Guest review by Kimberly Denny-Ryder of Reflections of a Book Addict
New kid on the Jane Austen Fan Fiction block, Shannon Winslow, is debuting in a big way with her first novel, The Darcys of Pemberley, a follow up to Pride and Prejudice. Winslow is sure to be around for a while as she gives readers relationships, conflicts, and characters that we can all relate to. No marriage is perfect 100% of the time, and that’s proven in this novel, as well as many other relationship-testing events that can either make or break a newly married couple (let’s hope Lizzy and Darcy make it!)
Winslow takes us on another exciting post-Pride and Prejudice trip as we follow Lizzy and Darcy after their marriage through trials and tribulations that ultimately bring them closer together. The honeymoon phase shortly after their wedding is typical of any couple that has been recently married, full of happiness and lacking in arguments. It can’t last forever, however, as Darcy soon begins making business deals on the side that he doesn’t inform Lizzy of, and she herself begins to hide things from him in reaction to his lack of trust. Adding to this, the Darcys learn that Col. Fitzwilliam has fallen prey to Lady Catherine’s conquest to find a suitable match for her daughter, Anne. Although amicable towards each other, their romantic inclinations lie elsewhere and there is little hope for the match to stick. At the same time, we begin to follow in the footsteps of Georgiana as she comes of age. Excited about her birthday ball, she is soon heartbroken to find that her secret love, none other than Col. Fitzwilliam, is engaged to his cousin Anne. What a depressing love triangle! Although she is in time excited by new prospects in the upcoming London season and the new male suitors it brings, she still harbors deep sadness over the loss of Fitzwilliam, her first love. As we travel further through the lives of the Darcys and Bingleys, it is soon evident that Wickham and Lydia will unfortunately reappear and wreck havoc on their previously tranquil lives. Will Darcy and Lizzy be able to restore order to this confusion? Will they be able to trust again? What will become of Georgiana?
I have to first congratulate Winslow on a job well done. Austen purists will love this novel, as it sticks closely with the characters and language that Austen herself created. I think writing a book in the style of Jane Austen is incredibly challenging. That style of language isn’t really utilized anymore, so I think my biggest piece of praise to Winslow has to be that she succeeded in making me feel like I was reading a long-lost work of Austen’s.
As I’ve said in previous reviews, I love when authors enhance the roles of the supporting characters. I was so pleased to see Georgiana and the Bingleys receive such attention. Their storylines were wonderful and a joy to read. Georgiana’s especially – I felt her despair and desperation when she found Fitzwilliam to be engaged to Anne. I felt her sadness and feelings of rejection when Fitzwilliam treated her like his younger, little cousin. Winslow definitely has a talent for connecting the reader with the characters through her descriptions of their inner emotions, thoughts, and feelings.
My one small piece of disappointment was in how fast the ending conflict was resolved. I won’t tell you what the conflict is, just that it has to do with Wickham. The whole novel leads up to this major conflict, and I felt that in just 20 pages the entire thing was over and done with. I would have liked just a little bit more there.
You definitely need to add this to your TBR pile. Not only is The Darcys of Pemberley a pleasure to read, but Winslow is a peach to talk to! Make sure you follow her on Twitter and let her know your thoughts on the book. I can almost guarantee you that she’ll respond back to you, happy that you’ve given her book a chance at making it to your shelves.
4 out of 5 Regency Stars
The Darcys of Pemberley: The Continuing Story of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, by Shannon Winslow
Heather Ridge Arts (2011)
Trade paperback (326) pages
© 2007 – 2011 Kimberly Denny-Ryder, Austenprose