Ceri's Reviews > From This Day Forward - The Darcys of Pemberley

From This Day Forward - The Darcys of Pemberley by Joana Starnes
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really liked it
bookshelves: austen-inspired, austen-sequel

Although Elizabeth stated in Pride and Prejudice that since Darcy was a gentleman and she was a gentleman’s daughter they were equal it wasn't strictly accurate; they lived in very different worlds. Darcy’s estate was much larger than the Bennets' so even if Elizabeth was well-versed in the duties that she’d need to fulfil as mistress of a home being the mistress of a grand estate may well have been daunting. Also, Elizabeth had very likely never navigated London’s fashionable circles, something she’d need to do successfully to ensure a good marriage for Georgiana as well as for any children that she and Darcy would have. I’ve often wondered whether she’d struggle or if it would be plain sailing.

Joana Starne’s story picks up 9 days after Darcy and Elizabeth’s wedding. When the story begins we find a few obstacles that Elizabeth has already encountered; the housekeeper at the London townhouse is unwelcoming towards her and Lady Catherine is not the only one of Darcy’s Fitzwilliam relatives that is opposed to his marriage to Elizabeth. With the exception of Colonel Fitzwilliam, none of the Fitzwilliams are welcoming to Elizabeth. If Elizabeth had come from the same social circle as Darcy she would have been able to rely on the support of her own family but of course, this isn’t the case, as her parents don’t have the connections to be able to launch her into society. Luckily some of Darcy’s more distant relations are more amenable and agree to assist.

The book follows the events of the Darcy household over the next few years. Darcy and Elizabeth are a very loving couple (although don’t worry if you don’t like sex scenes, there are none in this book). We see them settle into their roles as husband and wife, and see how much they come to rely on each other, particularly in the face of his family’s opposition. Elizabeth breathes life into the rather staid Darcy household that has been missing since the death of Lady Anne. The growing relationship between Elizabeth and Georgiana is lovely to see, and Elizabeth really helps Georgiana grow and find confidence in herself, something that is vital for Georgiana’s launch into society. The book is as much about Georgiana and her blossoming into womanhood as it is about Elizabeth and Darcy. The family face a number of hurdles, some harder to overcome than others and we will get the opportunity to see how well Mr and Mrs Darcy have overcome their old faults of hasty judgement and distain for the feelings of others.

Although I enjoyed the book from the outset it took a good while to grip me. It was fairly slow going at the beginning, and although issues were faced initially they were pretty easily overcome and I’d have liked a bit more tension in the first half of the story. The book has its share of angst but it is concentrated, so it hits you even harder when it arrives.

Both Elizabeth and Darcy’s families appear in the book. I felt the depiction of the Bennet side of the family was generally faithful to Pride and Prejudice, aside from the Gardiner’s sons who were older than canon. In the world of Austenesque fiction you often find Mrs Bennet drawn very harshly, but here I felt she was properly represented in all her embarrassing glory and you couldn’t help wincing at some of her comments, but also sympathising with her when she succeeded in her life’s ambition of marrying off all her daughters and then felt bereft. I’d have liked to have seen a bit more of Elizabeth’s sisters. As for Darcy’s family, both Colonel Fitzwilliam and Lady Catherine feature in this story, and we meet the more distant relatives who assist Lizzy’s launch to society. The connection between Darcy and these relatives is described in a bit too much detail for me, I read the paragraph about 5 times before I had it straight in my mind, but distant cousin pretty much covers it!

One thing I particularly liked about this book was the humour, such as this gem showing Miss Bingley’s views of the Christmas entertainment at Pemberley:
‘ “What game is that, pray?” Lady Mellor’s youngest piped up, understandably inexperienced in what passed for entertainment in Cheapside and the wilds of Hertfordshire.’

We see three Christmases in this book, the first two Christmases following Elizabeth and Mr Darcy’s wedding which form a stark contrast to each other, and the third Christmas celebration in the epilogue, 24 years down the line where we get the chance to catch up with the futures of many of the characters. Personally, I love an epilogue, and the epilogue in this book I particularly enjoyed.

*I received a copy of this book courtesy of Leatherbound Reviews in return for this honest review.
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Reading Progress

May 6, 2013 – Shelved
May 6, 2013 – Shelved as: to-read
September 6, 2013 – Started Reading
September 6, 2013 –
page 115
September 10, 2013 –
page 174
September 12, 2013 –
page 212
September 14, 2013 –
page 294
September 15, 2013 – Shelved as: austen-inspired
September 15, 2013 – Shelved as: austen-sequel
September 15, 2013 – Finished Reading

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