I had not forgotten, but Miss Elizabeth Bennet is a creature I scarcely know any longer. How very far away she seems! How little she knew of life, all the while congratulating herself on her clever perception and insight into the world and its ways!
(from More Letters From Pemberley, page 241)
More Letters From Pemberley is the follow up to Letters From Pemberley, a Pride and Prejudice sequel comprised of letters from Elizabeth Darcy to her sister Jane Bingley during her first year of marriage in 1813. This time around, the letters span the years 1814 to 1819, and their recipients include Jane Bingley, Aunt Gardiner, various new friends (who are very similar to characters from other Jane Austen novels), and even Mr. Darcy himself.
Jane Dawkins does a great job telling a story through letters, showing all the work it takes to run an estate the size of Pemberley, giving readers a glimpse of Elizabeth and Darcy as proud parents, and portraying the arguments and tragedies that accompany an otherwise happy marriage. When tragedy struck, I was as heartbroken as Elizabeth, and I even questioned whether the book could have a happy ending, but thankfully, it wasn’t a complete downer.
There is more of a plot to this novel compared to its predecessor, and I was glad that the letters were written to other characters, rather than just Jane. While it was a pleasant reading experience, I enjoyed the first book more, maybe because this one felt like more of the same, but without the charm and the lightness of those carefree newlywed days. I wonder if including some letters to Elizabeth from some of the other characters would have broken up the monotony a bit?
Still, I would recommend More Letters From Pemberley to lovers of Austen-inspired novels, simply because the Darcys face trials and heartache. Of course, I’d like to think they live happily ever after, but I’ve grown tired of sequels that portray a marriage that is nothing but sunshine and roses. Dawkins shows that tragedy touches many people; the Darcys are not immune, no matter how much they love each other, and Elizabeth’s reaction was so honest and real. After turning the last page, it even made me miss writing letters and anticipating their arrival in the post. What a shame that letter writing will soon be a lost art!
Disclosure: I borrowed More Letters From Pemberley from the public library.
© 2012 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.