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on May 26, 2016
I bought and read this book several years ago as it is an epislatory novel which I thought would be a different view of my favourite characters. Namely, letters written by Elizabeth Darcy during her first year of marriage to her sister Jane Bingley. It was delightful and to me a personal look at Elizabeth's life from her point of view. Her insecurities, daily life and meeting new neighbours. Speaking of new neighbours, the author has used characters from other Jane Austen novels. It was fun getting Elizabeth's impressions of them and her witty comments to her sister were engaging. We hear of all Lydia's requests for funds that she and her 'dear Wickham' need as they cannot manage to live within their means. This is a gentle read that puts a smile on your face for it almost feels as if these letters are written to you. Now on to read the second book which I recently purchased...More Letters from Pemberley.
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on January 10, 2003
I found the book light and easy to read and the characterizations were consistent with Jane Austens'. The problem was that I kept waiting for something interesting to happen, and it never really did. I also felt like there was not enough about Mr. Darcy.
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on November 3, 2002
I'm an avid Jane Austen fan... I enjoyed reading this book, but felt that it was not what I had hoped it would be. Don't get me wrong, it's a nice easy read, but I don't feel it does justice to the characters Jane Austen so wonderfully portrayed...
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on March 25, 2002
This was the second Pride and Prejudice sequel I have had the pleasure to read. I have to admit that had I read this one first, I would have probably liked it better. But coming after the passionate--if sometimes disturbing--story-line of The Bar Sinister, I felt a little cheated by the brevity of this novel.
I enjoyed picking out references to other Austen characters throughout the story and their interactions and personalities as observed through the "fine eyes" of Mrs. Elizabeth Darcy. It was actually quite fun for me since I have often wondered how the different Austen heroines and their companions would perceive each other.
The letter format of the novel was easy to follow and knowing that correspondence played an important part in the original, I thought it was a great idea to adopt that style for the sequel. Elizabeth's wit and many references to her "dear husband" were endearing but I found myself wanting-or expecting-more from this book than it delivered. This is not to say I didn't enjoy it, merely that I think I would have enjoyed it more if it were longer or perhaps more in depth.
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on March 3, 2002
I cannot give Jane Dawkins a 5 star rating only because I cannot rate this book as high as Austen's Pride and Prejudice, which of course is more than deserving of the highest rating. However, of the sequels to P&P that I have read, this one is definitely the best. This sequel stayed most faithful to the book, and for me that is absolutely essential. Classic pieces of literature deserve the highest amount of respect from those who are capitalizing on them either in movie or in book. I am very glad to say that Dawkins did not bastardize Austen's book the way Marjorie Fasman did in her "The Diary of Henry Fitzwilliam Darcy." (That book is completely horrible and does not stay faithful to Austen's book. Jane Austen's book is gospel as far as I am concerned, perfect in every way, and I am incensed at anyone who would dare to make changes to her book.) Jane Dawkin's book is thoroughly in enjoyable. It is a very quick and entertaining read. The only thing that I did not like about the book was Georgiana's choice for a husband. Dawkin's came very close to capturing Austen's witty dialogue and satire. Her characterization of Elizabeth is very good.
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on February 16, 2002
When I read something that is subtitled "A continuation of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice", I am looking for three things: a chance to revisit favorite characters, reading plausible and interesting stories about these characters, and Austen's elegant and witty style. I would say that the author almost succeeds in the first two objectives but fails, not surprisingly, in the last. I don't expect many people to be able to write like Jane Austen, but I do expect something more substantive in the way of story. While it was great to hang out with Elizabeth again, I didn't feel that I got to know Darcy better at all. He is mentioned only in the most abstract terms. For that matter, I didn't get to know anyone really. The twenty five letters are all by Elizabeth to Jane. It would have been more interesting to have correspondence from Jane to Elizabeth also, and maybe from Lydia as well.
While the letters capture the style of Austen's times, they are lightweight and rather brief. Twenty-five letters with at least three blank pages between each letter comes out to about 115 pages of text.
I enjoyed this but was not blown away by it.
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on December 2, 2001
I was surprised to find how much I enjoyed reading this book, because I had noticed some of the more negative reviews and wondered about them. Thankfully, I read enough other reviews to
peak my curiosity so that I went out and bought Letters.
Of course, one knows you can't please all of the people all of the time. I noticed that the majority of positive reviews far out-weighed the others, so I began reading with an expectation to be entertained and delighted. I was not disappointed.
Letters from Pemberley is a fascinating respite from the woes of our current world. I was transported back in time to Austen's English countryside and manners. Though not Jane Austen, as the author herself claims in her introduction, she has come close to
capturing the nuances of the Austen style.
True, though I would have liked very much to see more inter-action between Lizzy and sister Jane, and between Lizzy and Darcy, rather than a "telling in letters," I was, apart from that one dismay, charmed by the recounting of Mistress Darcy's first year. I wished to see more interaction because I wanted the book to be longer! My disappointment was in the fact that it ended just as I was set to inhale more.
So I would hope that Jane Dawkins writes yet another continuation, so I can once again immerse myself in the world of Austen. Perhaps a book about Elizabeth and Darcy in their later years would fulfill all our yearnings!
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on August 13, 2001
I can't say that I didn't finish reading-- I did want to know what happened, but I would hardly call this a "page turner." I did read it in one sitting, but mostly because it was short. I believe that the other reviewers are correct, that the book is true to Austen's style but not to the characters-- they really lack the fire of the original. I think the biggest problem was Dawkin's choice to do letters from Lizzy to Jane, but no responses-- why the limitation? It certainly made it harder to show, without making Lizzy seem immodest, how much she should be admired for standing up to criticism for her lack of standing in society. It also made all of Lizzy's letters seem stilted, because they had to supply a reiteration of all of Jane's letters to her. A combination of narrative, and letters from both, as in the original, would have been much easier for Dawkins to write, and much more enjoyable for the reader. I would encourage Dawkins to try again, if she might, because I do believe her writing shows that she understands the way Austen writes. As it was written, however, I have to say this was not worthy.
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on August 2, 2001
I must disagree with the reader from Austin, Texas who claims she has gone into insulin shock from the excess sugar in Letters from Pemberley.
If one bothers to read Ms. Dawkins' forward, she claims not to be Jane Austen herself, but an author whose sole purpose "is to entertain." And "entertain" she has done! Elizabeth Bennet Darcy, newly married and unsure of herself, writes letters to her dearest sister, Jane, as she explores and defines her role as mistress of Pemberley. I did not find the book too sugary-sweet, as claimed, but rather a delight to my soul! Not being Jane Austen herself, stated clearly in the forward, Ms. Dawkins presents Lizzy as perhaps feeling rather isolated and insecure in this "different league of wealth and privilege." Her relationship with Jane is fully drawn and her concern to do what is right and expected of her in her new role, is fully understandable. Too sugary? I prefer my tea with lots of sugar, thank you, and this is a sweet book, well-written and beautifully presented!
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on July 30, 2001
The above is my only explanation as to why people seem so fond of this book. I was looking for an exciting sequel to P&P (and I imagine if you're reading this, you're probably doing the same ;-). In my quest to read only the best sequels, I read all the amazon customer reviews of all the P&P "sequels" and quickly eliminated anything by Emma Tennant. This book by Ms. Dawkins and Linda Berdoll's The Bar Sinister had the best customer reviews, so I got them both.
I was SOOOO looking forward to this book that when I finally received it, I was pretty disappointed. The story was...nice. There was, unfortunately, no real spunk, no real wit, no real plot. It's very sweet, almost to the point of annoyance, really. The characters don't seem to evolve and while I understand the format of the book (letters from Lizzy to Jane during her first year of marriage to Mr. Darcy) may be somewhat limiting, I felt the characters were portrayed in a one-dimensional and completely predictable light.
More specifically, there were a couple things that pushed this book from being acceptably sweet to annoyingly unrealistic. First, there was absolutely no mention of any conflict between Lizzy and Mr. Darcy...EVER. I find this hard to believe. Of course I expected the Darcys to be happy, but this book made it seem too perfect. Second, Lizzy kept referring to her "satirical eye." I may be wrong, but I thought it seemed a little out of character that Lizzy would be saying these things about herself. It seemed like she was praising herself or something, which is weird since so much of her appeal stems from the fact that she is so unassuming in her witty and satirical observations.
I think if you're a purist (which I'm not), you'll enjoy this. Many people seem to think that Ms. Dawkins does a very good job of capturing JA's writing style. For my part, writing style is less important--I prefer sequels where the CHARACTERS, rather than the writing style, stay true to the spirit of the original text. Here, Darcy and Lizzy have very little of the original spunk which made them such a dynamic couple. I actually prefer Linda Berdoll's The Bar Sinister. Although the writing is much less polished in that book than in this, the Darcys are portrayed in that book as fun, passionate, and real people...not perfect as they are here. Be forewarned, however. The Bar Sinister is much more risque than Letters from Pemberley, so purists may be offended (the Darcys actually hav s-e-x [and lots of it] in that book). However, that book, unlike this, also has substantial character development and a real plot. If you're looking for a substantial P&P sequel, you might want to check that out (almost 500 pages). On the other hand, if you have a couple of hours to kill, Letters from Pemberley may be worth your while. It's light and breezy and, if you're not expecting a whole lot, you might actually be pleasantly surprised.
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