Friday, April 4, 2014

Book Bingo: The Darcys of Pemberley

The Darcys of Pemberley by Shannon Winslow is a "sequel" to Pride and Prejudice. I picked this up last year with the intention of reading it during the Pride and Prejudice Bicentenary Challenge. The premise of the book is fairly simple: Elizabeth and Darcy have been married for almost a year, Mr. Collins has died, and Georgiana has come out as a young woman ready to marry.

(picture taken from Goodreads;
cover design by Micah D. Hansen;
original cover artwork by Sharon M. Johnson)

First Impression: I'm a bit bored. So far, Mr. Collins died, Georgiana is conflicted in love, and Elizabeth and Darcy are keeping secrets from each other. That's about it. Elizabeth is keeping secrets for Georgiana (so nothing actually bad), and I'm pretty sure I know what Darcy's secret is (but the book is written in third person, limited to Elizabeth's point-of-view). Oh, and Elizabeth is questioning her decision to marry Darcy? I don't really see that happening with the original character. I like Winslow's writing style well enough, but the book is really slow-moving, and there's not really enough conflict or wit to keep me intrigued. I will finish it, because I hate not finishing books, and maybe Winslow will win me over by the end.

Conclusion: Okay...I definitely wasn't bored by the end of The Darcys of Pemberley. I was, however, disappointed with some changes Winslow made to two characters and the complete turnaround she made in the last quarter of the book. The characters in question? Colonel Fitzwilliam, who has become a more serious presence and lost all of the charm that lent him to be a notable character in the original, and George Wickham, who has become a horrible and violent image of desperation rather than the gold-digging and selfish playboy from Pride and Prejudice. It was the changes made to Wickham that allowed for the author's turn-of-events toward the end of the book, filling the story with action, violence, and a psychic premonition that made little sense with the earlier tone of the novel. And then, as if to bring her work back to where she began, Winslow promptly pairs off and marries all but one single person in the epilogue--even the more minor characters. I'm always hesitant to say that I didn't like a book, especially when I can appreciate the writing style and can tell from the prologue how much the author cares about her book and its inspiration (as is the case with The Darcys of Pemberley), but I did not like this book. Some of you may know from past reviews how hard it is for me to enjoy sequels to my beloved classics, so let me encourage you to take my review with a grain of salt. If you enjoy "sequels" to Pride and Prejudice, read this one! It seems like it might be better from a different perspective.

This is my second "TBR Pile" choice for the 2014 Book Bingo Challenge. I hope you all can forgive such an unhappy review (I always try to be honest with you), and I also hope you are reading lots of lovely books right now! Don't forget to subscribe and check back on my blog for new, hopefully happier reviews in the near future!

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