Pemberley by the Sea by Abigail Reynolds

Pemberley by the SeaMarine biologist Cassie Boulton considers Pride and Prejudice to be her favorite book, but Cassie has no patience when a modern-day Mr. Darcy appears in her lab. Calder Westing III doesn’t seem to offer anything more than famous family name,  but he can’t get enough of Cassie Boulton. Frustrated by Cassie’s evasions, Calder tells her about his feelings the only way she’ll let him-by rewriting her favorite book, with the two of them in the roles of Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet. The ending, though, is up to Cassie.

Truth be told, I was all ready to fall in love with this “modern love story, Pride and Prejudice style” right up until the point where Cassie gets her hands on a copy of Pride and Presumption, Calder’s retelling of Austen’s beloved classic. His retelling is just awful — a watered down version of Pemberley by Sea — even though it’s supposed to be by an acclaimed author. If your character is going to be a prize-winning author, their material needs to at least sound like something that would fly off the shelves, let alone read like an award-winning novel.

And as the story continued, the plot became even more frustrating and less unique, the character development ceased, and politics became the main subject, which left me wondering what had happened. I loved the beginning and most of the middle, especially the spark between Cassie and Calder and Calder himself, and could totally see it as a retelling that still had its own charms. But by the last few chapters, I was ready for Pemberley by the Sea to be over.

Others’ Thoughts:

Book Mentioned:

  • Reynolds, Abigail. Pemberley by the Sea. New York: Sourcebooks Landmark, 2008. Originally published 2007. Print. 432 pgs. ISBN: 9781402213564. Source: PaperBackSwap.
Book Cover © Sourcebooks. Retrieved: May 28, 2009.


  1. I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again: it’s so hard to do Jane Austen justice! At first I thought this was going to be one of those spin-offs that takes the original characters and carries on the story, so I was relieved to find it was really just inspired by P&P rather than some kind of continuation. This sounds like it could be a fun beach/pool read, but also like it’s not meant to be taken too seriously. It’s a shame the author didn’t have the technical wherewithal to carry of the more literary aspects of the book.


  2. @ Laurel Ann: Thanks! Right now I’m reading Now Face to Face by Karleen Koen, the sequel to Through a Glass Darkly. As for P&P sequels, I’m waiting for Mistress of Pemberley by Isobel Scott Moffat to arrive from PaperBackSwap. I’m next in line for the book.


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