“Treasure?” said Mrs. Bennet. “Oh, yes, I do hope we find some treasure. I would like a new necklace, for Mrs. Long was wearing a diamond necklace before we left and crowing about how valuable it was. I am sure we will find something better here, or what was the point of coming all this way?”
(from Pride & Pyramids, page 169 in the uncorrected advance copy; finished version may be different)
Pride & Pyramids by Amanda Grange and Jacqueline Webb, the latter an Egyptologist, is the most unique Pride and Prejudice sequel I’ve read to date and also ranks among the best. The novel takes Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth, now happily married for 15 years, to Egypt with Darcy’s young cousin, Edward Fitzwilliam, whose dream is to travel to the land his father and Darcy’s had visited as young men. As a patron of Sir Matthew Rosen, Edward has been invited to join his dig in Cairo, and Elizabeth convinces Darcy that their family could use an adventure as well.
Edward, the Darcys, and their six children — Beth, William, John, Laurence, Jane, and Margaret — are joined by Paul Inkworthy, whom Darcy has hired to paint and sketch the highlights of their trip, and Sophie Lucas, Charlotte’s younger sister, who is recovering from a broken heart. A very determined stowaway livens things up, as does a love triangle, a scheme by the man-we-love-to-hate Wickham, and little Margaret’s attachment to a creepy Egyptian doll.
Grange and Webb do a wonderful job bringing the sights and smells of Egypt to life, and even though it takes awhile for the characters to arrive in the exotic land, I was never bored. I loved their depiction of the Darcys as parents, and it was a pleasure getting to know the Darcy children, from the rambunctious Laurence and the serious William to Beth with her first crush. Paul’s obsession with art showcases the excitement of visiting foreign lands and experiencing different cultures, while Edward’s obsession with finding a legendary tomb adds a dark element to the novel.
Pride & Pyramids exemplifies what I’m looking for these days in Jane Austen-inspired novels. I’ve read dozens of them over the last several years, and even though I haven’t tired of them yet, they have to be well written, have a unique take on Austen’s characters, and be more than just a glimpse of Darcy and Elizabeth’s marriage if they are going to keep my attention. This book exceeded my expectations. It’s a fun, escapist read that is perfect for the summer.
© 2012 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.