Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Darcys Of Pemberley by Shannon Winslow

So I've been hearing a lot of buzz about Shannon Winslow's newest novel, Return to Longbourn (which I will review next), but I wanted to read the first story in the series before embarking on it. I purchased a copy of The Darcys of Pemberley and started cruising through the story, only to suddenly realize about a third of the way through that I had read it before, in the days before I started blogging, when I consumed such a constant stream of Austenesque that some of the stories got lost in the mix. I'm sorry to say this was one (though I have my theory why it did), for it is a sweet tale and worth reading. I enjoyed the revisit.

The book begins with Mr. Collins' death (a supplementary account of which can be read in the short story, Mr. Collins's Last Super). The Darcy's have been married long enough for Elizabeth to be confident in her role as Mrs. Darcy, although some, like Lady Catherine, have still not come to grips with the fact. Love and prosperity treats former Bennets well, and both Elizabeth and Jane are reaping the daily benefits of heir marriages. The only real bane to contend with is the Wickhams, who have a tendency to assert themselves at the most inconvenient time, and the challenges we all face in married life.

The novel provides a gratifying glimpse into what life at Pemberley must have been for the Darcys: entertaining their neighbors, guiding Georgiana into society, and relishing their mutual affection. However, conflicting forces arise that threaten the harmony of Elizabeth and Darcy's relationship. On Elizabeth side, there is Georgiana, who confides in her what she cannot repeat to Darcy, and on his side, there is Wickham, still adept at manipulating his former friend and capitalizing on his insecurities. The great tension of the novel derives from Wickham's machinations, and while effectively done, it is this that probably denied the book a distinct place in my memory. So many of the books I read at the time involved an evil Wickham threatening the security of Pemberley. That does not diminish what is unique in this version, but it did help it to blend with the other books in my mind.

It seems this review is going to be shorter than I'd like, but my thoughts keep straying to Return to Longbourn (my review of which I will post later this week), about which I'm much more enthusiastic. As previously stated, The Darcys of Pemberley is a sweet tale, providing lots of gratifying time in the Darcys' most felicitous company. It is also well-written while maintaining a solid pace, and I recommend it to those who never get enough of Pemberley (I'm one of them!), and as an introduction to the continuation, which is, unfortunately, stealing the thunder of its precursor. That seems a bit lukewarm, I know, but please trust it is due to the second book's triumph, rather than something lacking in the first.

This is my eleventh review for The Pride and Prejudice Bicentennial Celebration 2013, hosted by Austenprose. Please see my others below:
Bluebells in the Mourning by KaraLynne Mackrory  
Pride and Platypus by Vera Nazarian 
Mr. Darcy's Little Sister vs. And This Our Life by C. Allyn Pierson 
An Unlikely Missionary by Skylar Hamilton Burris 
The Disappearance of Georgiana Darcy by Regina Jeffers 
The Three Colonels by Jack Caldwell 
Pride and Prejudice (1995): Influence and Merits 
His Uncle's Favorite by Lory Lilian 
Mr. Darcy's Refuge and Mr. Darcy's Noble Connections by Abigail Reynolds
          Pirates and Prejudice by Kara Louise


  1. So glad you read (or reread) these books, Alexa! I, too, am all enthusiasm for the second book. Loved all the new characters we met in the first novel though, especially the Sanditons.

    1. Hi Meredith! This one was great, but I ADORED the second! Couldn't stop thinking of it for weeks. It would probably have been better if wrote this review before reading, as it would have resulted in a more focused discussion. I hope I haven't done it too much disservice.

  2. Thanks for the lovely review, Alexa. I'm glad you enjoyed TDOP, and I don't mind a bit that you liked RTL better! I agree with you that, of the two, it is the better book. I was a better writer by the time I wrote it. Still, there will always be something special to me about my "firstborn." I wrote TDOP because I was passionate about JA and P&P, but along the way I also fell in love with the writing itself and launched on a new career! I'm very grateful for the book's success.

    1. I completely understand, Shannon. I feel the same way about my books, and I started writing Austenesque for the exact same reasons. Each book is an improvement on the last, at least I like to think so, but that first one - the catalyst for all that followed - holds a special place in my heart. Best too you! Thanks for stopping by and for the wonderful story!

  3. I haven't yet read Winslow's books, but you've made me want to get my hands on them right now!