First published in 2011
Faber & Faber, paperback, 330p.
Dancing, Merriment... and Murder
The year is 1803. Darcy and Elizabeth have been married for six years, and the orderly world of Pemberley seems unassailable. But all this is threatened when, on the eve of the annual ball, a chaise appears, rocking down the path from Pemberley's wild woodland. As it pulls up, Lydia Wickham - Elizabeth's younger, unreliable sister - stumbles out screaming that her husband has been murdered.
Death to Pemberley is one of the biggest bookish disappointments I've had. I love Pride & Prejudice. The BBC adaptation from 1995 was amazing. The characters memorable, the story witty and watching Darcy and Lizzy find each other leaves you with the warm fuzzies. When I read, or watch, P&P I often wonder what could have been had Austen written a sequel. Yet, this adaptation was complete and utter crap! It took all my fangirl dreams and shattered them.
It has been nearly a year since I started reading this book, and after getting just over a third of the way through last January, I have not been able to make myself go back and read it. I don't care if Wickham did it (I seriously doubt it, because I couldn't be that lucky!), or if Lydia ever leaves Pemberley. I have post-it notes lining the pages I did read, with annotations everywhere, marking out inconsistencies, annoying rehashing of information the reader should already know, because only an Austenite would attempt to read this!, or just things that seemed out of place...
"I take it, Belcher, that your clever scientific colleagues have not yet found a way of distinguishing one man's blood from another's? We would welcome such assistance..." p.108
Seriously, blood typing didn't become a 'thing' until the beginning of the 20th century (1901), let alone 1803! Such inconsistencies annoy me. I doubt that the medical community had any idea of the existence of blood types, let alone the investigative capabilities it might provide.
Apart from that, I found the characters to be pale shadows of the originals, the dialogue annoying and this has really put me off trying any of P.D. James's other works as she has butchered this retelling/adaptation.
So after a year of trying, Death Comes to Pemberley has officially become my first DNF!
If you love P&P, and don't want to spoil your love of the story, then I advise you to skip this. Watch the marginally better BBC adaptation if you must find out what happened.
Well, that's all I have to say about Death Comes to Pemberley. I can now put it on the bookshelf somewhere and forget about it.
Do you agree with my review, or did you love it? Let me know below as I'd love to hear your thoughts on this book.
Until next time,