Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Death Comes to Pemberley

I love the books of Jane Austen (apart from Northanger Abbey, can't seem to get the hang of it) and have read several adaptations, prequels and sequels. So, when I saw this one, I knew I had to get it. 

The blurb: The year is 1803. Darcy and Elizabeth have been married for 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. 

My verdict: When you read any book about something contemporary, there is no need to explain anything, after all you know the 'time'. And when Jane Austen wrote her books, everybody who read those books knew about the situations, the surroundings, the conventions of the age. There was no need to explain anything. Because it was contemporary. 

PD James may have been able to set the scene, but in my view there were too many explanations about almost everything. Adding staff to the mix felt out of place, even if it had to do with the plot. Having Darcy behave the way he did was diminishing the strong figure he was. And even though there were no loose ends, it felt as if there were. 

So, would I recommend this book? This thin, over-explanatory book? Which would have been half as big if all that had been taken out. Well... no. I wouldn't. Because it didn't feel right. PD James may be a brilliant writer, but I feel in this case she made a bit of a booboo. It felt too contrived. *spoiler alert* Especially when letting in characters from other books. Just... wrong.


  1. Thanks for the warning, because I was all excited about it when I saw what book you were reviewing, but very disappointed after learning your opinion. I'm sure I'd agree with you 100%, because I've re-read Jane Austen my whole life, and I am also a PD James fan.
    Thanks again. I'll skip this book.

  2. I agree with Kay. I was interested in reading this when I heard P D James interviewed about it. Thanks for the warning:-)

  3. Hari OM
    HHmmmm, fabulous writer though she is, I would immediately be suspicious of the need to 'borrow' characters. Smacks of someone running out of inspiration and not having the sense just to wait for it.

    I agree with you regarding time and place. PDJ has that perfected for her own protagonists.

    I like your review style! YAM xx

  4. I read it and enjoyed it well enough at the time. It's hardly bad or a waste of time IMO. Kay and jabblog should read it and make up their own minds -- or read other reviews.


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