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message 1: by SarahC, Austen Votary & Mods' Asst. (new)

SarahC (sarahcarmack) | 1473 comments Mod
Here you can post any comments you would like, including plot giveaways and your final conclusions.


message 2: by [deleted user] (new)

*******************SPOILER ALERT*********************

All right, I'll start. I have to admit that I gave up on this book at about page 150. It just seemed to ramble on about everything and nothing. The author threw in a lot of arcane historical references (like Hostess cupcakes) that didn't really add anything to the story. I also couldn't see what the girl saw in her pilot boyfriend (sorry, I've already forgotten the names).

The only part I really enjoyed was reading the letters. It was an interesting plot twist to have Darcy and Anne be friends and confidants.


message 3: by SarahC, Austen Votary & Mods' Asst. (new)

SarahC (sarahcarmack) | 1473 comments Mod
Ok, Jeannette has entered her thoughts on the writing for one thing. There are some things about this book that can make it slow-going. I wanted to talk about several of those too as we go along.

I also want to ask member views on the genre or type of book Pemberley seems to ultimately be. It seems to be not so much an Austen continuation or retelling as an Austen tribute which takes place along with a story that is heavily historical fiction.

I am hoping we can get some comments going on what Jeannette and I have brought up. I am always so interested in what authors set out to achieve and where books fall within "genres" that I would love to talk about this.

Anyone have any comments? If you have read or are reading Pemberley, are there books you could compare it to? (not necessarily in the field of Austen, but maybe in connection with other classics or historical fiction)


message 4: by Shaun (new)

Shaun | 123 comments I just finished it and I had a hard time thinking about whether or not it was a contemporary fiction or not. I liked it because it was about a time that I was interested in (1940's). So is it a historical fiction? I thought it was a nice interweave with the P&P "mystery"? I am actually brain-dead today, so I can't really say if I read anything similar. For some reason, I did like the little non-essential details because it helped me to understand the time. I'm going to explore the page for this book, so I'll let you know if there is any more info!


message 5: by [deleted user] (new)

I felt that the author intended it to be historical fiction as well as a "pseudo-history" of the "real" Darcy family. The author seems to have researched post-war England and Europe quite a bit, too.


message 6: by SarahC, Austen Votary & Mods' Asst. (new)

SarahC (sarahcarmack) | 1473 comments Mod
Shaun wrote: "I just finished it and I had a hard time thinking about whether or not it was a contemporary fiction or not. I liked it because it was about a time that I was interested in (1940's). So is it a h..."

Shaun, I will also have to add more comments later, but good point -- is it contemporary or historical? I see what you mean -- when part of the plot is mid-20th c., it is pretty contemporary with many of us. I have a hard time with book categories, I will have to say. To describe it to others, especially younger adults, I would call it historical because I look at all the details, all the historical information given about the war era. The book was filled to the brim with it. All those long narratives about historical events, details of the war, service within the military, etc. In comparison, some novels actually written in that era would not have included all the detail. In other words, a book I just finished, I Capture the Castle, would not be historical fiction, because it wasn't about all the happenings of that era, just about the characters, the family, coming of age, etc.

That is why I would lean Searching for Pemberley toward historical fiction.


message 7: by [deleted user] (new)

Thanks Sarah, that's a perspective I hadn't thought of. As the author made the historical details so important, I consider it historical fiction. In the same line of thought, I don't consider Austen to be historical fiction. Am I following you correctly here?


message 8: by SarahC, Austen Votary & Mods' Asst. (new)

SarahC (sarahcarmack) | 1473 comments Mod
That was the direction of my thinking. Austen is a classic to us, but was mainly writing general fiction. The historical fiction tag would include characters intermingling with the historical figures of that period or involved in the wars, politics (like all the Tudor novels), etc. Or maybe even great changes in society, like in the U.S., stories of pioneers, the Westward Expansion, describing in details the travels, the land, how the settlements were built. I think those would be more in the historical fiction category. At the time Austen wrote, she was writing contemporary fiction! (funny really to think of)


message 9: by Shaun (new)

Shaun | 123 comments Yes! I agree. Austen was writing contemporary fiction--which I felt was more modern for her time. I'm reading Northanger Abbey and I'm just really amazed about her characterizations and wit! There aren't a lot of authors that wrote like that during her time! I could almost imagine Jane herself talking to the audience, in between telling us Catherine's story--which I think is contemporary even now.


message 10: by SarahC, Austen Votary & Mods' Asst. (last edited Mar 08, 2010 04:36AM) (new)

SarahC (sarahcarmack) | 1473 comments Mod
Did anyone find the tone or Simonsen's way of telling this story unusual? It just seemed the story builds oddly. The story of Maggie's romance with Rob is meant to build the tension of the plot. However, there was such a brief set up to their relationship. They seemed to meet, no big deal. Then there was all that conversation about other women and venereal disease. And then she seemed all too suddenly in love with him to the point she is willing to begin an intimate relationship. I didn't feel that readers even have a chance to LIKE him, much less Maggie fall in LOVE with him. She almost says something like, "yeah, I decided I was in love with him, so we went up to his place."

Am I being too critical?


message 11: by [deleted user] (new)

He certainly didn't make an obvious effort to "woo" her. And the bit with rose on the pillow made him appear to me to be quite confident of his abilities to get her into bed. Quite a calculated move on his part.


message 12: by Shaun (new)

Shaun | 123 comments I agree. I wonder if it is a note of the times though? I saw this classic movie from the 40's, where the guy meets the girl and boom they have sex and then she's pregnant, but he dies. I guess it's that feeling that you may not get another chance to make a connection, so make it fast?


message 13: by [deleted user] (new)

Shaun wrote: "I agree. I wonder if it is a note of the times though? I saw this classic movie from the 40's, where the guy meets the girl and boom they have sex and then she's pregnant, but he dies. I guess i..."

I could see that if the book took place during the war, but this was set in post WWII, wasn't it? Maggie was hoping for marriage, too.


message 14: by Shaun (new)

Shaun | 123 comments Hm...I think so! I can't remember now! I kind of felt that there was some disconnect with Maggie's feelings throughout the book except for when she was with Michael. But did she like Michael or is it the family history? And Rob was a good guy, but he wasn't a good guy. You are right, he was very calculating with the rose.


message 15: by Kim (new)

Kim | 181 comments I finished this book over the weekend (I started later since I'm still sort of new to the group!) Was anyone else completely confused with all the names of the Lacey and Garrison families and how they're all related to the P & P people? There were so many names I thought I was going to have to draw a family tree. I enjoy history so I liked having that as part of the story, but I agree with what has been said in the posts above. I also felt that the relationship with Rob went from a first date to love all of a sudden too. All in all it wasn't terrible, but it wasn't amazing either. I wished there was more about the P & P characters.


message 16: by [deleted user] (new)

Have you looked through the group bookshelves, Kim. We are trying to the sequel list up-to-date. There are quite a few P&P re-tellings and sequels on the shelf.


message 17: by Kim (new)

Kim | 181 comments I'm a hugeeee P & P sequel fan. I'd love to add some to the shelves if there are some I've read that aren't there. I recently finished reading Persuasion again and am looking to start some Persuasion sequels. I finished Captain Wentworth's Diary this weekend. If you have any suggestions not on the bookshelves I'd love to hear them!


message 18: by [deleted user] (new)

Kim wrote: "I'm a hugeeee P & P sequel fan. I'd love to add some to the shelves if there are some I've read that aren't there. I recently finished reading Persuasion again and am looking to start some Persua..."

Please add any that you don't see! I am working on moving books from the group's posts and my own shelves. Something I should have started on a few months ago! If you have any questions about which shelves to put a book on, you can send a message to me or Sarah. Happy browsing!


message 19: by Kim (new)

Kim | 181 comments I just added everything I could think of off the top of my head - as I read more I'll try and remember to add them to the bookshelves.


message 20: by SarahC, Austen Votary & Mods' Asst. (new)

SarahC (sarahcarmack) | 1473 comments Mod
Kim wrote: "I finished this book over the weekend (I started later since I'm still sort of new to the group!) Was anyone else completely confused with all the names of the Lacey and Garrison families and how t..."

Well, Kim, I don't think we can soften our critique of this book really, because frankly Austen fans are pretty exacting. Simonsen wrote a very long story and filled it with a lot of parallel characters, right? That, in itself, takes some effort by the reader. Also, I found two spots where it seems even she confused the Austen characters with their Simonsen counterparts. I think I have the actual pages marked in my notes. For example, in one sentence she says Will Lacy of Pemberley.

I could not figure out if this was intentional or an editing problem.

Also I think with a novel this long, readers probably wanted a better evolution of the relationship between Maggie and Rob. Otherwise, what is she saying? The story is about the huge question in Maggie's life -- does she accept this man? but the reader is hesitant because we haven't been given anything from Rob to make an impression on us. IMO, of course.


message 21: by Kim (new)

Kim | 181 comments I also noticed the confusion between characters at some points!! Glad I wasn't the only one! I totally agree with a better evolution of the relationship between Maggie and Rob. But even between her and Michael as well. I am wondering if she's writing a sequel to this based on the way she ended it. Does anyone know?


message 22: by SarahC, Austen Votary & Mods' Asst. (new)

SarahC (sarahcarmack) | 1473 comments Mod
*****************spoiler***********************

From what I understand this publication is the sequel... in other words the original book stopped somewhere in the middle of what we just read, but then it was republished under this current title to include her finally getting together with Michael. I either saw that in some online interviews or maybe her own website.


message 23: by Kim (new)

Kim | 181 comments oh wow - that's really interesting. I can't imagine what the original ending was! So strange!


message 24: by Grace (new)

Grace (graycie) | 15 comments I also found the many characters in this book to be confusing. And I felt like sometimes there was irrelevant information that made me lose interest in the story. Maggie spent more time with the Crowells than she did with Rob. So I agree that their relationship needed more development. Overall, I didn't really care much for Maggie or this book.


message 25: by Kim (new)

Kim | 181 comments Did anyone else love Michael!?


message 26: by SarahC, Austen Votary & Mods' Asst. (new)

SarahC (sarahcarmack) | 1473 comments Mod
Michael had more potential. Maybe it is that Darcy blood in his bloodline -- ha ha Simonsen adds a little more element to the Mag/Michael relationship -- the ships passing in the night kind of thing. And ultimately we see him dealing with Maggie's odd family and townfolk (these folk did seem to be a little forced with their crusty personalities). So Michael has more real scenes and dialog I think.


message 27: by SarahC, Austen Votary & Mods' Asst. (new)

SarahC (sarahcarmack) | 1473 comments Mod
Grace wrote: "I also found the many characters in this book to be confusing. And I felt like sometimes there was irrelevant information that made me lose interest in the story. Maggie spent more time with the Cr..."

I guess we discussed this a little in the thread above too. There is a lot of historical information, but we aren't really made to understand that it will be that kind of book when we first pick it up.


message 28: by [deleted user] (new)

Kimberly wrote: "I just added everything I could think of off the top of my head - as I read more I'll try and remember to add them to the bookshelves."

Thanks, Kimberly, for adding so many books! :)


message 29: by Shaun (new)

Shaun | 123 comments I liked Michael, but I wasn't sure how his illness fit into all of this. I liked their relationship developing better than with Rob, but I kind of felt that Maggie kept people at an arm's length. Not sure if that was because of her upbringing or if there was something there that I missed.


message 30: by Danielle (new)

Danielle | 1 comments I read the original book, Pemberley Remembered, a couple of years back and the book ends with Maggie trying to decide whether to stay in England or not, which is really a decision of whether she picks Rob (leave England) or Michael (stay in England). I just finished reading Searching for Pemberley and it is the Pembereley Remembered storyline with the conclusion of who Maggie picks.

Searching for Pemberely definitely picks up more of Michael's storyline because I remember after I finished reading Pemberley Remembered that I didn't understanding why Michael would be interested in Maggie (and vice versa) because they hardly have any interaction in the book. Even though Searching for Pemberely expands more on Maggie's and Michael's relationship I felt the book dragged on in the end.

The book was interesting from a historical point of view but the story itself and Maggie's search for love wasn't all that compelling. There were too many secondary characters who didn't contribute much to the storyline (Geoff and all the other characters from the London house she lived in) and not enough exploration of her respective relationship with Rob and Michael. What does she see in either of them? Why does she feel torn between two men who were not all that different (i.e., both are pilots, not Catholic, had relationships with women they didn't care for, good looking, flirty, someone who can take her out of Minooka, etc.)? What differences there are between the two of them seem overly simplified (e.g., one is British and the other American, one is ambivalent about her and the other one adores her). Not a great love story but pretty interesting if readers are into the historical aspect.


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