Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Letters from Pemberley (and sequel) by Jane Dawkins

Some time ago I finished reading Letters from Pemberley and More Letters from Pemberley by Jane Dawkins, and am finally getting around to writing about it. The thought of writing a summary for the book like I usually do sounded tiresome, I must admit, and I don't think this book really requires that anyways--so I've decided I'm just going to act more like I'm telling a friend about what I've been reading. (That's just more fun than trying to be formal. This is blogging, after all, not writing for a magazine.)

Letters from Pemberley is a continuation of Pride and Prejudice written in epistolary form; that is, it's all letters from Elizabeth to Jane. It lasts for the whole of 1813 (assuming Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy's wedding to have been in late 1812). Elizabeth tells about her experiences as the new mistress of Pemberley, recounting nerve-wracking parties where she meets Mr. Darcy's acquaintance, her occasional fear of inadequacy, her relationship with Georgiana... it's sort of less plot-ish and more just day-by-day real life, which I rather liked. It was lighthearted and remained faithful to Jane Austen's characters. Of course, nothing is as good as Pride and Prejudice itself, but let's just say I didn't get mad at this author and throw the book across the room. (I wouldn't have done that, anyways. I am very careful with library books.)

Overall, I found it quite delightful, and I would recommend it to someone who wants to read a P&P sequel. It's also rather short. Which, sad, slow reader than I am, pleases me. I like Mr. Darcy in it, but his portrayal isn't quite the thing--but nobody could write about him like Jane Austen could so wonderfully yet subtly do (quite subtle so that only some people will understand him, haha...) but it's better than, say, Mr. Darcy's Diary. Which didn't particularly impress me.

One of my favorite things about this book was the sort of secret references to other Jane Austen characters. You will find people just like Jane Austen characters (Anne Elliot, Lady Russel and Mrs. Elton are a few examples) but with different names, and it's fun to catch them. My favorites were Emma and Mr. Knightley. One night when I was reading the book, I suddenly figured out the meaning behind the last name, which is Daley. (Get it? Knightley, Daley? Night, day?) Also, the Daleys live at Weldon Abbey, which is Don-well switched around. I will say no more because I do not wish to give away any more secrets. *wink*

Anyways, I liked it so well that I decided to read the sequel, More Letters from Pemberley. This one, in short, I didn't like as well. It was rather darker (which, you must understand, is P&P sacrilege) and just didn't hold my interest as much. While the no-plot thing worked well for the first year, More Letters was from 1814-1819, and I found it a bit tiresome. I did finish it, but... eh. I didn't really dislike it, but I didn't like it, either. I rather expected more from it. However, if you really like Letters from Pemberley, you might like to give it a try.

4 comments:

Elizabeth said...

There are so many sequels to Jane Austen's P&P that I am often hesitant to read them because I am afraid they will completely ruin the characters. I am glad to see your recommendation, and will look for it.
~Elizabeth

Charity U said...

Going on my to-reads! :)

Miss Dashwood said...

I should definitely like to read this-- and the part about not throwing library books across the room MMG. :D
Knightley, Daley... heehee. I remembah you mentioning this fifty million e-mails ago... which reminds me that I should e-mail you now and let you know I'm back... which you have by now guessed anyway... which means I should stop typing.
Fare thee well.

♬ Jemimah ♬ said...

These two books are SO good! I love the way that Jane Dawkins has kept the characters JUST as they were in Jane Austen's book. And she writes so much like Jane Austen herself. They are such a good read, when I read them I could not put them down.

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