Friday, March 27, 2009

Pemberley Manor by Kathryn L. Nelson

I’ve been trying to figure out exactly how to review this book. I don’t think I’ve ever been so conflicted over my impression of a book before. Pride and Prejudice is probably my all-time favorite love story, which is pretty ironic since I’d never read the book until last year. I’ve seen the movies (both the A&E version with Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle and the one w/ Matthew MacFadyen and Keira Knightley). Loved them both and loved the book as well.

So why am I so conflicted? Well, it’s because I do love the story of Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennett so much. When P&P ends, so does the story. Well, it doesn’t but I knew in my heart that they would go on to have a wonderful loving relationship.

In this book, not so much. The book starts on the day of the wedding. It shows how happy Mr. Darcy & Lizzy are to finally be married. Then, everything changes and not for the better. Honestly, while reading this book, I felt like I was in the middle of a gothic novel. Everything fell apart on the wedding night and it took the rest of the book to get everything resolved.

It’s not to say that this book is bad. On the contrary, it was actually a really good book. It just might have been better if it had NOT been the “sequel” to Pride & Prejudice. It felt like the author had taken the humor and passion from P&P and the gothic feel of Northanger Abbey and tossed them together.

This book had a LOT of angst. A LOT! Every time you felt things had finally gotten resolved, something new was thrown into the fray and the insanity started all over again. I have to say this book was one of the most exhausting books to read due to the up-and-down emotions throughout the ENTIRE story. It got to the point where I was just…tired!

I think I can sum this book up better doing my standard good & bad list, so here you go.

The Good:

Lizzy. Lizzy was written so well. Kept true to the character created in P&P, but new quirks have been thrown in, giving her more depth. The fact that she was able to put up with the nonsense Darcy put her through and the fact that she had the ability to laugh in the face of such adversity makes her outstanding in my book.

Georgiana-In P&P we don’t get to know Georgiana all that much. She likes music and adores her older brother. Okay, but what else? In this book, her character is delved into and she becomes something that actually really impressed me. She’s strong when others are weak and she grows up a LOT in this book.

Charles & Jane-Written just as you’d expect them to be.

The Secondary Characters (for the most part)-They all play a major part in the story. Some were just plain annoying, but they were needed for the way the story was written.

The Setting: It’s PEMBERLEY! ‘Nuff said.

The Bad:

Darcy-I never thought I’d see the day where I would hate Mr. Darcy, but I’ve got to tell you…I HATED him in this book! Whiny and disturbed. He was either crying or having a temper tantrum. It got to the point where I just wanted to slap him upside the head and yell “Get over it already!” His personality kept changing as well. One minute he was so in love and happy and the next he was a freaked out lunatic raving about town. It was like he had multiple-personality disorder or a very serious case of manic depression. I loved Darcy in P&P, but he drove me completely up the wall in this book.

Caroline Bingley-*icky shiver* Oh my goodness! Okay, so I hated her in P&P, but I also kind of understood her. She loved Darcy and wanted him for herself. That a woman of lower social standing “won” him royally screwed with her head and basically, in this book, she lost her mind. I don’t think I’ve ever come across a more psychotic character than her. And how her story was resolved? It totally did NOT fit with how the character had been established in either P&P or in this book.

The “Drama”: The drama that ensues in this book is completely and totally insane. Every time I turned around, the insanity just kept going. There seemed to be no quiet time. It was a constant barrage of bad things over and over and over and over again. Just as I thought things were resolved, BAM another drama hit. It was exhausting. I know, I used that word before, but it totally fits.

And so, by this point, you probably think that I hated this book, which is not the case. That’s why I said I was so conflicted. I think if this book had just been about any old couple, it would’ve been phenomenal. Angsty, yes, but phenomenal. But, because it was written about one of my all-time favorite couples, it’s harder to like it.

A conundrum, I tell you! Argh! But, it was well-written (even though it was an unedited edition, the typos were minimal and the writing was very clean) and you could tell that the writer was really enjoying herself.

My final grade: A B+ for the idea and overall story, a D for Mr. Darcy (poor Mr. Darcy) and a C- for the romance, which tallies up to a C for the book. I think if Mr. Darcy had been written a little more like he had in P&P, this book would’ve been a lot better. Instead, his inability to control his emotions and the lack of communication between him & Lizzy almost ruined this story completely.


Eva S said...

I don't think I want to read this book!! I want to keep the happy ending...

Lady of the Review said...

It is a happy ending, it just takes forever to get there. :)

orannia said...

I suggested to my best friend earlier this month that she include an Angst Tolerance Scale when as part of her book review...sounds like this books definitely need a high rating :)

Sharon Lathan said...

Interesting Bridget. I haven't read this as I avoid all sequels for obvious reason. What is intriguing to me is the level of angst. I wonder what the general consensus of reviews are. I get a small amount of c**p for my novel being too sweet - with some justification I agree - but I simply do not understand the need to throw endless misery between Lizzy and Darcy. Yet, that seems to be what many folks prefer. Now I can direct the anti-Sharon Lathan's-happily-ever-after crowd to this book! LOL!