Saturday, December 18, 2010

North by Northanger

North by Northanger: Or, The Shades of Pemberley. A Mr. & Mrs. Darcy Mystery. Carrie Bebris. 2006. Tor. 320 pages.

Less than a year into the marriage that made her mistress of one of England's finest houses, Elizabeth Darcy knew she still had much to learn about the place she now called home. Of one thing, however, she was certain. A ghost haunted Pemberley.
She was not a ghost in the traditional sense. She did not moan, or shriek, or rattle chains. She did cause rooms to grow cold, objects to fall, or fires to sputter. She did not manifest at midnight to pace on creaking floorboards, visiting in death the rooms she had occupied in life.
Yet the continued presence of Lady Anne Fitzwilliam Darcy was as real and pervasive as that of any spectre.

I definitely enjoyed Pride and Prescience, the first in Carrie Bebris' series of mysteries starring Elizabeth and Darcy. Sadly, my library does not have the second volume in this series, Suspense and Sensibility: Or, First Impressions Revisited, so I was unable to read it. (Though based on B&N's description, it unites characters from Sense & Sensibility with Pride and Prejudice. Specifically a Bennet sister with a Dashwood cousin.) But. I was delighted to pick the third one up!

Elizabeth is pregnant with their first child. And while she's not as nervous as her husband, she's not completely anxiety free. Distractions exist to keep her mind off of upcoming labor, however. She discovers a letter from Darcy's mother. It's addressed to her, to Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy. It was written the day of Lady Anne's death--the day Darcy's sister was born. She speaks of a charm, a statue, that she has hidden but could not find in her time of need. Something that she hoped would protect her and her unborn child. Elizabeth shares this with her husband, of course, and one mystery begins.

It is a mystery that will--for better or worse--lead them to Northanger Abbey and the questionable Tilney family.

This one is a mystery. It is intense in places--as Darcy is charged with a crime he did not commit. But it is also a charming read with plenty of wit and humor. In part, because Lady Catherine is (by necessity) on an extended visit to Pemberley (until Darcy's trial can be held). Can Elizabeth tolerate Lady Catherine during these difficult months? Can she tolerate her "advice"? Can she work with her husband to prove his innocence?

I enjoyed spending time with these characters. I'm still loving Bebris' interpretation of Darcy and Elizabeth. Still finding her characters, and her stories satisfying.

© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Laurel Ann (Austenprose) 12:25 AM  

I love this series too Becky. Bebris is a very talented writer and a true Janeite. Thanks for the great review. Ask you library to buy the entire series!!!!

Lisa 3:50 PM  

I look forward to reading this series, I love Jane Austen and reread her works often.

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