The Pemberley Chronicles by Rebecca Ann Collins
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Own on Kindle.
A long time ago, maybe even before I owned a Kindle, Amazon was "selling for $0.00" Jane Austen books and some of the modern fan written sequels. I looked carefully at the reviews and chose a few including this book, The Pemberley Chronicles.
It has sat for a long time. I wasn't sure I'd actually read such a thing, but better to purchase for free rather than pay $9.99 (for a book I don't own!)
Recently, I noticed I was in my "not finishing anything" mode. Sometimes all I need is to finish *something* so I went looking for a novel, and this one seemed a good candidate. Soccer season is not good for my reading, I don't know how Cindy reads at baseball games. I didn't realize how long it was (I'm certain it's longer than Pride & Prejudice by a lot ... and there are 6 more!? Who knew?!?) or I might not have chosen it.
Anyway, I gave it 3 stars, I could have easily given it 2. It was fine, it seemed less cohesive story than I had expected. The first 25% seemed very self-congratulatory in that newlywed sense. They are so glad to be married and constantly reassuring themselves. At the 25% through something finally happened. But some statements were made about the politics of the time, the certainty of the Darcys being "right" and others "wrong" with only one side represented. And then that topic went away for the rest of the book. And that cycle was repeated with coal mining in Wales. And education. And the hospital. Once it was established that such and so ought to be done in such and such a manner, the whole line of story is dropped.
I also did not like the way the author dealt with Mrs. Bennett. Yes, she's annoying. Yes, she has no filter. But, yes, Elizabeth and Jane treated her with kindness and respect in Pride and Prejudice, but in this book she was treated disdainfully. Mr. Bennett comes out looking much better.
So, all that annoyed me. What did I like? I thought Collins did a good job of keeping the voices of the characters true to Pride & Prejudice. Sometimes, her reminders about Jane's goodness were heavy handed, but generally, the characters were the ones I met before. The Gardiners get a larger role in this book, which I enjoyed. I liked thinking about "what might have been" and, despite annoyances, kept picking it back up to read, so that's why I gave it 3 stars. I didn't have any sense of having to finish this (like several of the other books I'm reading) but I read it because I wanted to know what happened. Collins is clearly not Austen, but the writing was good enough.
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