The real problems are with the Darcys.
Fitzwilliam is battling the past ghosts of his parents tumultuous relationship and Elizabeth with her ever present optimism is willing to aid him in the fight. The reappearance of two people from his parents' past causes Mr and Mrs. Darcy to face the truth and hopefully have enough courage for the future. Pemberley Manor is a well written piece of literature. What I loved about this book is it answered a lot of questions and filled in the gaps left in Pride and Prejudice. Nelson has really written something special here.
She captures the same spirit of Jane Austen's book. The language, characters, and the story plot are all reminiscent of the prior book. As an English teacher I would recommend this book to be read in addition to Pride and Prejudice. Most of the time sequels are bad, but this story tells of how a couple who love each other fight the demons of the past and dare to hope for a future.
Review by Jessica Emerson, austenblog. I was so relieved upon commencing reading Pemberley Manor to realize quickly that Nelson "gets it. Her prose is smooth and her tone is confident, much like Austen's. This was a great relief, as bad writing can mar even the most intriguing plot. Conversely, good writing may buoy your readers along even when they disagree with your plot choices.
Nelson knows her audience. It is not the purists who prefer not to think beyond the happily ever after. The audience for this book is open-minded readers who love Austen's creations, but recognize that real life and real people are necessarily more complex than the world of Austen's novels.
This book is for those who think maybe Jane and Bingley are too perfect, that Darcy and Lizzy became engaged too quickly, and who wonder what might happen after the weddings. In the reserved Regency society, where emotions may not have been so easily expressed or scandals so readily discussed as they are today, two people of unequal birth attempting to have an egalitarian marriage would certainly have faced great challenges.
Nelson's creations are based on the novel, inspired heavily by the BBC film adaptation, and also augmented by a healthy dose of reality. She explores their psyches, motivations, desires, and fears from modern perspective, but weaves her concepts neatly into the Regency time period and writing style.
Purists may shudder at some of her choices, especially regarding Darcy's darker nature. However, I think if one stops to contemplate for a minute, one sees that she has added depth, complexity, and indeed humanity, to characters that have for the most part been revered as larger and better than life. If Lizzy and Darcy were real flesh-and-blood people, imperfect people, living within the social and sexual confines of Regency society, what sort of problems would they face in their marriage? That is the thought experiment Nelson's sequel invites us to embark upon. If it intrigues you, then you will enjoy this smoothly written and carefully thought-out novel.
This sequel takes us from the dual wedding, through the Darcy's honeymoon and early months of marriage.
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They discover unanticipated range and depth of emotions within each other, and weather quite a number of shocks and trials that threaten to undermine their relationship. Along the way, they also confront some of the enemies who disapproved of their union, as well as less tangible demons from Darcy's unusual childhood. If you prefer the haughty, enigmatic, and polished Darcy of the novel, you may be in for a shock.
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This Darcy is haunted, conflicted, and ultimately much more emotional than you may expect. I truly enjoyed Nelson's continuation of Lizzy.
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I think her strength, grace, and humor were perfectly in line with Austen's creation. The influence of Jennifer Ehle's performance is clear too, in Lizzy's zest for life and laughter and her constant "bemused smile. Throughout this story, we have many opportunities to cheer for Lizzy, whether she is supporting her loved ones or taking down an enemy with her ample, but never malicious, wit.
A carriage ride scene featuring the Mr.
Darcy and Caroline Bingley is wonderfully done. Nelson also writes very good witty dialogue between Darcy and Lizzy, showing the intellectual dimension of their love forone another, as well as the equality between them. Nelson fleshes out some supporting characters from the original - Caroline Bingley and Georgiana Darcy both get a lot of page time and added complexity and depth.
On the other hand, Col. Fitzwilliam and the Gardiners have all but disappeared. The new supporting characters that Nelson adds do not stand out so clearly as the principals. Trevor Handley and the Alexanders are somewhat similar to, but less memorable than, some of Austen's own creations. Thomas Hill, however leaps off the page with his fresh dialogue and was a worthwhile addition to Pemberley.
The suspense of the family secrets could have been rather less drawn out, and a couple of tearful scenes could have been consolidated. Overall though, I enjoyed the relatively steady pace of the novel. The much-anticipated Christmas visit toLongbourn was the only part that felt strangely rushed.
The reader is told, more than shown, how well Darcy managed to get along with the Bennets. This is unfortunate, because I think Nelson could have written some great dialogue between Darcy and the Bennet women.
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On the whole I enjoyed this sequel and looked forward to seeing what twists and turns Nelson would throw into the plot next. Nelson set herself up for quite a challenge, but she carries it off quite well. She has a great love for Austen's creations and has put a good deal of thought into how to further their story. She has taken Darcy and Lizzy off their pedestals and out for a turn in the real world, and they have not suffered materially for it.
In fact, I believe it we as readers who have gained. NOTE: Sexual situations in Pemberley Manor are handled tastefully and modestly, without any graphic descriptions or awkward romance novel cliches. There is innuendo and aftermath, but actual lovemaking takes place "off-page. If you're looking for an Austen sequel that combines the characters' original flaws of pride and prejudice I would highly recommend reading Pemberley Manor.
Nelson spins a web of finely strung perceptions and choices. Darcy is one for angry words in the heat of the moment, swift regret, and fleet-footed in his escape to nurse his wounds.
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Elizabeth is also one for angry words and quick remorse. Darcy is only just learning how to express himself and gets it all wrong. Elizabeth is ready to find offense, certain he must in some way regret marrying her - after all hadn't he in his first proposal said how inferior she was to the task of being his wife? Meanwhile an old friend has reappeared stirring up a whole mix of bad childhood memories for Darcy… and good ones, if Darcy were to be honest. He's worried about how his mother's influence on him might wreck the only happiness he's ever known and at the same time can't reconcile himself to his father's actions and behavior.
Can the old friend and Elizabeth help Darcy unravel the past? Can Darcy let it go if they can't? Through it all Caroline Bingley is plotting and spilling poison amongst Darcy's old colleagues. She wants Darcy for herself; he must surely regret by now his decision to marry that country bumpkin.
Finding a co-conspirator in her older sister, Mrs. Hurst, Caroline hatches a few petty and mean spirited plans. How will they affect the Darcys? If Caroline weren't enough the local gentry around Derbyshire are determined to snub Mrs. Darcy because of Darcy's previous bad and snobby behavior. Will Elizabeth's goodness and mirth capture their attentions long enough to change their mind about her or will their determination win out in the end? Quite an excellent book! Very engrossing. The book is chaste; there is nothing overt in the bedroom.
When a new Pride and Prejudice sequel lands on my doorstep, I freely admit that the Austen geek in me goes into adrenalin rush. Usually after the third chapter I can see the lay of the land. Is the language reminiscent? Are the characters respectfully rendered? Is the tone appropriate? Is the storyline plausible? By the second page of Pemberley Manor: Darcy and Elizabeth, for better or for worsemy hopes soared. By the end of the third chapter, I was wholly convinced that if author Kathryn Nelson could maintain her premise I was in for one of the most original, compelling, and satisfying new interpretations of Lizzy and Darcy after the nuptials that I have ever had the pleasure to read.
My only fear was what might happen over the next pages to change my mind! We are reunited with many familiar characters from Jane Austen's novel as the respective families assemble for the ceremony. It is a happy day for the Bennet family, but the two Bingley sisters Caroline and Louisa find their new country connections deplorably low and the whole day exhaustingly tedious.
Caroline's indignity and spite will continue to eat away at her foreshadowing trouble for her brother Charles, his new wife Jane, and the object of her true venom, the Darcy's. After the reception at Longbourn, the Darcy's and the Bingley's depart for their respective honeymoons with plans to meet up later at Pemberley. The Darcy's stay at a coaching Inn on route to Derbyshire, and there we experience their first days together and are surprisingly introduced to Nelson's choice of direction and tone as she skillfully reveals a side of Mr.
Darcy that I have long suspected, but other sequel authors have failed to perceive. The proud and arrogant man that Elizabeth Bennet married has a troubled past, confirming for me much of his actions in the original novel and why I havenever thought that their happily-ever-after could just instantly happen because they declared their love and took vows. Hold on to your bonnets!
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