Friday, May 24, 2013

Death Comes to Pemberly

My first literary love was Mr. Darcy from Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice", so when I saw this book on the shelf of my local bookstore I was intrigued by the premise that it would combine two loves of mine: murder and Jane Austen.

The book starts about six years after the end of "Pride and Prejudice" with Elizabeth and Darcy  getting ready for the Lady Anne's Ball. However, the night before, an out-of-control carriage carrying a hysterical Lydia plunges them into a scandalous murder mystery that exposes some secrets the estate of Pemberly had been trying to keep for many years.

All of the characters from Jane Austen's novel are present and well represented making it easy to picture them, but I had a difficult time losing myself in the story. For the first part of the book I was expecting the elegant writing style of Austen that would enrapture you the whole way through. What I found was that the prose was similar, but I was painfully aware that it was not Austen who had written the book and it took me a very long time to become invested in the storyline.

About halfway through the novel I had to look at the book for what it was, a mystery set at Pemberly with all my beloved characters from "Pride and Prejudice". After I did this, I found that the book was rather enjoyable, but seemed to be a slow read due to all the historical setting description given by James. If a third of that had been cut out, I believe that it would have been a much faster read.

As an aspiring writer, I feel that the last fifty or so pages are a great example of how skilled a writer PD James really is. It was full of intrigue, suspense, and gave a clear picture of what she was trying to write. Because of my love of Jane Austen, I think that the odds were already against James in my mind, for who could ever come close to writing like Austen? Keeping that in mind, I will definitely need to read another novel written by James in the future because I do think that she is a very interesting and thoughtful writer.

Rating: 3 Stars out of five for Jane Austen enthusiast like myself

Book was purchased by myself at a local bookstore; I was not asked to review this book.


  1. Did you hear the BBC are making an adaption of this book? I haven't read it yet but I recently read Austenland by Shannon Hale which was a cute homage to all things Jane Austen

    Shelleyrae @ Book'd Out

    1. I had not heard that the BBC was going to be adapting this book. It would be interesting to watch once it is completed. Maybe they can talk Colin Firth into reprising his role of Mr. Darcy once again. That would be most wonderful!

      I haven't heard of "Austenland" but will check it out now, especially after reading your review on it. Typically, I am not a romance genre fan, but I do like some of the classical literature like Austen. If you want to check out another Jane Austen novel, I would suggest "Mansfield Park" or "Fanny Price". If you read them you will have to let me know what you think :)

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