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From Ashes to Heiresses: A Pride and Prejudice Variation Short Story

Narrated by: Catherine Bilson
Length: 1 hr and 18 mins
3.5 out of 5 stars (4 ratings)

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Summary

With the rest of their family gone and their home destroyed, Elizabeth and Jane are taken in by their aunt and uncle in Meryton. Concerned about the two surviving Bennet sisters' situation, Mr. Darcy and Mr. Bingley come to Hertfordshire, but not before Mr. Wickham attempts to use the situation to his advantage. From Ashes to Heiresses is a Pride and Prejudice variation short story.

©2016 Summer Hanford (P)2019 Summer Hanford

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Good story, excellent performance

Review of audiobook as performed by Catherine Bilson

We have here a short Regency-set variation of Pride and Prejudice that veers off from canon after Elizabeth Bennet has broken her return journey from Kent to stay with her Aunt and Uncle Gardiner in London. Her elder sister Jane has been resident there for several months. So, we've had Darcy's disastrous first proposal in Hunsford and both he and Bingley's sisters know that Jane has been in London without telling Bingley. Then tragedy strikes; the Bennet family home of Longbourn is razed to the ground by fire, resulting in the deaths of Jane and Elizabeth's parents, their three younger sisters and some of the staff.

This well-written short story is bookended by letters from one of the girls' uncles (Mr. Phillips) to the other (Mr. Gardiner). In the first, Mr. Phillips tries to send a warning about the fire and its consequences so that it doesn't come as a shock to the girls. Sadly, the letter arrives too late and they don't find out until their arrival back in Meryton. These opening scenes are sad and truly heart-rending; Elizabeth comes upon the ruins of her family home totally unexpectedly (the Ashes of the title) whereas Jane finds out from the Lucas family.

Bingley hears about the tragedy in a letter whilst staying with Darcy and his sister Georgiana. Of course, everyone simply has to up sticks and head off to Hertfordshire. We do spend quite a bit of time inside Darcy's head in this, never a bad thing for me. I won't give any more plot details for such a short story, save to say that we have an even more dastardly Wickham than normal. As to the the Heiresses part of the title? You'll have to find out for yourselves!

I listened to the audio version of this tale and though I hadn't heard any of Catherine Bilson's other performances, I was rather impressed and it takes quite a bit to impress this particular Picky Brit when it comes to English historical fiction performances. At just under an hour and twenty minutes running time, it fitted in perfectly to one of my commutes last week which was 40 minutes each way.

On the whole, I'd award 4.5 stars if I could; 4 for the story (Picky Brit deduction for some US language use) and 5 for the performance.

I received my copy of this audiobook in a giveaway from the authors but there was no expectation for a review. This is my honest opinion.

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Lovely sweet novella

After disaster befalls the Bennet family someone tries to turn things to their advantage.

Nicely narrated. Some problems with rustling sounds once or twice but doesn't detract really from either story or narration.

Recommended for fans of JAFF.

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  • Npbcis
  • 22-01-20

Tragedy overwhelmed by a compromise

The authors were gentle with us readers by letting us know of the tragedy before the sisters.. How the tragedy was revealed to each was exactly appropriate to their natures. Seeing your home in ashes is quite profound. Becoming an heiress before you are adjusted to reality can lead to compromise. I totally enjoyed the solution to the problem.

Having already purchased the printed word, it was a joy to hear it brought to life. The narrator was an integral part of the story . Just after the confrontation with Wickham I paused to realize how well the voices were differentiated.

I stopped the recording when I heard Catherine Bilson was the narrator. I had to know if she was the highly acclaimed Austen author. I own four of her Pride &Prejudice books.