Netherfield’s Duchess Duology
by Victoria Lynn
Genres: Literary Fiction, Romance, Literature and Fiction
After the death of her spouse, the Dowager Duchess of Felton takes up residence in her property, Netherfield Park. Having met the Bennets on her previous visit to the estate, Lady Fetton decides that taking an interest in Mr. Bennets older daughters will help give her some purpose and distraction from her personal grief. Arriving with her guest, Anne de Bourgh and her godson, Colonel Richard Fitzwilliam, the Duchess soon fills up her guest rooms with the Bingleys, the Hursts and Mr. Darcy and his ward and younger sibling Georgiana. Her guests, the Bennets and Mr. Collins and the newly arrived militia all combine for matchmaking, madness and matrimony in this Pride and Prejudice variation.
The fast paced conclusion to Netherfield’s Duchess takes our beloved characters from Hertfordshire to Scotland, from Derbyshire to Kent to London as our couples are forced to deal with plotting Lady Catherine and Wickham.
Book 1 Review
** Be aware, this review contains spoilers **
I enjoyed Netherfield’s Duchess Book 1 (ND1). Ms. Lynn has developed some excellent and enjoyable original characters like Lady Fetton and has breathed new life into some Pride and Prejudice characters, like Anne de Bourgh. I particularly enjoy the minor alterations to Mr. Bennet and major alterations to Mrs. Bennet.
The friendship group formed around the lessons Lady Fetton gives is a great touch. It’s wonerful to see so many young ladies building each other up rather than tearing each other down. While seemingly an oddly matched group, Ms. Lynn’s character alterations turn the gatherings of ladies — Lady Fetton, Georgiana Darcy, Anne de Bourgh, Jane Bennet, Elizabeth Bennet, Mary Bennet, and Charlotte Lucas — into some of my favorite moments. Louisa Hurst’s addition was unexpected, but I enjoy this kinder portrayal of her.
Lydia’s storyline feels like it happens too quickly, and then she disappears as though Ms. Lynn just wanted to get rid of her. I would have like to see more of Lydia as Mrs. Collins — how she handles her husband, duties, and Lady Catherine. Perhaps she’ll make an appearance in book 2.
Similarly, Darcy and Elizabeth’s love seems to spring out of nowhere. We don’t get to see much of their interactions leading to their shared esteem, so Darcy’s proposal felt too soon.
The implied pairing of Mary Bennet and Mr. Bingley is interesting. I don’t think I’ve seen this duo before.
Unfortunately, ND1 was plagued with errors. There are so many instances of typos and missing words that I have to knock off a star for it.
Overall ND1 was a fun read without much angst or drama — my favorite kind of read. I’m curious to see what book 2 will bring, especially in regards to Caroline Bingley, Lady Catherine, and Wickham.
Book 2 Review
** Be aware, this review contains spoilers **
While book 1 was heavily focused on the Duchess and Anne, Netherfield’s Duchess Book 2 (ND2) was heavily focused on Caroline Bingley, Lydia Collins, and Mary Bennet with a heavy sprinkling of Lady Catherine.
Once again, while there was certainly a lot of drama happening, neither it, nor angst, dominated the story. It was still mostly happy and upbeat. Unfortunately, once again, there were many — perhaps more — errors. There were many instances of missing words and skipped punctuation. So, I have to knock off a star for ND2 as well.
That said, I still enjoyed the story. The plans Lady Fetton, the Earl and Countess of Matlock, and the Bennet sisters and their husbands come up with are brilliant. It’s fantastic to read a version where the in-laws all get along and support each other and the extended family.
Although Lydia’s and Caroline’s personality and behavioral changes are somewhat abrupt, they are given decently good reasons for being so. However, I think their paths to “proper” young women would have been a bit more believable if they’d stumbled along the way. I don’t think anyone makes a perfect about-face in their lives without accidentally reverting to their old ways here and there out of habit.
And, while we’re on the topic of Lydia, everyone in ND2 seems to consider the idea of anyone betraying their wedding vows to be preposterous. But, it’s set in an era when having lovers was perfectly acceptable — expected, even, in marriages of convenience — as long as you were discreet. The entire family knew Lydia and Mr. Collins did not marry for love. I would expected them all to be upset about Lydia’s lack of discretion, not the act itself.
Moving on, I rather enjoyed Wickham’s comeuppance, especially since it was his own fault. But it seemed odd and unfair that Mrs. Younge got off scott free. And, now that I think of it, we never actually get a resolution to her situation. She was left under house arrest with the Cunninghams. I suppose we are to assume the family carried out the plan they had formed.
Last, but definitely not least, we have Lady Catherine. Her change is the fastest. Although, perhaps dangling grandchildren in front of her as a carrot makes her change possible. However, the family’s near-instant forgiveness of her, especially after spending the last two books dealing with her vitriol, threats, and schemes, seems unlikely. I can’t deny, though, that the scene at the end of the epilogue with “Granny Cathy” is adorable.
I, of course, greatly approve of the happily ever after Ms. Lynn favored all of the main characters with. Even Andrew, Viscount Adderly, sees the error of his ways and rejoins the family. I do wish Anne had been granted a more satisfying happy ending. But, I suppose that her independence is hugely important after her cloistered childhood and young adulthood.
Overall, this is a fun duology. I enjoyed it, and certainly powered through both parts. If simple errors don’t bother you, I definitely suggest reading Netherfield’s Duchess books 1 and 2.
About the Author
Victoria Lynn is a professional in the transportation industry and a part time author.
As a voracious reader her whole life with a penchant for period pieces, her literary background is vast.
Her first published work, Netherfield’s Duchess Book 1 is a new take on Jane Austin’s Pride and Prejudice with all the characters you know and love (and a couple of new ones) in different circumstances.
Note: These review are based on eBooks I purchased from Amazon July 15 and December 7, 2022.