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How does "happily ever after" really work?
With such different personalities, Darcy and Elizabeth surely need to work on their communication skills! Unlike J...
How does "happily ever after" really work?
With such different personalities, Darcy and Elizabeth surely need to work on their communication skills! Unlike Jane and Bingley, both of whom are easygoing and friendly, the Darcys are definitely a case where opposites attract.
Through their dramatic courtship, Lizzy finally saw through Darcy's rigid pride and sense of duty, and Darcy fell in love with Lizzy's sunny optimism and independence of spirit. Now that they're married, what will happen when their fundamentally different personalities reassert themselves? Uncover the true feelings of one of the world's most famous couples during their first year of marriage.
PRAISE FOR PEMBERLEY MANOR:
"A talented writer with a wonderful feel for Regency."
Mary Bracho, Loft Literary Center
"An absorbing read from the very first page."
Alison Aldridge, BBC Worldwide
"One to treasure. What a sumptuous book!"
Jane Odiwe, author of Lydia Bennet's Story
The morning that Jane and Elizabeth Bennet married Charles Bingley and Fitzwilliam Darcy might be seen by some as the end of a story of faltering and reviving passions, a tale of petty prides and...
The morning that Jane and Elizabeth Bennet married Charles Bingley and Fitzwilliam Darcy might be seen by some as the end of a story of faltering and reviving passions, a tale of petty prides and prejudices solved and resolved into a loving state of eternal bliss for all. As for the eldest sister Jane and her Mr Bingley, this was almost certain to be the case, as it was evident that their kindly hearts and mutual affection rather assured them a calm and contented domestic life with a household ordered and cheerful by any standard. Mr Bingley's social standing and fortune exceeded even Mrs Bennet's hope for her eldest daughter, and his character was such that he considered himself honoured to be loved by such a beautiful and agreeable woman as Jane. To the opinions of somethat he had married beneath himMr Bingley appeared oblivious. Jane likewise felt herself the most fortunate of women, and she bore herself with a charming modesty that disarmed all but the most mean-spirited among those assembled. The only want that the Bingleys might be feared to suffer was the liveliness that occasional disagreement may supply in a marriage.
Of the second couple, a vast deal more must be said, and indeed, in Meryton that morning, a vast deal more was being said. That they were a beautiful couple could not be gainsaid, for their dark curls and comely good looks complemented an elegant bearing. Mr Fitzwilliam Darcy, however, had long since acquired the unfortunate reputation in that town of being an arrogant man with little inclination towards social delicacy; his kinder, gentler side, so recently uncovered by Miss Elizabeth Bennet, had heretofore been well disguised.
If Jane was generally considered the most beautiful of the five Bennet sisters, it was only that her sweet, complacent nature augmented a lovely but rather conventional beauty. Elizabeth was far the more interesting to lively minds. Alas for her, Meryton had more than its share of lively tongues, but a paucity of lively minds.
That her early encounters with Fitzwilliam Darcy had stirred her to anger rather than admiration was not forgotten. It is widely recognized, however, that passionate anger and passionate love are often found to run hand in hand, and Elizabeth Bennet, aided by a most extraordinary improvement in Mr Darcy's manners, had soon awakened to an earnest adoration of him that rivalled his love for her.
For the guests who wearied of the topic of the Bennet sisters, a slightly more malicious diversion offered itself in the forms of Charles Bingley's sisters: Miss Caroline Bingley and Mrs Louisa Hurst. They were admired, to be sure, as their wedding finery reflected all of the benefits that superior birth and prodigious wealth may bring to a lady's wardrobe. It required only a passing glance to understand that these conceited women found nothing to their taste in Meryton.
And while some observers argued that their vanity befitted their rank, it is well known that in general, country ladies do not care to be found wanting in matters of dress or manners.
Miss Bingley and Mrs Hurst were engaged in their own ruminations, which had very little reference to the opinions of those around them. As the sound of Mrs Bennet's prattling reached into the crowded church, Miss Bingley seethed, rolling her eyes.
'It is more than I can bear to be allied to that woman,' she muttered. Louisa concurred, but being slightly more prudent than her sister, laid a warning hand on her arm.
Miss Bingley was not entirely unreasonable in her censure, for Mrs Bennet was indeed a rather silly woman and, with the exception of Jane and Elizabeth, her daughters bore testimony to a careless and frivolous upbringing, benefiting little from their father's kindly good sense. As she fluttered under the good wishes of her neighbours, she whispered much too loudly, 'Oh, Mr Bennet! I knew that Jane's beauty could not be for nothing. Think of it! Who could have imagined a year ago that our daughters should marry so well?'
Mrs Bennet must be given credit for her diligence in the pursuit of Mr Bingley for Jane, but she found Mr Darcy so formidable that she scarcely dared utter his name.
Nonetheless, she found comfort in the fact that she was relieved of the difficult chore of finding a husband for Elizabeth, a daughter who often vexed and baffled her, and she was, in the end, prepared to celebrate both marriages.
Mr Bennet, as he paced about the narthex waiting for the brides to appear, was so engrossed in his own contemplation that he scarcely heard his wife's nervous chatter. He confided to his sister-in-law, an eminently more sensible and intelligent woman than his wife, 'I am worried about our Lizzy, Mrs Gardiner, that she is not totally sensible of the difficulty of a temperament such as Mr Darcy's. Although she has assured me that he is a kind and good man, I confess I see only his pride. And she has not the easy nature of her sister Jane to allow her to overlook the faults of others.'
Mrs Gardiner smiled complacently and patted his arm. 'Lizzy has undoubtedly chosen the more difficult path of the two, but I daresay, knowing her energetic spirit, that she is equal to the task. My acquaintance with Mr Darcy leads me to hope that he only wants a bit of levity to make him an excellent husband, and who better than Lizzy to supply that deficit?' Mr Bennet nodded thoughtfully and hoped that she was right.
The Bingleys have a well-suited marriage of peace and harmony. Charles is easy-going and pleasant. His wife, Jane, continues to be the epitome of sainthood in her disposition. The only real problem that exists is the barely veiled hostility of his sisters, Caroline and Louisa, toward Janes inferior birth. However, that is a problem they are more than willing and able to ignore.
The real problems are with the Darcys. Fitzwilliam is battling the past ghosts of his parents tumultuous relationship and Elizabeth with her ever present optimism is willing to aid him in the fight. The reappearance of two people from his parents past causes Mr and Mrs. Darcy to face the truth and hopefully have enough courage for the future.
Pemberley Manor is a well written piece of literature. What I loved about this book is it answered a lot of questions and filled in the gaps left in Pride and Prejudice. Ms. Nelson has really written something special here. She captures the same spirit of Jane Austens book. The language, characters, and the story plot are all reminiscent of the prior book. As an English teacher I would recommend this book to be read in addition to Pride and Prejudice. Most of the time sequels are bad, but this story tells of how a couple who love each other fight the demons of the past and dare to hope for a future.
This was my first time reading a Pride & Prejudice sequel. P&P is one of my favorite novels and in my opinion, its the perfect love story. So when I began reading this book, I didnt know what to expect. Being a Jane Austen fan, ive been kind of wary of those many Pride & Prejudice sequels/spin offs out there. I kind of think P&P does not need a sequel, Elizabeth & Darcy lived happily ever after, Jane Austen never felt like writing a second book to it, so whats the point of a sequel? Having said all that, I was curious to read Pemberley Manor and figured id give it a try. Live a little, right?
I really enjoyed reading Pemberley Manor . One of the reasons why I liked this book is because Kathryn L. Nelson stays true to Austens characters while inserting a few new characters into the storyline.
The book begins with Elizabeths and Darcy and Jane and Bingleys double wedding. Bingleys sister, Caroline, is present and jealous of Lizzy and Darcy as always. All the P&P main characters are there too, such as Elizabeths parents and sisters. The story goes on to Darcy & Lizzies married life. I was hoping there would be no sex scenes between the two, I think it would be obscene to write such a scene. And thank fully, there were no explicit love scenes between these two characters. But when Darcy finally kisses Lizzy, he does it feverishly, and grabs her. Elizabeths reaction is to be terrified and cry. So of course, Darcy feels awful and runs out of the room. Now, I wouldnt think that would have happened between these two. Id like to think Lizzy, as saucy and smart as Austen wrote her, would have loved Darcy to kiss her so passionately.
Before you know it, these two make up and begin thier lives together as husband and wife living at Pemberly. As the story goes on, Lizzy learns about Darcys past, mostly about his parents. Turns out he has personal demons that he is dealing with, and that he hopes to overcome. Little by little, he shares the details of his past with his wife. And a visitor arrives, straight out of Darcys troubled past, to stir up long ago buried emotions and anger.
Some of the passages that really stood out and seemed to fit seamlessly into what I would expect from Jane Austens characters were:
Caroline Bingleys rage at the engagement of Fitzwilliam Darcy to Elizabeth Bennett was no trifling matter. The indignity of finding herself allied to a country simpleton with no social connections was galling enough, but the greater injury of losing her own hopes for an alliance with Mr.Darcy was sufficient to catapult her into an hysterical fury that had all but prevented her from attending the wedding.
Mr and Mrs Charles Bingley were passing a very agreeable fortnight engaged in respectful explorations of the delights of matrimony. Jane was, to be sure, a shy bride and Charles a nervous groom, and a little awkwardness marred their first days together, but they were so intent on pleasing one another in word and deed that very soon they found themselves quite easy together.
When I came to Pemberly this summer, Mrs Reynolds showed us the portrait of you in the gallery. As I listened to her praise of you as the most generous of brothers and the kindness of masters, something stirred inside me that I could not name. When we met on the green, I think I saw you for the first time with my eyes really open, and I was overcome with shame that I had so misjudged your character. What you did for Lydia merely proved to me what I should have known from my own feelings, that you were the man I loved above all men. -Lizzy speaking to Darcy
I have you to thank, Bingley, for this happy change in my fortunes. I confess I little expected to enjoy any of the charms of Meryton when I first visited you there, and with my stubborn pride I came very close to missing what has proved to be the dearest treasure of my life. I had not thought it ever possible for me to ever feel as content as I do. And although I cannot truthfully say that I have learned to enjoy the company of Mrs Bennet, I must give her respect for producing two such magnificent daughters.-Darcy speaking to Bingley
I found this to be an easy, fun read. I liked many things about this book. It was interesting to think of Darcy having that type of troubled past, and how Elizabeth, having come from a closer family, helps him overcome it and move on. I also like that Lizzy calls Darcy Will, short for Fitzwilliam. I enjoyed how the author brings Jane and Bingley into the story as well, since Lizzy and Jane are very close, you would imagine them being very much a part of each others lives. I think the author got Catherine Bingleys behavior just right as well as the other Austen characters.
As I said before, I really like the dialogue between Lizzy and Darcy, it was very much how id imagine they would act. Even the little things, like her teasing him about what he said when he first saw her at the ball, and him just kind of enjoying her humor and just rolling with it. Also how thier friends and family were surprised to see such a change for the better in Darcy.
If youre a fan of Jane Austens Pride & Prejudice, and are curious to see what ever happened after the wedding, grab a copy of Pemberley Manor and enjoy!
Author Kathryn Nelson stopped by my blog to chat, click here for that post.
Special thanks to Danielle Jackson at Sourcebooks for sending me a copy of Pemberley Manor .
I was so relieved upon commencing reading Pemberley Manor to realize quickly that Nelson “gets it.” She can write in a Regency style that does not sound forced, stilted, or altogether ridiculous, as is the case with some other writers of historical fiction. Her prose is smooth and her tone is confident, much like Austen’s. This was a great relief, as bad writing can mar even the most intriguing plot. Conversely, good writing may buoy your readers along even when they disagree with your plot choices.
Nelson knows her audience. It is not the purists who prefer not to think beyond the happily ever after. The audience for this book is open-minded readers who love Austen’s creations, but recognize that real life and real people are necessarily more complex than the world of Austen’s novels. This book is for those who think maybe Jane and Bingley are too perfect, that Darcy and Lizzy became engaged too quickly, and who wonder what might happen after the weddings. In the reserved Regency society, where emotions may not have been so easily expressed or scandals so readily discussed as they are today, two people of unequal birth attempting to have an egalitarian marriage would certainly have faced great challenges.
Nelson’s creations are based on the novel, inspired heavily by the BBC film adaptation, and also augmented by a healthy dose of reality. She explores their psyches, motivations, desires, and fears from modern perspective, but weaves her concepts neatly into the Regency time period and writing style. Purists may shudder at some of her choices, especially regarding Darcy’s darker nature. However, I think if one stops to contemplate for a minute, one sees that she has added depth, complexity, and indeed humanity, to characters that have for the most part been revered as larger (and better) than life. If Lizzy and Darcy were real flesh-and-blood people, imperfect people, living within the social and sexual confines of Regency society, what sort of problems would they face in their marriage? That is the thought experiment Nelson’s sequel invites us to embark upon. If it intrigues you, then you will enjoy this smoothly written and carefully thought-out novel.
This sequel takes us from the dual wedding, through the Darcy’s honeymoon and early months of marriage. They discover unanticipated range and depth of emotions within each other, and weather quite a number of shocks and trials that threaten to undermine their relationship. Along the way, they also confront some of the enemies who disapproved of their union, as well as less tangible demons from Darcy’s unusual childhood. If you prefer the haughty, enigmatic, and polished Darcy of the novel, you may be in for a shock. This Darcy is haunted, conflicted, and ultimately much more emotional than you may expect.
I truly enjoyed Nelson’s continuation of Lizzy. I think her strength, grace, and humor were perfectly in line with Austen’s creation. The influence of Jennifer Ehle’s performance is clear too, in Lizzy’s zest for life and laughter and her constant “bemused smile.” It is on Lizzy’s strength that much of the plot rests, and Nelson’s achievement with her makes the novel a success. Throughout this story, we have many opportunities to cheer for Lizzy, whether she is supporting her loved ones or taking down an enemy with her ample, but never malicious, wit. A carriage ride scene featuring the Mr. and Mrs. Darcy and Caroline Bingley is wonderfully done. Nelson also writes very good witty dialogue between Darcy and Lizzy, showing the intellectual dimension of their love forone another, as well as the equality between them.
Nelson fleshes out some supporting characters from the original - Caroline Bingley and Georgiana Darcy both get a lot of page time and added complexity and depth. On the other hand, Col. Fitzwilliam and the Gardiners have all but disappeared. The new supporting characters that Nelson adds do not stand out so clearly as the principals. Trevor Handley and the Alexanders are somewhat similar to, but less memorable than, some of Austen’s own creations. Thomas Hill, however leaps off the page with his fresh dialogue and was a worthwhile addition to Pemberley.
At 375+ pages, and encompassing a veritable rollercoaster of emotions for both its character and readers, I do think this work is a bit long. The suspense of the family secrets could have been rather less drawn out, and a couple of tearful scenes could have been consolidated. Overall though, I enjoyed the relatively steady pace of the novel. The much-anticipated Christmas visit toLongbourn was the only part that felt strangely rushed. The reader is told, more than shown, how well Darcy managed to get along with the Bennets. This is unfortunate, because I think Nelson could have written some great dialogue between Darcy and the Bennet women.
On the whole I enjoyed this sequel and looked forward to seeing what twists and turns Nelson would throw into the plot next. Nelson set herself up for quite a challenge, but she carries it off quite well. She has a great love for Austen’s creations and has put a good deal of thought into how to further their story. She has taken Darcy and Lizzy off their pedestals and out for a turn in the real world, and they have not suffered materially for it. In fact, I believe it we as readers who have gained.
NOTE: Sexual situations in Pemberley Manor are handled tastefully and modestly, without any graphic descriptions or awkward romance novel cliches. There is innuendo and aftermath, but actual lovemaking takes place “off-page.”
Pride and Prejudice is one of my favorite books. One of those desert island books, if I were the type of person whod want to spend my time on the island re-reading books. Usually when a book has entered my "pantheon", I stay away from copycats. They usually disappoint, and I dont like putting dings in my plaster walls. (Its an old house, and I dont like to patch plaster.) I did make one very pleasurable exception to my rule: I read Pamela Aidans Pride and Prejudice trilogy written from Darcys point of view. I thought they were excellent. So...when I was given the chance to read Pemberley Manor, I decided to take a chance. Im glad I did.
Nelson begins her novel with the marriage of Jane and Elizabeth to Charles Bingley and Fitzwilliam Darcy. Although most P&P devotees would expect Jane and Charles to go on their blissful way, they would wonder how Darcy and Elizabeth would fare. The answer is...not nearly so blissful. One of the things I always wondered was how Darcy came to be so proud. Nelsons answer to that is: his parents. She creates a whole back story involving the tempestuous marriage of Darcys mother and father. Another key player in Darcys childhood is Trevor Handley, a young man Darcy looked up to as an older brother, but who was thrown out of Pemberley under a mysterious cloud. Yet another new character, Robert Alexander from nearby Great Oaks, is introduced as the friend of Darcys father and the person who may be able to help Darcy put all the pieces together. Even the old gatekeeper, Thomas Hill, helps with his calming influence whenever an overwrought Darcy shows up at his doorstep.
Both old and new characters blend well, and Nelson is adept with her plot and the language since I felt immersed in Regency England. I did have a couple of small problems with the book. Darcy seems to cry at the drop of a hat in Pemberley Manor. He never put me in mind of a man who would do that, so his seemingly constant tears made me raise an eyebrow a time or two. His weeping may be the sign of a touch of twenty-first century sensibilities creeping into the narrative, since everyone reacted so calmly to Trevor Handleys big secret. I doubt everyone wouldve been that calm and accepting in the Regency time period.
The plot also bogs down from time to time. Parts of it were a hard slog to get through, possibly due to Nelsons attention to every detail. On the whole, however, I did find it easy to set aside my minor complaints and enjoy this book. Nelson took me back to a world and characters that I love. I found her back story very believable, the characters motivations true to Austens classic, and the setting close to perfect. All in all, an enjoyable read and a fine addition to the genre.
Id like to thank Danielle Jackson of Sourcebooks, Inc. for giving me the opportunity to read this book. Two historical fiction novels, two good reads!
When a new Pride and Prejudice sequel lands on my doorstep, I freely admit that the Austen geek in me goes into adrenalin rush. Usually after the third chapter I can see the lay of the land. Is the language reminiscent? Are the characters respectfully rendered? Is the tone appropriate? Is the storyline plausible? By the second page of Pemberley Manor: Darcy and Elizabeth, for better or for worse my hopes soared. By the end of the third chapter, I was wholly convinced that if author Kathryn Nelson could maintain her premise I was in for one of the most original, compelling, and satisfying new intrepret- ations of Lizzy and Darcy after the nuptials that I have ever had the pleasure to read. My only fear was what might happen over the next 350 pages to change my mind!
The story begins where Pride and Prejudice ends, with the double wedding of the two Bennet sisters Jane and Elizabeth to their respective fiancés Charles Bingley and Fitzwilliam Darcy at Meryton Church. We are reunited with many familiar characters from Jane Austen’s novel as the respective families assemble for the ceremony. It is a happy day for the Bennet family, but the two Bingley sisters Caroline and Louisa find their new country connections deplorably low and the whole day exhaustingly tedious. Caroline’s indignity and spite will continue to eat away at her foreshadowing trouble for her brother Charles, his new wife Jane, and the object of her true venom, the Darcy’s.
After the reception at Longbourn, the Darcy’s and the Bingley’s depart for their respective honeymoons with plans to meet up later at Pemberley. The Darcy’s stay at a coaching Inn on route to Derbyshire, and there we experience their first days together and are surprisingly introduced to Nelson’s choice of direction and tone as she skillfully reveals a side of Mr. Darcy that I have long suspected, but other sequel authors have failed to perceive. The proud and arrogant man that Elizabeth Bennet married has a troubled past, confirming for me much of his actions in the original novel and why I have never thought that their happily-ever-after could just instantly happen because they declared their love and took vows. Hold on to your bonnets! If you thought that the Bennet family was dysfunctional, then just wait until you meet the Darcy’s.
We now know what Lady Catherine de Bourgh meant when she bragged about the true Darcy spirit. There is an oppressive presence haunting Pemberley Manor. Mr. Darcy’s deceased mother Lady Anne is not the elegant, proper and gracious woman that one would suspect as the Mistress of Pemberley. A seductive beauty with a “dangerous, demanding temperament,” she is similar to her sister Lady Catherine, but emotionally unstable, “frightening and confusing her son, and emasculating her husband.” It is her influence more than his gentle father that has shaped Darcy’s adult personality. Even seventeen years after her death, his childhood memories of his mother’s tyranny and its affect on his parent’s marriage plays havoc with his present happiness. As Darcy gradually reveals his troubled past to his new bride Elizabeth, she is not only challenged with the demands of becoming the new Mistress of a grand estate, but in helping him discover the missing pieces to his parent’s story that will free him from the past and allow him to find peace and happiness in their new life together.
Nelson has taken a huge leap of faith that readers will buy into her theory that Mr. Darcy’s broody and puzzling temperament is a product of bad parenting. Even though I am very guarded over liberties taken with Austen’s original characters, her presentation and language are so plausible that I understood her direction immediately. Since Austen does not delve into Mr. Darcy’s inner-thoughts and psychological motivations, we can only guess at his true nature by his temperament and actions in the original novel. He is an enigma to many, including himself. We can find further foundation in Nelson’s theory by re-reading this passage from the end of Pride and Prejudice which reveals more about Mr. Darcy’s past life than any other.
Painful recollections will intrude, which cannot, which ought not, to be repelled. I have been a selfish being all my life, in practice, though not in principle. As a child, I was taught what was right; but I was not taught to correct my temper. I was given good principles, but left to follow them in pride and conceit. Unfortunately, an only son (for many years an only child), I was spoilt by my parents, who, though good themselves (my father particularly, all that was benevolent and amiable), allowed, encouraged, almost taught me to be selfish and overbearing to care for none beyond my own family circle, to think meanly of all the rest of the world, to wish at least to think meanly of their sense and worth compared with my own. Such I was, from eight to eight-and-twenty; and such I might still have been but for you, dearest, loveliest Elizabeth! Chapter 58
Every foible that he mentions about himself in the above passage as a failing has been learned since boyhood. Human nature being what it is, it is no stretch of my imagination to believe that just because someone says that they have been humbled and changed by love, that it actually happens. Nelson was chosen to continue the story and explain the puzzling temperament of Mr. Darcy through the back-story of his spoiled and disturbed childhood. We see Darcy as an introspective man, buoyed by the love of Elizabeth and his new marriage, but compelled to search for answers. What transpires in Pemberley Manor is his quest to understand the past with the help of his new wife, family and friends.
Even though this deep psychological subtext may sound omnipresent, there are other intriguing elements to his novel that lighten it up. The evolving relationship of Darcy and Elizabeth as newlyweds is fascinating to watch. Nelson has captured the spirited, witty and energetic Lizzy Bennet that we so admire to a T. Amazingly, as I have mentioned previously, she also understands Darcy’s personality completely. If there were ever two souls of opposite temperaments destined to be better as a team, it was Lizzy and Darcy. Their conversations run hot and cold to downright hilarious. We also see familiar characters such as Caroline Bingley evolve beyond her bitterness and spite, shy Georgina Darcy bloom and catch the heart of a new beau, Jane as angelic as ever, her husband Charles Bingley finally have a revelation, and new characters introduced that blend in and add interesting depth.
Nelson’s skill with language is respectfully reminiscent of Austen, but not mimicy. The greatest complement that I can offer her to her style is that the density of her prose slowed me down to Austen pace, as I thought about each word and appreciated her choice. The story is compelling, with a haunting mystery suggestive of du Maurier’s Rebecca, and the extended tensions and anguish of Bronte’s Jane Eyre, all combined with a historical romantic fiction. Unlike Mr. Darcy who “has no defect. He owns it himself without disguise.” Pemberley Manor does have its faults, but they are meager in the comparison to its scope. After hundreds of pages of dazzling me with her brilliant psychoanalysis of human nature with Mr. Darcy, she starts off well presenting one of the villains as Caroline Bingley, then delivers an unsatisfying thud to the resolution of her character. Though I understood exactly there she was going in showing us the dark side of Darcy, he was a bit too tearful at times for my ideal masculine English iconic romantic hero taste, and as the novel moved along, I found it becoming more modern in style and progressive in thinking on how the characters thought and reacted. When more than a ghost comes out of the closet, I was a bit taken aback by the characters 21st-century response to it.
Because Nelson was taken a risk and presented a side of Darcy and Lizzy that we have not yet explored to this depth, there will be those ready to throw a few disapproving bricks through Pemberley Manor’s elegantly glazed windows. Regardless, I found her tale charming, intelligent and engaging; uniquely one of the most thought provoking and satisfying Austen sequels that I have ever read. Happily, the ending left a possibility for a prequel. I understand the author is in the throws of writing another book. Ms. Nelson, please be advised that I am heading to Minnesota to camp out in your back yard with protest signs reading “Write for Darcy” until the new prequel is completed. What time do you serve tea?
5 out of 5 Regency Stars
Pemberley Manor follows the Darcys from where Jane Austen left off…the dual wedding of the Darcys and the Bingleys. It follows the couples through their early marriage and the trials that go with that adjustment. As Lizzy and Darcy adjust to each other, we learn more about Darcy’s past and what has made him the man he is.
I cannot tell you how much I loved this sequel to Pride and Prejudice. I love the conflicts in this novel. As much as I would love for Lizzy and Darcy to have a wonderful and peaceful marriage, I do love sequels where they have a turbulent marriage. I also loved how Nelson gave Darcy a mysterious past and mother issues. It brings Mr Darcy more into the realm of Mr Rochester but I feel it brings something new and unique. The tension she injects into Lizzy and Darcy’s relationship is palpable and can be felt throughout the novel.
Nelson’s versions of Lizzy and Darcy were completely convincing. Lizzy was just as witty and Darcy was just as broody if a little bit darker than you would expect. I found all of the new characters that Nelson brought into the story completely engaging. If I didn’t know better I would have thought they were a part of Austen’s P&P. The biggest draw to this novel is Nelson’s treatment of the main P&P characters (Georgiana, Miss Bingley,Jane, Bingley, Colonel Fitzwilliam). Georgiana was my favorite. She was a completely well-rounded character. She loses her shyness to an extent and becomes a woman in her own right. Nelson added many facets to her character that were not present in P&P. Miss Bingley was also the scheming and diabolical character that I always thought she would be. I love the inclusion of these secondary characters in this sequel. I don’t feel right when I read a sequel without them. I also have to admit that, despite my newfound truce with the 2005 film, the fact that this novel is based on the 1995 mini-series is a huge plus.
There are few aspects of this novel that I don’t like. The only criticism I can think of, and it is really quite nitpicky and not very significant, is that Caroline Bingley’s transition from scheming evilness to contriteness was too quick. But now that I think of it, not really. The situation she found herself in would lead to a quick transition in behavior. So this really isn’t a criticism at all. I also thought the 21st century response to a 21st century issue was a bit out of place but certainly not enough to take away from my enjoyment of the novel.
I loved this sequel. I can’t wait to read more Jane Austen sequels from Kathryn L. Nelson.
If you’re looking for an Austen sequel that combines the characters’ original flaws of pride and prejudice I would highly recommend reading Pemberley Manor. Nelson spins a web of finely strung perceptions and choices. Darcy is one for angry words in the heat of the moment, swift regret, and fleet-footed in his escape to nurse his wounds. Elizabeth is also one for angry words and quick remorse. Darcy is only just learning how to express himself and gets it all wrong. Elizabeth is ready to find offense, certain he must in some way regret marrying her - after all hadn’t he in his first proposal said how inferior she was to the task of being his wife?
Meanwhile an old friend has reappeared stirring up a whole mix of bad childhood memories for Darcy… and good ones, if Darcy were to be honest. He’s worried about how his mother’s influence on him might wreck the only happiness he’s ever known and at the same time can’t reconcile himself to his father’s actions and behavior. Can the old friend and Elizabeth help Darcy unravel the past? Can Darcy let it go if they can’t?
Through it all Caroline Bingley is plotting and spilling poison amongst Darcy’s old colleagues. She wants Darcy for herself; he must surely regret by now his decision to marry that country bumpkin. Finding a co-conspirator in her older sister, Mrs. Hurst, Caroline hatches a few petty and mean spirited plans. How will they affect the Darcys?
If Caroline weren’t enough the local gentry around Derbyshire are determined to snub Mrs. Darcy because of Darcy’s previous bad and snobby behavior. Will Elizabeth’s goodness and mirth capture their attentions long enough to change their mind about her or will their determination win out in the end?
Quite an excellent book! Very engrossing. The book is chaste; there is nothing overt in the bedroom.
Rating: 4 Stars
This book was thoroughly, thoroughly engrossing from page 1! I do not know if it is a result of my deep love of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice or if it is based solely on the merits of the author. I do not think it matters. Kathryn Nelson was incredibly successful in importing the Regency era into my mind and then whisking me away into the world of the Darcy’s new marriage. The characters were true to the original and the issues they faced far from any happily-ever-after fairytale endings we might have conjured on our own.
Having said that, how is it possible that such an adoring and attentive husband exists? *sigh* I believe Mr. Darcy has become so due to his deeply humbling and rehabilitating experience that took place during his “courtship” of Elizabeth within Pride and Prejudice. It was explained even further in this tale, and I heartily approved of KN’s assessment and intuitiveness. I still wish such adoration was a reality for more wives out there!
My experience with Pride and Prejudice “sequels” is limited to Lydia Bennet’s Story by Jane Odiwe. It, too, was very well done, though not as intriguing as any story of the famous Darcy’s could possibly be. I have every P&P sequel on my TBR pile and look forward to comparing them with this one!
What I liked:
~ I heartily approve that Jane Austen imitators follow her trend of no explicit sex (of course!), but the dramatic shock that unfolded on the eve of the Darcy wedding was wholly unexpected by myself. I was glad that it actually made sense once it was explained. I was hooked.
~ Elizabeth and Fitzwilliam “Will” Darcy enjoyed many repartees together and this reader could not help but enjoy their wit as well. There was at least one instance where Will teased Lizzy in such an unexpected fashion that I didn’t figure out until almost too late that it was a joke! It was quite refreshing and heartily amusing that Mr. Darcy’s character improved so well on better acquaintance.
~ I did not realize until nearly halfway through the book how emotionally involved I had become! KN is a masterful storyteller!
What I didn’t like:
~ It took some time to become convinced that Caroline Bingley’s reformation was genuine. The events leading up to it did not seem substantial enough to elicit such a dramatic about-face. In light of her consistently abhorrent behavior, it would’ve seemed unlikely. Otherwise, this book was nearly completely flawless!
Rating: A+! I highly recommend this, even if you’re not an avid Pride and Prejudice fan!
What happens after the end of Pride and Prejudice? Will Elizabeth continue to have to deal with Darcy’s reticence and lack of emotion? What on earth could have made him the way he is? The dark secrets of Darcy’s childhood and his parents’ marriage continue to overshadow the early days of their marriage, starting with their wedding night.
The arrival of Trevor Handley, a mysterious man out of Darcy’s past, and the malicious animosity of Caroline Bingley, compound matters. Trevor had disappeared quite suddenly when Darcy was in his teens. They had been great friends, ever since Trevor had been taken in by Darcy’s parents when his father died. Darcy could never understand why Trevor had left so suddenly and had never been in touch.
The true nature of Darcy’s mother and her relationship with Trevor is hinted at, and Darcy’s mistrust of that situation clouds his relationship with Elizabeth. Darcy’s anger and resentment of his father was never settled before his death, and Darcy regrets it terribly. Finally he becomes friends with a man who was close to his father, Mr. Alexander, and this helps him come to a better understanding of his father and his torments. Caroline visits with Jane and Charles, and she decides to set into play events make the Darcys miserable, using suspicion and mistrust as her weapons. Will she succeed in driving a permanent wedge between Darcy and Elizabeth? Will Darcy ever overcome his feelings about his father and mother? Will Caroline ever be forgiven?
Nelson has created an excellent backstory for Darcy, and re-creates the feel of Jane Austen’s witty dialogue and deep characters with great success. If you love Austen, you will most certainly love this story!
Author’s Web site: http://www.KLNelson.net
Kathryn L. Nelson offers Pemberley Manor (April, Sourcebooks Landmark, ISBN 978-1-4022-1852-1), yet another take on Pride and Prejudice that reveals how Darcy and Elizabeth, now married, need to work on their communication skills.
Length: 9 in
Width: 6 in
Weight: 22.00 oz
Page Count: 400 pages