Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Pemberley Chronicles

Years ago I found The Pemberley Chronicles at my Aunt's home. It's always a good place for me to discover books that I had not heard of before and now was no different. The book attracted me and seemed light and airy and a short while later I had a copy of my own. Then it gathered dust on my bookshelf for years because I never felt quite in the mood to read it. I was searching for a specific "vibe" before I read that book, a certain emotion or feeling, and towards the end of July that feeling hit me.

I wanted something that would remind me of spring and cooler weather as I grew impatient and tired of the high temperatures of the summer. Grabbing the book, I dove in, and right away I found it reminiscent of what this series was based on - Pride and Prejudice

Right away we take off from where Pride and Prejudice ended. Jane and Elizabeth are married and everything is rather perfect and lovely... it continues to be perfect and lovely for the next few hundred pages, in fact. Up until the end of the book the characters rarely have any sad moments in their lives and everything runs smoothly. Even when things begin to have a touch of danger it quickly is surpassed and things are set right again. 

The characters seem to grow up and change quickly and time passes almost too fast. The moment a single daughter is mentioned, shortly later there is a male character introduced and you know what will soon follow - a marriage that will leave everyone shocked but certainly not the reader. There was much joy and excitement when Elizabeth and Jane discovered they were pregnant but it was quickly forgotten after the children were born - not to be mentioned again until those children were of a marrying age. That bothered me a great deal because I was always curious to see how Elizabeth would handle motherhood. Granted, you see her handling it when her children are young adults but I wanted to see how she adjusted to being a mother and tending an infant or toddler. 

Many of the characters come and go quickly, some seeming to have a presence only to disappear until much later in the books, and that was at times confusing. There was also a severe neglect for many of the characters that made Pride and Prejudice: Mary Bennett was so vacant that for much of the book I was going, "There was another sister, right? I'm totally not making this up! But she hasn't even been mentioned!" Mrs. Bennett is only mentioned by fleeting annoyance which I found amusing but I feel it could have been much more powerful had she been seen more. The same goes for the other characters who were less favorable such as Caroline Bingley and Lady Catherine. So for that, I found fault.

Aside from that, the description the author used for the area's land and homes was lovely. I received that cool air and sunshine that I had been craving. She also dealt with the political changes of England during the years following Pride and Prejudice's closure. Sometimes, the politics became too heavy for the book and I found myself lost. I'm not very much into politics and I can barely keep up with the politics of America let alone the politics of England from years ago. Still, I appreciate the research and attention to detail that this was given. The author truly tried to paint a clear picture for the readers of what the world was like during that time period.

Towards the end of the book it seemed to have suddenly taken off. Events good and bad were happening left and right, things were no longer perfect, and I found myself incredibly engrossed. By the close of the book I was glad I read it, despite that I had some complaints of things running too smoothly, and while it made me unsure about the future books in this series I may still try it. I have the next book, The Women of Pemberley, on my to-read list and while it may be another couple of years before I read it, I'll surely give it a try.

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