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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 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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on January 23, 2000
This novel is a collection of letters from Elizabeth Darcy to Jane Bingley during the first year of both of their marriages. While it stays true to characterizations, it has no plotline...which wouldn't be so bad in itself, except it was dreadfully dull. The letters were like, "we went to this party, we met these people...this is what I thought of them...we're doing some improvements on Pemberley, can't wait to see you, yours &tc." It wasn't bad, really, but I wouldn't recommend it to anyone.
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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 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 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 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 August 9, 1999
"Letters From Pemberley" is an exquisitely structured epistolary which engages the reader, through delightment, in the possibility that Jane Austen is not only alive, but penning another essentially English title. Jane Dawkins, as author, has a gentle sense of humour which pervades the entire storyline. Readers will enjoy the familiarity of descriptions, characters and dialogue that have been interwoven as a part of a new context. Dawkin's premise is that the Pride and Prejudice heroine Elizabeth Bennet, now Mrs. Darcy, is in her first year of marriage becoming mistress of Pemberley. Each letter sees Elizabeth gain in confidence as a wife befitting Mr. Darcy should become. She is faced with the concerns that would naturally have presented themselves to a lady of her station. A never ending fascination with Jane Austen is not only happily acknowledged in the introduction, but confirmed by this avid reader of all things not only English, but Austen, and definitely captured by Dawkins in "Letters From Pemberley."
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on April 4, 2000
I have loved Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice for years. But I have never bother reading any sequel to this book, because in the back of my mind, I know that no one can really write a sequel for this book except Jane Austen herself. However, one day, when surfing through this site for some books, I accidentally came across this book. At first I was just surprised to know that so many Jane Austen fans find this so-called Continuation of Austen's P & P enjoyable. Reading your reivews just tempted me to buy and read this book too. And now, I am done reading this sequel and I must say that, yes, I agree with all of you, I like this book too. The author of this book can really capture some of the writing style, language usage and essence of Jane Austen's. Another good thing about this book is that it really can enhance one's imagination. To be honest, I am sure anyone who truely love Darcy and Lizzy will wonder, or will like to find out more about what their married lives will be like, especially how Lizzy adapted herself to the new society. I am quite sure that fans of Pride and Prejudice will find this book very satisfying. One drawback though, let me warn you beforehand, you will sure want to read some more of their stories after you finished this book, especially after what you found out in the last chapter. Very sweet!
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