Ironic that the day after I announce my monthly goal of working on my blog I take a day off, isn’t it? Whoops! Sometimes life just gets in the way.
To make up for it, let’s take a journey back in time, shall we? I know everyone loves a good gratuitous high school picture of me – they are just SO
Why am I showing you a strange, upside-down photo of myself from age eighteen? Because that is the year that I first read “Pride and Prejudice”, Jane Austen’s masterpiece. Unlike several of the books we had to read for high school English class (*ahem* “Heart of Darkness” “Animal Farm”), this was a book that I actually enjoyed; loved even.
Some literary purists would balk at a sequel, written hundreds of years later by another author, but I have a different relationship with books. Because I come to love characters, and am sad when a book or series ends and I have to say goodbye to them without knowing their future, I usually enjoy sequels. “Rhett Butler’s People”? I loved it!
So when I heard that there was a sequel to “P&P”, a mystery set several years after its conclusion, I jumped at the thought and added it to my list immediately. “Death Comes to Pemberley” by P.D. James opens with a brief summary of Elizabeth Bennet (now Darcy) and her story. We are then launched three years forward, to Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy on the eve of a ball. And then all hell breaks loose.
At the center of a tumultuous mystery is Wickham, the dashing young rogue who attempted to steal Elizabeth’s heart before marrying her younger sister Lydia. As the story unfolds, we get a glimpse into Elizabeth and Darcy’s marriage, along with her sister Jane’s marriage to Bingley, and Darcy’s younger sister’s search for a suitor. Familiar faces abound.
Clearly this book wasn’t written by Austen; the style is slightly more modern, and the book is much shorter. Still, the same spirit is there – James remains true to the characters that we loved so much, and gives us an even deeper look into their relationships and lives. I loved it, if only for the fact that now I know how Elizabeth Bennet’s story ends – or one way that it could end.
For all you “Pride and Prejudice” lovers who are willing to read a non-Austen sequel, you are in for a treat!