#77 A Review of Pemberley Ranch by Jack Caldwell

Cover ImagePemberley Ranch, a contemporary westernized version of Pride and Prejudice, is Jack Caldwell’s debut novel. I saw this in Barnes and Noble with the comment “It’s Pride and Prejudice meets Gone with the Wind — with that kind of romance and excitement” and was instantly struck that I had to try the novel out.  Glad I did!
The Civil War has finally ended.  Will Darcy is headed back to Rosings, Texas to his beloved Pemberley Ranch with his friend Dr. Charles Bingley.  Up north in Ohio, Beth Bennet is finding out that her father is selling their family farm to her uncles and moving the family to Rosings.  Shortly after their arrival Beth meets the haughty Will Darcy, Jane falls in love/marries Dr. Bingley, and the carpetbagger George Whitehead comes to town.  Whitehead becomes a good friend of the Bennet family much to Darcy and Bingley’s chagrin.  Whitehead has a past with the two men, having been their jailer in the prison camp that Darcy and Bingley wound up being wrongfully thrown into near the end of the Civil War.  Darcy begins discovering that Whitehead is double-crossing his cousin Cate Burroughs, the owner of the B&R Ranch.  Darcy also discovers that Beth is unlike any woman he has ever met and sees himself falling in love with her.  It’s up to him to convince her that he isn’t the haughty arrogant man she believes him to be and that Whitehead isn’t looking out for her family’s best interests either.  Pemberley Ranch is filled with murder, mayhem, gunfights, love, deceit, and all the things you’d expect from a Pride and Prejudice sequel with western influences. 

 So let me preface this by saying it was SO interesting to finally read a sequel written by a man.  (NOTHING against women when I say that) I’m so used to reading a P&P sequel written by a woman where Darcy has a huge character transformation and Elizabeth has a transformation, but not on an epic scale like Darcy.  Reading Pemberley Ranch it is Beth who has the huge character transformation. It was an interesting change to read and I think because as women we romanticize the transformation of Darcy into something bigger than is actually written.  (Maybe because the period of time in which he transforms is not written explicitly?)

Anyway, back to Pemberley Ranch! It was also refreshing to not read an overly mushy or sexual romance between Beth and Will.  The conflicts are what take center stage here; especially those between Cate Burroughs, Will Darcy, George Whitehead, and Denny’s gang.  The romance that is written however does seem more realistic and natural than other sequels I read.  Nothing is overly romanticized, it all seems natural.

Caldwell did some really interesting things with the characters that I enjoyed: Bingley was a doctor, Mr. Lucas was the town sheriff, Colonel Fitzwilliam was the head man on Darcy’s ranch, Denny was a gunslinger, and Mrs. Younge became a saloon owner.  I also was pleased to see other Austen characters make their way into the novel, with the biggest supporting part going to Reverend Henry Tilney of Northanger Abbey.

All in all the book was a lot of fun to read and as I said previously a refreshingly different point of view.  For those women who are trying to get the men in their lives to read a Pride and Prejudice sequel, I would definitely suggest trying this one.  It’s written with enough action to keep their attention. 

4 out of 5 Stars

12 thoughts on “#77 A Review of Pemberley Ranch by Jack Caldwell

  1. I am fairly certain this story wasan episode on Gun Smoke back in the late 70’s. Ms. Kitty was getting it done. Now she is 400 years old.

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  3. When I read this all I could think about was the Westward 3 music that should be playing in the background. But seriously, if this is written in a more masculine tone I might have to give it a try and see how I like it!

    • Read it, please! I am curious what a male reader thinks of the story and characters. The author is definitely male and loves history and westerns and Jane Austen, and he has strong ideas on what a man should be like.

  4. Pingback: Todd’s Review of Pemberley Ranch by Jack Caldwell « Reflections of a Book Addict

  5. Pingback: Kim’s Guest Review of Mr. Darcy Came to Dinner by Jack Caldwell | Reflections of a Book Addict

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