Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Review: The Three Colonels

The Three Colonels: Jane Austen's Fighting Men by Jack Caldwell

Publication Date: March 1, 2012
Publisher: Sourcebooks Inc.
Genre: Austen inspired fiction
Pages: Paperback, 384pp
ISBN-13: 978-1402259739
ISBN: 1402259735

(Received for an honest review from Sourcebooks Landmark)

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

Jack Caldwell on the WEB: website, facebook, twitter

Excerpt from The Three Colonels



Love reigns supreme for Colonels Buford, Fitzwilliam, and Brandon as our brave fighting men are enjoying their courtships and early married lives with three beloved Austen heroines. The couples lead tranquil loves-until Napoleon escapes from exile.

As the colonels set out to meet their destinies on the fields of Waterloo, Anne, Caroline, and Marianne defend their hearts against the fear of losing their loved ones forever.

From the serenity of Regency England to the scandal and intrigue of the Congress of Vienna, three gentleman live, love, fight, and defend their country from Napoleon's voracious ambition.


Author Jack Caldwell combines two Austen classics to create an Austen variation that will appeal to fans of historical fiction, as well as, romance. The Three Colonels features a combination of characters from Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility. Caldwell's unique ability to write compelling, endearing characters serves him well here as some of Austen's lesser known characters find their own happy-ever-after's. 

Caldwell's book follows the lives and relationships of some well known characters from Austen's masterpieces. Several of the characters that I have grown to love through Austen, get voices of their own here. Caldwell expands on characters that Austen created, but didn't do much with. One of Caldwell's strengths is in his ability to give these lesser known characters personalities and feelings. He very adeptly blends his own ideas for the characters with Austen's to bring readers emotionally satisfying heroes.

Caldwell's transformation of Caroline Bingley is among my favorite parts of the book. Readers who are familiar with Caroline from Pride and Prejudice will be surprised at the changes that Caldwell makes in her. It seems that Caroline has realized the error of her ways in this book. She is no longer the haughty, stuck up young woman who was determined to steal Mr. Darcy from Lizzy. She had turned over a new leaf and become quite a pivotal character here. I enjoyed Caldwell's portrayal of Caroline. His changes to her made her seem more authentic and realistic to the reader.

I also enjoyed reading about the transformation of Anne. Anne was always sickly and didn't really do a whole lot in Pride and Prejudice. I was glad to see her get her own story. Her mother is still overbearing and obnoxious but Anne is better equipped by Caldwell to handle her and to make her own decisions. Anne seems to bloom like a flower in both personality and in merit. She stands up to her mother and gets the man she really wants. That's a great way to end a story, but with Jack Caldwell, there is often more to the story.

The last couple is from Sense and Sensibility and I will admit I wasn't as drawn to them as I was the other two couples in this book. I'm a Pride and Prejudice fan from way back and those characters seemed to resonate more with me. Also the Brandon's were a little more settled and further along in their relationship than the the others. That first sense of love and giddiness is always fun to read about and we get that with both Caroline and Anne's stories.

Caldwell doesn't shy away from the love scenes or the fight scenes. He writes both very well. It was interesting reading about sex in a romance novel, from a man's perspective, very enlightening. I liked the fact that Caldwell tempered the love stories in this book, with a bit of action. Set during the time when Napoleon escaped from Elba and planned to take over Europe, this book is extremely well researched and accurate. Caldwell's depiction of the Battle of Waterloo was amazing. Caldwell uses historical details in such a way that readers will find themselves both entertained and educated. 

I liked this one a lot. I'm a fan of all things Austen, but Caldwell takes it to a new level with this book. His characters are flawless and his style is classy and forthright. If you are a fan of Jane Austen you can't afford to miss this one.

The Three Colonels is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 5 out of 5 apples from my book bag!


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. The Three Colonels is his second book with Sourcebooks. He lives with his wife and three sons in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin area.


Anne said...

I am excited to read this one, I am a huge Austen fan too. Thanks for the great review, I hope I get to read it soon!

catslady said...

I probably have read more but the one I know I've enjoyed is Leigh Greenwood - I just recently got Texas Pride and am looking forward to it. I too enjoy variations on P&P.