Pride and Prejudice Villains Revisited – Redeemed – Reimagined is a collection of six Pride and Prejudice variations, all attempting to show how some of Jane Austen’s most vilified characters could actually be good at heart, or at least redeemed. This collection includes five selections which have been previously released alone and one short bonus story.
Mr. Collins’ Deception
Jane Austen tells us that Mr. Collins was a man of ‘great humility of manner,’ but suppose that isn’t true. What if Mr. Collins is a very different person than he appears to be? His false portrayal of himself is all part of Mr. Collins’ Deception. Originally released on May 3rd, 2015 and is approximately 16,000 words.
Caroline and the Footman
This variation explores the possibility that Caroline Bingley’s behavior is motivated by goals other than a desire to attract Darcy. In an effort to shatter the Caroline Bingley villain motif, this Caroline is not stupid, greedy or villainous, but rather someone with her own life and dreams. Originally released on January 13th, 2015 and is approximately 10,000 words.
Lady Catherine Regrets
Lady Catherine de Bourgh cannot understand what her nephew, Mr. Darcy, sees in the low born, impertinent Miss Elizabeth Bennet, and with Darcy married, what is to become of her daughter Anne? Lady Catherine’s quest to find her daughter a husband might just lead to a better life not only for Anne, but for herself. Originally released on December 12th, 2015 and is approximately 9,000 words.
Mrs. Bennet’s Triumph
When Mr. Bennet is killed in an accident, Mr. and Mrs. Collins immediately take possession of Longbourn. While tragic, the death of her husband doesn’t absolve Mrs. Bennet of the now even more pressing responsibility to marry off five daughters. Join her in her struggle and, ultimately, her triumph. Originally released on August 5th, 2014 as a bonus short story at the end of The Second Mrs. Darcy, and available on www.renatamcmann.com, this short story is approximately 3,800 words.
In Pride and Prejudice it is difficult to imagine a woman who would both meet Mr. Darcy’s requirements to take charge of Georgiana, and who would trust Mr. Wickham. Though this Mrs. Younge conceals some of her past from Mr. Darcy, she neither conspires with Wickham nor is fooled by him. Originally released on August 27th, 2015 and is approximately 40,000 words.
Yes, George Wickham is a reprehensible young man, but will he stay that way? Pride and Prejudice leaves him in very different circumstances than when he is first introduced. With his whole life before him, will Mr. Wickham ever become an honorable man? Wickham’s Journal can only be found in Villains Redeemed and is quite short, approximately 3,900 words.
“This is a really clever book. Most of these 6 stories are available separately, but it’s appropriate for them to be grouped in one collection because they are the LEAST-loved characters in Pride and Prejudice: Mr. Collins, Caroline Bingley, Lady Catherine, Mrs. Bennet, Mrs. Younge, and Mr. Wickham (and included in his story is Lydia Wickham, nee Bennet). Renata McMann, along with Summer Hanford, finds ways to redeem these characters in very creative and courageous ways.
What most of these also have in common is very interesting perspectives on Darcy and Elizabeth. Obviously, there’s no love lost. But when you see them from the point of view of the majority of these characters (especially Mr. Collins and Mrs. Younge), ODC is NOT particularly likeable for good reasons.
In the cases of Mr. Collins and Miss Bingley, there is a major similarity in that both are pretending to be someone they’re not. I had read both of these stories when they were released separately, and this was my third time reading Mr. Collins’ Deception, which has become my favorite P&P short story. For both Miss Bingley and Mr. Collins, Ms. McMann provides credible motivation for them to put on these insufferable personalities. I admit that I find it hard to believe that either could maintain the facade so successfully for such a long period of time, but it was a fun possibility to explore.
Poor Lady Catherine. She’s such a *itch and clueless that anyone would perceive her that way. But what struck me the most in her story was actually Anne’s character. I have read adaptations where Anne is actually secretly astute and disapproving of her mother, I have read others where she’s just a quieter version of her mother, and others where she’s too ill to be able to participate much in the world, but I think Ms. McMann is onto something here: Anne is disturbingly pliant and submissive. She has never been allowed to think for herself, and so she doesn’t. There is a major turning point when Lady C. first accepts that Darcy is NOT going to marry Anne and consequently recognizes that something is wrong with her daughter. Great storyline, and very interesting resolution at the very end.
Mrs. Younge here is completely misunderstood, mostly by Darcy. Her tale goes back to Ramsgate, through Darcy’s search for Wickham and Lydia, and beyond. I love how the author surrounds her with believable circumstances that make her appear to be conspiring with Wickham when the opposite is actually true. The “payment” she requires from Darcy for her help is just perfect! Her relationship with Mr. Thompson (a new character) is nicely done, too.
Wickham’s storyline is a poignant one. He has just died, and Lydia is reading his journal. The revelations shock her. By the end of this one, I must admit, I felt a little misty over Mr. Wickham’s demise.
Of all these stories, Mrs. Bennet’s Triumph is the one that strays farthest from canon yet leaves the titular character virtually unchanged. Mr. Bennet has died, which occurs after Elizabeth returns from Hunsford and Jane returns from London. Mrs. Bennet and ALL her daughters are now living in Meryton with the Phillips. She’s still scheming to get her daughters married, but will she succeed? I guess the story’s title gives away the answer to that one!
I’ve always enjoyed Ms. McMann’s books, and she really proves her mastery in the art of the short story in this group of very satisfying tales.” – Debbie B.
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