**spoiler alert** Definitely a good read. It was a mystery, well-written and in the Regency style (via the blurb on the back of the book), and had a g...more**spoiler alert** Definitely a good read. It was a mystery, well-written and in the Regency style (via the blurb on the back of the book), and had a good buildup of suspense and drama (plenty of drama!), as well as the key elements first introduced in Pride and Prejudice: the importance of family and finding a good match.
I actually enjoyed reading this much more than the original Pride and Prejudice. This book was sort of a "sequel" in which Elizabeth and Darcy have been married a year, are Mistress and Master of Pemberley and are very, very, very much in love. An unexpected winter storm strands a diverse group of people at Pemberley, a few of which the Darcys know, including Elizabeth's sister Lydia (sans husband), viscount Stafford (who apparently knew Darcy's cousin colonel Edward) and Nigel Worth, a lawyer who knows Darcy because of his dealings with paying of Mr. Wickham's gambling debts, and Darcy's cousin Anne de Bough and his estranged Aunt, Lady Catherine. There's also the viscount's mistress and a naval widow, and Anne's maid, Mrs. Jenkinson. Elizabeth and Darcy were only supposed to host Lydia and Darcy's cousin and aunt, but took pity on those he knew stranded at the station where they picked up Lydia.
Meanwhile, just before taking home so many guests, Elizabeth and Darcy (and Darcy's sister Georgiana) started noticing strange figures lurking around the Pemberley grounds and in the house, hearing strange sounds, noticing objects like candle holders and bedding and food disappearing. With all the guests, the strange events slowly began to escalate, from petty theft to acts of vandalism and mischief and then to murder.
It's sort of a detective story, but not really, but Darcy and Elizabeth are hardly amateur sleuths, but they do their best. They are still baffled by the occurrences, and have no idea how the "phantom(s)" are getting around the house and how he/she/it/they is/are not being noticed by anyone other than Darcy's staff.
In between the mystery parts matches are being made, and love is being declared (sometimes over and over and over and over again), honors and reputations are being tested, and the plot of Pride and Prejudice is being rehashed (again, sometimes over and over and over and over). Some of this dragged for me; I kept putting the book down and coming back to it, and I was happy to get to the end of the book. The idea of this particular plot (with all its twists and turns) was interesting enough, and at first, it was sort of page turner where I wanted to know what would happen next, but there were too many subplots and the above mentioned for it to keep the good momentum from the beginning. I don't regret buying it or reading it though, it was fun and interesting, and there were solid resolutions to all the subplots and for the characters left in "limbo" in at the end of Pride and Prejudice, like Anne, Georgiana, and even Lady Catherine. The only one who made out terribly was Lydia, but the resolution for her was probably for the best, given the situation.
At the end of the book, there's a few pages of some history regarding mental illness and split personalities in the Victorian area—how there were mental illnesses documented, but without the names that we have today to label them with. I kind of skimmed it, but it was nice to have a touch of history to make a plot point more relevant. (less)
**spoiler alert** This is definitely a different—yet kind of cool, especially if you like vampires—take on Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice" novel,...more**spoiler alert** This is definitely a different—yet kind of cool, especially if you like vampires—take on Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice" novel, at least, the continuation of it. (And if you haven't read Jane Austen's novel, don't fear, since Amanda Grange summarizes quite a bit key plot points from "Pride and Prejudice". After a while, you might just wish Elizabeth would stop whining about missing Longbourn and Jane so much!) It's almost a "modern" Gothic novel (at least, modernly written)—it has all the hallmarks of a Gothic novel: romance, supernatural occurrences, ancient evil villains, love conquering all, a curse, and a mystery nearly kept entirely from the heroine—Elizabeth—till just about the climax.
I enjoyed reading this more than "Pride and Prejudice" because I like vampires, and I also like retellings of stories and fairy tales and mythologies. I sort of loved how parts of "Pride and Prejudice" were retold to incorporate the vampire mythology, as well as the near extreme measures taken to keep Elizabeth Bennett out of the Darcy family, and why Darcy behaved "really" in such a cold manner towards Elizabeth. I wasn't ever completely comfortable with the author's style of writing, which was sort of "detached" (but this could also be because the story dealt more with the plot, especially the heavy descriptions of traveling from place to place to place, and parties and new characters, rather than divulging the characters' innermost thoughts), but I did think it suited the story overall.
I was expecting Elizabeth to be turned into a vampire and was surprised when it didn't happen—even more surprised when it turned out there was a way to reverse Darcy's "curse". I also kept expecting Elizabeth and Darcy to sleep together, but each time a dramatic moment arose when it might occur, it just as quickly stopped. After Elizabeth finally found out about Darcy's curse, I was almost a little bored—thinking the story could only end one of two ways—Elizabeth turning into a vampire, or Elizabeth somehow managing to kill Darcy, but my boredom didn't last more than a few pages. I liked the journey into the ancient, buried temple to attempt the ordeal of un-making Darcy a vampire. Overall, the novel was a lot of fun. (less)
This book started off so well, at least for the first 40-50 pages. At page 66, however, I grew bored with the plot and the characters. I decided I rea...moreThis book started off so well, at least for the first 40-50 pages. At page 66, however, I grew bored with the plot and the characters. I decided I really didn't care about Gilly's life at Macbeth's castle, trying to get a spare moment to kill him and seek out her revenge, whatever that was for. Disappointed. (less)