Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Review: Pemberley Ranch

Pemberley Ranch by Jack Caldwell

Publication Date: December 2010
Publisher: Sourcebooks Inc.
Genre: Jane Austen Fiction
ISBN-13: 9781402241284

(Received for review from Sourcebooks)

Purchase: Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, Borders, IndieBound

If you live in Morehead, KY or the surrounding area:

Purchase from our local independent bookseller: CoffeeTree Books
Borrow from our local library: The Rowan Country Public Library

Jack Caldwell on the Web: Blog, Website, Twitter, Facebook

Excerpt from Pemberley Ranch

Book Trailer: This is a trailer created by Jack Caldwell honoring the women who have portrayed characters from Austen classics over the years.

Synopsis (Book Blurb):

Frankly, Mr. Darcy, I don't give a damn...

In the ANTEBELLUM PERIOD after the Civil War finally ends, fervent Union supporter Beth Bennet recluctantly 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 DeBourgh, owns the other half.

In a town as small as Rosings, Beth and Will can't help but run into each other, and their undeniable attraction grows, but their pride and their prejudice conspire to keep them apart.

Then nefarious carpetbagger George Whitehead attempts a land grab, and Will and Beth are the only ones who can save the town. But they'll have to let go of their differences first...


"... Pride and Prejudice meets Gone With the Wind..." Jack Caldwell's debut novel is Jane Austen fiction with a twist. Pemberley Ranch is set in post-Civil War Texas, giving the reader all the pride and decorum of the Regency Gentleman in the form or the American Cowboy. It's quite a combination! Caldwell has a refreshing take on a classic that will leave readers wanting more Austen variations with western influences.

Beth Bennet travels with her family from Meryton, Ohio to Rosings, Texas and there she meets the devil-may-care, Will Darcy. Will is a Confederate soldier returning to his home, a cattle spread called Pemberley Ranch. Will's arrogant demeanor turns Beth off from the start, but she soon learns there is more than meets the eye to Will Darcy. Darcy finds himself in love with Beth and trying to prove what kind of man he really is. It takes the entrance of George Whitehead to finally sway Beth's opinion. Whitehead is determined to insert himself into the Bennet family but Darcy and Dr. Bingley know his true character. It's up to Beth and Will to save Rosings when George Whitehead tries to take the town for all it's worth.

I have read and reviewed several Jane Austen variations, sequels, and prequels, but this is the first one set in the old west. I have always thought of myself as more of an Austen purist, preferring the variations to be minimal and expecting the story to flow in a similar manner to the original, but I was pleasantly surprised by Pemberley Ranch. I was fully prepared to dislike the changes that Jack Caldwell had made to my beloved Pride and Prejudice, but it certainly didn't turn out that way.

I really enjoyed this book and believe it is probably my favorite variation so far. The western influences only enhance the story and give the reader a totally different perspective. Of course, this may be in part because this variation is written by a man. Let's face it ladies, men don't think the way we do and this book clearly shows that. Caldwell has taken the stuffiness of Regency England out of the story and allows Austen's characters to relax a bit and let down their hair. Darcy gets very intoxicated after Beth refuses his proposal. Who would have thought, that Fitzwilliam Darcy would do such a thing and Beth Bennet is less of a book worm and more of a tom-boy in this book than Elizabeth Bennet would ever be.

This book has all of our favorite supporting characters from Charles Bingley who is now a doctor, to some of Austen's beloved characters from other novels, including Henry Tilney from Northanger Abbey who is now the local preacher. Caldwell lacks a little of Austen's quick fire wit but he makes up for it with great character development and a very refreshing take on this classic. I really enjoyed the way the author gave Austen's characters new life and purpose. I recommend this one to those who are considering Austen variations for the first time and to the tried and true Austen fans who want something a little different.

Don't forget to check out the great giveaway I am having for two copies of Pemberley Ranch!

Pemberley Ranch is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 5 out of 5 apples from my book bag! My favorite Austen variation by a long mile!

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 the Milwaukee, Wisconsin area.