Monday, December 21, 2009

Review: Postscripts from Pemberley by Rebecca Ann Collins

From the back cover:
Kate O'Hare is not a typical Victorian woman. Her intelligence, vivacity, and beauty captivate all those around her, including the young and handsome Darcy Gardiner. But she cares more about science than about dresses, and her unusual behavior makes her a fresh and interesting addition to the Pemberley estate.

Until her association with scientific controversies of the day and dark secrets from her past put her and all her newfound friends in harm's way. Will Kate's involvement in the public world, where many believe a woman doesn't belong, bring scandal to Pemberley? Or will her charm and wit be enough to banish the shadows of her past and hold on to Darcy Gardiner?

Postscripts from Pemberley is the seventh book in The Pemberley Chronicles series written by Rebecca Ann Collins. From the moment I began reading, I could tell that the author has stayed true to much of Austen's original writing style. The feel of the Victorian era remains throughout, though Ms. Collins has some new material to work with.

The story revolves around the generation of Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy's grandchildren. The Austen characters also appear at times, and are still a large part of what happens, yet not the principles here.

What's new to the mix are the storylines involving politics, chiefly the rivalry between Benjamin Disraeli and William Gladstone, as well as Charles Darwin's The Origin of the Species, which had just been published and was a very hot topic at the time. I'm not sure that Jane Austen would have gotten away with writing about these in her day, but for Ms. Collins it adds some definite substance to the book, making it about more than just gossip or proper etiquette.

All these things aside, Rebecca Ann Collins also has some insightful things to say. I'm always envious of the people that can readily pick out quotes from books that are meaningful, yet I read the same material and seem to skip over these. Not so with Postscripts from Pemberley! A few pages into the main story I found this: "Remember only, Dear Jessica, that life is best enjoyed at leisure, without undue haste or desperation, with time for judgment and discrimination as well as enjoyment. We are not all blessed with the capacity of John Keats to drain life's cup to the lees in a single draught." I thought it was a point well made, well phrased, and very much as relevant today as it would have been in the mid-1800's.

I was immediately engrossed in the story and liked the characters almost as much as Austen's (though I feel no one can touch the original Mr. Darcy). For lover's of Jane Austen or any other historical fiction, this is truly a book well worth reading!

2 comments:

Laughing Stars aka The Stark Raving Bibliophile said...

This sounds really good, and I loved your thoughtful review. I am adding it to my TBR list.

Jackie said...

Thank you. It is a worthy Austen sequel!

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