger sister who is now out of harms way living in Newcastle. With no balls to attend or officers to flirt with life is a bore until sister Jane invites her to dine at Netherfield Park. After meeting Sir Edward Quincy, a very old gentleman (of at least forty-five) she wonders if his decided attentions to her could become her fate? A wealthy widow is a very eligible prospect that her family would approve of. Yet, what does she have to offer him beyond youth? Her sister Jane sees her dilemma and invites her to join herself and her husband Charles at their London townhouse on Brook street.

How thin is the line between happiness and despair! Yesterday, all had been bleak and monotonous; today, every bright prospect was open to her. Chapter 9

So, off to London Kitty goes – a town of diversions and prospects aplenty. Or one would hope. There, she meets Mr. Darcy’s younger sister Miss Georgiana who encourages Kitty to renew her love of music, is taught by Mr. Henry Adams a dishy young music master, is introduced to Sir Quincy’s eligible nephews Mr. Frederick Fanshawe and Mr. William Fanshawe, who are his heirs, attends music soirees, art galleries and museums, shops for frocks, and generally does all the things that fashionable young ladies do while in Town. Life is good for Kitty, yet after reading Mary Wollstonecraft’s A Vindication of the Rights of Women she craves more and begins a diary of her time in London.

Usually, at this point in a novel, there is a crisis or a challenging event for the heroine. In Pride and Prejudice it occurs about a third of the way in the narrative after the tumultuous failed first proposal by Mr. Darcy to Elizabeth resulting in anger, anxiety and exasperation for both parties. His “be not alarmed, madame.” letter to Elizabeth is an epiphany for her. Before that moment she never knew herself and is touched and humbled by his response. This important character arc does not happen in What Kitty Did Next for hundreds of pages, which leaves readers wondering where the storyline is going. There is activity. Kitty is improving herself, slowly, and we do learn more about the Fanshawes and sense that something is amiss there. Coupled with the author’s choice to use pages of telling the story and not showing, I found myself growing as impatient and restless as the heroine. When the action finally moves to Pemberley and Lydia Wickham crashes the summer ball, things finally come to a point of true crisis for our heroine. Her reputation is tarnished and she is sent home to Longbourn in disgrace.

What she did next, I will leave for the reader to discover. The first half of the novel was very gently paced. Be patient. Like our heroine Miss Kitty Bennet, debut novelist Carrie Kablean was learning and improving with every chapter. The final third of the book was pure vindication. Kitty became accomplished, worthy of our attention and praise, and so did the author.

4 out of 5 Regency Stars

What Kitty Did Next, by Carrie Kablean
RedDoor Publishing (2018)
Paperback & eBook (416) pages
ISBN: 978-1910453612

PURCHASE LINKS:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Indiebound | Goodreads

Great Jane Austen Inspired Blogs Keep Janeites Connected and a Grand Austenesque Book Giveaway!

Jane Austen is indeed everywhere on the Internet. Thanks to great blogging platforms like WordPress.com, Blogger and Typepad available today, there are numerous blogs honoring our favorite author to choose from. It seems like there is a continual stream of Jane Austen related posts in my Google Reader, far more than I can every read, but satisfying all the same.

Here is a list of some of my favorite Jane Austen blogs. My criteria was that the blog should be based on Jane Austen or her characters and have been active in the last two months. You can find a full list to links to Jane Austen blog by following this link.

Jane Austen Blogs

  1. Austen Inspired Fan Fiction by Mary Simonsen
  2. Austenacious by Miss Osborne and Mrs. Fitzpatrick
  3. AustenBlog by Magsl
  4. Austenised by Anna
  5. Austenesque Reviews by Meredith Esparza
  6. Austenonly by Julie Wakefield
  7. Austenprose by Laurel Ann
  8. Becoming Jane Austen Fansite by Icha and Rachel
  9. Fans of Jane by Natasha Zwick
  10. JaneAusten.nl by Karin
  11. Janetility by Jane Rubino and Catlen Rublino Bradway
  12. Austen Authors by Sharon Lathan and Abigail Reynolds
  13. Jane Austen’s World by Vic
  14. Austen Inspirations by Susan Jane
  15. At Pemberley by Kals
  16. First Impressions by Alexa Adams
  17. Jane Austen Addict by Bloggin BB
  18. Jane Austen Addict Blog by Laurie Viera Rigler
  19. Jane Austen em Português by Raquel
  20. Jane Austen Film Club by Jenny Allworthy
  21. Jane Austen in Vermont by Deb Barnum
  22. Jane Austen Prequels and Sequels by Sofia C.
  23. Jane Austen Sequels by Jane Odiwe
  24. Jane Austen Sequel Examiner by Kelly Yanke Deltner
  25. Jane Austen Society of Brazil Blog by Adriana Zardini
  26. Jane Austen Today by Vic
  27. My Jane Austen Book Club by Maria
  28. My Love of Jane Austen by Luthien84
  29. Pemberley Couture by Anna Kristine
  30. Sharp Elves Society by Arnie Perlstein
  31. Stitching with Jane Austen by The Sample Girl
  32. The Bennet Sisters by Jenni Duke
  33. The Jane Austen Project by Kathleen Flynn
  34. The Little White Attic by Lynnae
  35. The Secret Dreamworld of a Jane Austen Fan by Aurora

Chances are, I have overlooked someone – so my apologies in advance. Please contact me if you would like me to include your Jane Austen related blog on my list.

A Grand Austenesque Book Giveaway!

In celebration, and a thank you to all of the hardworking Jane Austen bloggers out there, I am offering a grand Austenesque book giveaway. Please leave a comment by midnight December 06, 2010 stating your top five favorite Jane Austen blogs and you will qualify to enter a drawing for one copy from the following list of ten Jane Austen inspired books available for giveaway (one copy per person, ten winners in total). Winners announced on December 07, 2010. Shipment to the US and Canadian addresses only.

Good luck! Thanks for your comments.

Cheers,

Laurel Ann

© 2007 – 2010 Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose

Some Thoughts on Julie & Julia & Jane & Blogging – in No Particular Order

Julie & Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously by Julie Powell (2009)I saw the new movie Julie & Julia this weekend and loved it. The movie follows the real life story of Julie Powell a young woman working as a drone in a government job in New York by day and cooking adventuress by night. Inspired by her favorite chef Julia Child, she embarks on attempting all 524 recipes from Julia’s cookbook Mastering the Art of French Cooking in 365 days. The task seems monumental and that is the hook. The best part, however, was that she wrote about the entire experience daily on her blog The Julie/Julia Project, and later turned her amazing experience into the bestselling book Julie & Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen. This book evolved into the movie Julie & Julia by writer/director Nora Ephron who brilliantly combined Julia Child’s own struggles becoming a chef from her book My Life in France. Each book reveals the story of two ladies adrift in life, looking for direction and passion, who both turn to cooking and find their true calling. Amy Adams and Meryl Streep portray Julie & Julia respectively with great success. Streep is particularly amazing in capturing the distinctly exuberant personality and trilling voice of one of the most famous early television personalities and cooking icons in the world. 

What touched me most about the story was the parallel lives of Julie and Julia, and how two smart, funny and ambitious ladies find their bliss by doing what they love most. This concept is by no means new to me. Following your bliss has been in the popular lexicon for years, so much so, that I have begun to resent it whenever it pops into a conversation with family and friends who want to give me advice on my life’s direction. I must confess that I have followed my bliss across hill and dale for many years with variable degrees of success and failure. In my own defense, it has been my closest friend and my recipe for happiness, though it has brought little money and no fame. To all nay sayers who do not believe in following your dreams, I will only add “Business, you know, may bring money, but friendship hardly ever does.” 

Blogging about Jane Austen is a joy, but like all great challenges it is the journey and not the end result that is the reward. Julie’s adventure in cooking, blogging and ultimately as a published author is further evidence of this philosophy. She had her daily successes and failures in the kitchen and was at several points ready to quit, but she didn’t. Jane Austen wrote and rewrote for years, submitting manuscripts that were rejected or never published before Sense and Sensibility was accepted in 1811. She chose, in an era of few opportunities for women outside of domestic life, not to marry and to write instead. She too followed her bliss. If it made her truly happy, we will most likely never know. Money was not her prime objective in writing, though it was most welcome. Julie Powell and Julia Child may not have chosen their bliss for pecuniary emolument either, but like Jane Austen it certainly brought them fame, and I hope a little happiness. 

Bon Appetite! 

Further adventures