Pemberley Manor by Kathryn L. Nelson

According to GoodReads, I tried to read this book in June of 2011 and abandoned it. I suppose I forgot that little detail when I requested it off of PaperBackSwap and then packed it as my only reading material for the two flights home. Whoops.

Within the first fifty pages, it was obvious to me as to why I decided to give up on the book in the first place. There are questionable characterizations and glaring mistakes, particularly the fact that Colonel Fitzwilliam is called “James” rather than “Richard” and Elizabeth is an excellent horsewoman. In my head, Darcy is called Darcy by Elizabeth, but Nelson has her calling him Willie/Will. To each their own, I suppose. The frequency at which he cries or Elizabeth collapses into tears, the moment on his and Elizabeth’s honeymoon where that he flees because he might “loose control”, and the conclusion with Georgina’s courtship and the explanation of a new character’s back story were all more difficult points to swallow, but the true struggle came from Nelson’s presentation of Darcy’s parents’ marriage as an unhappy one.

I cannot recall any textual evidence to dispute this claim, but that was never the impression I received from the original novel. Yet Darcy’s mother and her unhappy marriage becomes the centerpoint of this novel, shifting the narrative to a post-marriage sequel to more a prequel set after marriage. In other words, much of the narrative is focused on the life of characters who were not included in the original text and maybe should not have been included in a novel that attempts to continue the original text. Maybe it would have worked better as a prequel than a sequel, although I am not inclined to fully buy Nelson’s portrayal of Lady Anne and her husband.

One thing I can applaud, however, is the style in which Nelson writes. She does manage to faithfully maintain the word choice and descriptions of the scenery as though her novel was written in the same time period as Austen’s. I was rather surprised by this fact given the issues I had with the novel. Makes me wonder if I would enjoy a non-sequel novel by Nelson sit in this time period.

Book Mentioned:

  • Nelson, Kathryn L. Pemberley Manor. Naperville, IL: Sourcebooks, 2006. Print. 456 pgs. ISBN: 9781402212857. Source: PaperBackSwap.
Book Cover © Sourcebooks. Retrieved: May 22, 2013.



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