publisher: Faber & Faber
THEY WANTED DANCING AND MERRIMENT.
THEY GOT MURDER.
The year is 1803, Darcy and Elizabeth have been married six years, and the orderly world of Pemberley seems unassailable. But all this is threatened when, on the eve of the annual ball, a chaise appears, rocking down the path from Pemberley’s wild woodland. As it pulls up, Lydia Wickham – Elizabeth’s younger, unreliable sister – stumbles out screaming that her husband has been murdered.
In (Very) Short:
+ wonderful continuation of Darcy’s and Elisabeth’s story
+ understandable without previous knowledge of Pride and Prejudice
+ exiting, traditional detective story
+ writing is beautiful, eloquent, and fluid
I personally really enjoy reading Jane Austen novels and I have to admit that Pride and Prejudice is one of my favorite novels. Yes, maybe because I like the film version with Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen. I know, I know the one with Colin Firth is much better. Well, I don’t think so and I digress.
The book is set six years after Elizabeth and Darcy married and are settled in Pemberley. After a brief summary of the past years the preparations for the annual ball at Pemberley take place. On the evening previous to the ball the Darcys, the Bingleys and some friends are ready to retire for the night when a carriage races up the road towards the house.
Elizabeth’s sister Lydia Wickham stumbles hysterically screaming from the carriage and claims that her husband is murdered. He and a friend left the carriage in the woodlands of the estate and shots were heard.
Wickham and his friend are found and Wickham is arrested for murder. Being thrown in the midst of this horrid business Darcy has to help free his brother by marriage as well as deal with the resentment felt towards Wickham.
The story is a wonderful version of the traditional detective story that lives without many gruesome and bloody details, but through the trust and mistrust felt by Darcy and his family.
He is torn between avoiding scandal and desire to save an innocent man from the noose and his mistrust and animosity he feels towards Wickham and their shared past.
The narrative is fluent and effortless and continues Jane Austen’s story successfully. The language is beautiful and eloquent and smoothly carries on Austen heritage.
The characters are as vivid and loveable as the original ones and the readers sees and experiences the familiarity that James has with those characters.
It is obvious that James is an Austen fan and this book her personal fan letter to the author.
I personally enjoy reading Austen and I was really looking forward to P.D. James book. She did a superb job and wrote so beautifully and wonderfully as if she has known and created the characters herself. I have to admit that I enjoyed her writing even more than Austen’s. It is a successful sequel to Austen’s famous novel Pride and Prejudice and an absolute delight to read.