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Saturday, April 19, 2008

The Pemberley Chronicles

The Pemberley Chronicles
4 ½ stars
Rebecca Ann Collins

Preface: Wow. I started this book immediately after finishing re-reading the Harry Potter series and while I loved this book in the end, it took a day or two for me to get with the pace of things and not expect anyone to pull a wand from their pocket and stun someone. Can you imagine that? Mr. Darcy with a wand. Funny, but true.

If you love Pride and Prejudice and love Jane Austen novels you will not be disappointed with The Pemberley Chronicles. I think that this is one of the only novels I have read that really stayed true to Austen’s style and voice.

The first half of the book was really slow moving for me but had very good character development. I enjoyed seeing some of the extended Bennett family and friends develop. Part two of the story had much more of interesting story lines to follow and moved much faster for me. It was during part two of this story that I fell in love with this story and decided I really needed to find The Women of Pemberley, the second book of the series.

There was a lot of political history in this book. Some parts were very interesting, while at other times I found myself skimming through those passages.

I recommend this book to anyone and know I will find myself re-reading it over again. I literally laughed out loud at parts and cried over passages as well.

11 comments:

andrea said...

Thanks Debbi,I love this series. The characters and storylines are so well developed and so close to the Austen originals it is quite remarkable. The people speak, act and even write their letters in character! Lovely.
Andrea

Mary said...

I am really liking this book so far... I think it does a pretty good job of staying true to Austen, although I have yet to find an author that can imitate her cleverness and wit. Such a person may never exist, though, so I am satisfied thus far with Pemberley Chronicles. Jane Austen is the best!

andrea said...

Hello Mary, its Andrea again.
So glad you are enjoying The Pemberly Chronicles. You are so right; this author does not try to imitate Jane Austen's unique style and fall flat as others have done.
She uses a very readable 19th century "period style" which is a good compromise. I am familiar with this series- it gets better with each new book.
Enjoy,
andrea

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the chance to comment on this really delightful series- Debbi! I have now read "Women of Pemberley" and "Netherfield Park" and cannot say enough about them to my friends and fellow Austen fans. I'm a third generation "Janeite" and of all the so called "sequels" I have read, these "Pemberley novels" are without any doubt the closest to the original Jane Austen novels. The characters, style and general historical ambience are so right, I felt I was back 200 years with the Darcys and Bennets. A must read for genuine lovers of an Austen-type of historical romance, written in real 19th century style.

One word of warning- readers looking for the soft-porn that passes for Austen sequels these days,shouldn't bother; these interestng ladies and gentlemen do much more than just leap into bed in every chapter!
christine

Helen said...

Dear Debbi,
I do so agree with Christine ( aka anonymous)and Andrea about this series of Austen sequels by Rebecca Collins.
Not only are they full of excellent characters like Cassy Darcy and Jonathan Bingley from the second generation of Pemberley families, the author- Miss Collins is a really good old- fashioned story-teller.
She is inventive and clever and gives us the kind of intriguing detail that helps 21st century readers understand and become involved in the lives of these 19th century English people.
I just love the characters- they are so real and believable and having read four of the books so far, I can't wait to read the rest of the series.
Thanks Debbi, for the chance to contribute to the discussion.
Helen.

RAC said...

Thank you Debbi, for the many interesting comments from your blogspot. It's great to hear from so many genuine Jane Austen fans who have enjoyed the Pemberley Series.
Regards,
RAC

Mary - Anne said...

Dear Debbi (and Miss Collins),
I want to say a big thank you for your part in bringing this lovely series of books to our attention.
I have just finished reading an advance ( pre-release )copy of Book 3- "Netherfield Park Revisited"- and let me say it's an absolute gem of a story. It's a great continuation to the first two books in the Pemberley Chronicles series.
Jonathan-the son of Jane Bennet and Mr Bingley- is a remarkable character- created by Miss Collins herself. This book tells his story- as he struggles to save his marriage and his political career.
Together with many of our favourite characters Darcy, Elizabeth, Colonel Fitzwilliam and others, the author weaves a delightful tale of intrigue and romance.
Debbi, I am not an "authority" on Jane Austen, but I love her work and I am sure she would have enjoyed this charming story herself.
I look forward to seeing your own review Debbi and more comments from your readers. I do enjoy your website very much.
All the best,

Mary-Anne
( from Melbourne, Australia )

Susan Miles said...

Dear Debbi,
I had heard of the Pemberley Series by Rebecca Ann Collins before, but it was not until I read your excellent review that I decided to purhase a copy of the first book- The Pemberley Chronicles. Debbi, I am so glad I did; as you say it is one of the sequels that comes closest to Jane Austen's original novel.
What I enjoyed most was the way the author kept the characters the same as they were in "Pride and Prejudice"- only growing older and more mature with the years. Mr Darcy and Elizabeth remain the loving, beloved couple we knew and are joined by Jane, Bingley and other favourites-Mr Bennet, Colonel Fitzwilliam,Charlotte Collins and their children- making a delightful collection of stories-both happy and sad.
Miss Collins cleverly carries on the satirical view of Mr Collins, Mrs Bennet and Lydia Wickham which Jane Austen introduced and creates some hilarious episodes too.
All this happens against a detailed background of England in the nineteenth century- a most interesting period indeed.
Some readers seem to find this boring, but I think that we cannot really appreciate how people lived and why they acted as they did, unless we know something about their background. I enjoyed finding out about the social and historical scene.
But, in the end, it was the terrific characters and their stories that won me and I have just ordered the next two volumes- Women of Pemberley and Netherfield Park, Revisited

Debbi, I look forward to reading your reviews of these two books and thanks again for alerting me to these lovely sequels.

Susan Miles

Janice Jones said...

Hello Debbi and may I say how refreshing it is to find a "blog" which posts so many intelligent and thoughtful reviews. I am truly fed up with the rash of "oooh aaah! it's Mr Darcy again- leaping out of his britches and into bed!" type of rubbish that seems to pass for comment on sequels

As a teacher of Literature and History to both College and University students, I am not a great fan of "Austen sequels" which have been proliferating recently. They are mostly poorly written imitations trying to outdo each other, with little knowledge and even less understanding of the original novels.
However, to avoid being dubbed an "old fogey" or a "purist", I confess I make an exception for Rebecca Ann Collns- a writer from Australia,whose Pemberley series of novels is being reprinted in the USA this yearby Sourcebooks.

Following your excellent review, I acquired copies of Books one and two ( The Pemberley Chronicles and Women of Pemberley ) and I have enjoyed reading them very much.
These are not run of the mill trashy imitation "regency romances" in which all the women are panting to be bedded and all the men are itching to oblige.
These characters- (some taken from Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice and others created by Ms Collins ) are credible, interesting and wholly grounded in their background-whether they are intelligent men and women or dull and stupid creatures, they come vividly alive, acting and speaking like real people of the period.

I loved the fact that Ms Collins took the trouble to research the historcal and social scene so that her characters had something to do and say other than gossip and sex!
Best of all she tells a good story and tells it with humour and wit.

Since then, I have placed orders for the next two volumes in the series- Netherfield Park and The Ladies of Longbourn and guess what, I cannot wait to read them!
Thanks Debbi,
Janice Jones.

Emilie Marie said...

I saw these books in Barnes and Noble, but I'm not sure how good they will be. I absolutely adore Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, though I'm not sure how good of an adaption this will be to the book. How is it? Is it worth reading?

claudia said...

Dear Emilie,
the best and most reliable way to discover whether the books of the Pemberley Series are worth reading- as continuations of Pride and Prejudice is to read the opinions of other readers. If you have not been convinced by the reviews of Debbi and others who have posted comments on My Reading Spot, I suggest you take a look at the reviews on the website- www.rebeccaanncollins.com
There are several comments and reviews about all the books there.

Claudia