A Pemberley Medley: Five Pride & Prejudice Variations, by Abigail Reynolds – A Review

Pemberley Medley, by Abigail Reynolds (2011)Review by Kimberly Denny-Ryder

Whenever I finish an Abigail Reynolds book, I never feel like I’m completely done with the story.  What I mean by this is her writing always gets me totally engrossed in the stories making me wish they’d never end.  I always feel satisfied with where they’ve gone plot wise, but she writes characters so well that I always end up wishing for more. Fortunately for us Reynolds fans, she published A Pemberley Medley, a collection of short stories that represent different “what if” scenarios for our beloved Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet.  All five short stories are variations on the original Pride and Prejudice that we all know and love.  I wanted to leave you surprised by the plot of the majority of the works, but I couldn’t pass on the chance to tell you about my favorite (and also the first) short story of the book.

Entitled “Intermezzo”, it takes place on Jane Bennet and Charles Bingley’s wedding day, although Darcy is nowhere in sight.  He is still too brokenhearted and raw over the failed proposal attempt at Hunsford.  He decides that staying away and not seeing Elizabeth would be a better option.  What would happen if Darcy chose to show up at the last minute, only to find himself seated next to Elizabeth for the wedding breakfast?  Will he find a changed Elizabeth, or will she still be filled with hatred and contempt for him?

The other creative short stories are entitled “Such Differing Reports”, “Reason’s Rule”, “The Most Natural Thing”, and “A Succession of Rain”.  Fans of Reynolds’ To Conquer Mr. Darcy will want to pay special attention to “Reason’s Rule”, as it’s a scene from that novel that was left on the editing room floor.   The Most Natural Thing is a novella told in three parts that see Darcy as a “dark” character.  Fans will definitely be pleased with the variety of stories this compilation offers.

I feel that Reynolds has always excelled most at her characterizations.  She writes wonderful soliloquies that offer great insight into the character’s thoughts, feelings, and wishes.  Her ability to really connect with what her characters makes them that much more lifelike, and adds to the authenticity of the work as a whole.  Perhaps that is what makes Reynolds such a bastion of the JAFF world.  She keeps us wanting more, and makes any retelling of Pride and Prejudice seem like it’s the first time we’ve ever read anything outside of the original.

I especially enjoyed the short story format, which allowed Reynolds to cover more characters and plot than she would have in a traditional novel, and this added to the quickness and overall tone of the work.  I felt as if I covered a lot more ground in one reading than I would have with a detailed novel.  (Maybe these short stories will be fleshed out into full length novels? We can only hope!)  It was a fresh approach that I hope Reynolds will repeat in the future.  Overall, it came as no surprise that I enjoyed all of these short stories, especially the one that required the biggest change of heart for Mr. Darcy.  I’m always a sucker for a good romance, and Reynolds knows just how to appease my palate.  Bravo for a job well done!

5 out of 5 Regency Stars

Pemberley Medley: Five Pride & Prejudice Variations, by Abigail Reynolds
Intertidal Press (2011)
Trade paperback (212) pages
ISBN: 978-0615470337
Kindle: ASIN: B0069TPCQ8

Kimberly Denny-Ryder is the owner/moderator of Reflections of a Book Addict, a book blog dedicated to following her journey of reading 100 books a year, while attempting to keep a life! When not reading, Kim can be found volunteering as the co-chair of a 24hr cancer awareness event, as well as an active member of Quinnipiac University’s alumni association.  When not reading or volunteering, Kim can be found at her full-time job working in vehicle funding. She lives with her husband Todd and two cats, Belle and Sebastian, in Connecticut.

© 2007 – 2012 Kimberly Denny-Ryder, Austenprose

21 thoughts on “A Pemberley Medley: Five Pride & Prejudice Variations, by Abigail Reynolds – A Review

  1. Kimberly, your review of a complicated 5-part work is dandy! I am also reading a book for review with 6 episodes and your handling of this format is a big help . Although I’m devouring Austen fan-fiction at a tremendous pace, I’m embarrassed to admit I’ve not read a single one of Abigail Reynold’s works..BUT, being the incurable romantic, I’ve got her in my list. Well done!

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    • I bought it when first released last year knowing it contained a couple of my fave Reynolds’ shorts. I highly recommend you try it as it will give you a flavor of her style of writing without having to invest large blocks of time. But be forwarned, they are like Chips. Its hard to stop at one. If I recall- only one is really rated R so I think you can handle it :) but the rest will still leave you breathless in anticipation.

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    • Jeffrey so glad I could help! Reviewing short story compilations are always tough. You want to talk about all of the short stories but you don’t want to bore people with just plot plot plot. I’ve started sticking with talking about one story and my thoughts on overall book.

      Definitely add Abigail to your list of authors you MUST read. My favorite of her novels is Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy: Last Man in the World. OMG such angst. I re-read it like 10 times a year!

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  2. Abigail Reynolds is one of my favorite P & P sequel writers. I had never read any of her short stories before, so I enjoyed her “Pemberley Medley”. I loved every moment she creates for Elizabeth and Fitzwilliam. Thank you for your wonderful review.

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  3. Abigail’s stories are among my very favorites! I’ve re-read them so many times. Definitely loved Intermezzo.

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  4. Pingback: #34 A Guest Review of A Pemberley Medley by Abigail Reynolds « Reflections of a Book Addict

  5. This is the only one of Abigail’s books I don’t have. I love her work. As mentioned she leaves you wanting more and that’s what good entertainment does. I am hoping to get a copy of this sometime in the near future.

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  6. oops P.s. I loved the way you chose to review this. You didn’t spoil anything. Like Abigail you left us wanting more and to read the whole thing.
    thanks

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  7. Pingback: Alone with Mr. Darcy: A Pride & Prejudice Variation, by Abagail Reynolds – A Review | Austenprose - A Jane Austen Blog

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