Today I review Letter from Ramsgate which is Suzan Lauder’s second novel, the first one was Alias Thomas Bennet and you can read my review here.
Letter from Ramsgate starts with a little background story of Mrs Isabel Younge who is now seeking a position as a governess and she is in Mr Darcy’s study. I absolutely loved the fact that Mrs Younge in some ways became a main character and we got to know her. I think Ms Lauder manages to sketch her character with talent and in spite of the fact that Isabel failed to fulfil her duty, and not only failed but she was also mean or a blackguard, I like her. I’m not sure how the author managed to achieve this. Well, maybe it was the fact that Mrs Younge helped when you didn’t expect and she helped for a reason you don’t really think is an option.
It is a bit surprising that Darcy who is always deliberate, now when it comes to a very important and responsible decision, specifically employing someone who will be responsible for his sister’s upbringing, he is also neglectful, but Ms Lauder gives a quite reasonable explanation, namely Darcy is a man and basically he is smittened with Isabel’s beauty. As unorthodox as it may sound, quite true and believable. By the way, Georgiana herself finds it extraordinary how Darcy arranged the Ramsgate trip. Anyway, Mrs Younge is employed as Georgiana’s companion and off they go to Ramsgate.
Elizabeth Bennet is in Ramsgate with the Gardiners as Lady Edwina’s (who is Mrs Gardiner’s childhood friend) guests. What is Lady E. if not a lovely, loveable character. Great addition to the story. Elizabeth and Georgiana quickly became friends and the fun part starts. 🙂 Georgiana is the link between Lizzy and Darcy. They have previous knowledge about each other from her. Even though their first impressions are good, it doesn’t mean that they will not face difficulties. And if we say Ramsgate, we have to say: Wickham as well, and we know him, so it won’t be a surprise if I say he is the major villain. Ms Lauder adds Wickhamesque events and dialogues which makes it more interesting but it does not turn into a cliché. With all the new characters and unusual events the author created, she managed to make it true (to the original) and not to get another layer off from this part of the story. It is a massive advantage in the book that some of the events which occur are not overwritten and rotund, but informative, efficient.
My favourite scene is when Anne de Bourgh, Colonel Fitzwilliam and Darcy are talking about the intended proposal. Despite the fact that Anne and Richard warned Darcy, how not to issue the proposal -it seems they understood Elizabeth more than Darcy herself- he does it exactly the worst possible way. The funny thing is, in spite of the terribly worded and delivered proposal, Elizabeth understands him more than in Pride and Prejudice and she is already in love with him, so she accepts, but for the sake of angst it doesn’t last for long… 2 and half pages to be exact. Darcy screws up everything with his arrogance, pride and conceit which was foreseeable considering the proposal. I am happy Ms Lauder wasn’t satisfied with the fact that Darcy popped up the question and Lizzy said yes.
There are quite a few letters and I would like to highlight the one which was written by Elizabeth to Fitzwilliam. (There are two, but I’m talking about the latter one.) The letter’s style is similar to Darcy’s letter which makes it more heartbreaking. As much as I couldn’t imagine how it is possible to forgive Darcy for his quick judgement, the get together scene is unique, fun and grand.
Ms Lauder writes with ease, the ideas and events she added are special, the characters old or new are fascinating and I love that the story is clean and there is no mature content for art’s or sell’s sake. I gladly recommend Letter from Ramsgate and can’t wait to read another novel from the author.