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Pemberley Shades: Pride and Prejudice Continues Paperback – 1 Sep 2008


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Product details

  • Paperback: 376 pages
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark (1 Sep 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1402214383
  • ISBN-13: 978-1402214387
  • Product Dimensions: 1.3 x 14 x 19 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 766,790 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Loved it to say that this was written in the forties/fifties the story for me is a just is the best. It is a great page turner and I read it in one sweep.
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0 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Phredd on 19 Jun 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
You need to bear in mind that this was originally published in 1949, it helps explain the "post-war" language. I found it lacked wit and was slow-moving, wordy and ponderous, with far too much leaping unexpectedly out of bushes and bearing of souls by strange characters.
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Amazon.com: 22 reviews
36 of 36 people found the following review helpful
A Classic Austen Sequel Re-visited 9 Sep 2008
By Laurel Ann - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
It is with great pleasure that I learned that the classic Pride and Prejudice sequel, Pemberley Shades by Dorothy Alice Bonavia-Hunt, would be re-issued in September by Sourcebooks. Originally published in 1949, it was the second Jane Austen sequel ever to be written and not easily available for purchase unless you were lucky enough to find a small boutique publisher's edition or a second-hand copy offered at outrageous prices for a first edition. Having existed as the ultimate mysterious and allusive Austen sequel for many years, the wait is now over and the enjoyment can begin. However, what the heck are Pemberley Shades?

My educated hunch is that it refers to his passage in Pride and Prejudice when Lady Catherine de Bourgh is interrogating the heroine Elizabeth Bennet in chapter 56.

"Heaven and earth -- of what are you thinking? Are the shades of Pemberley to be thus polluted?"

As a novice reader I didn't quite understand Lady Catherine's reference to the shades of Pemberley. In ancient Roman times, shades were referred to as dead relatives. Lady Catherine's use of the word refers to Mr. Darcy's illustrious ancestors whose memory would be tainted by the association with the Bennet family who were recently humiliated by the infamous elopement of its youngest daughter Lydia. Taken in context, author D.A. Bonavia-Hunt knew exactly what Austen was implying and used it as a clever play on words for the title of her novel. And what a perfect match it is to the tone of her book which has an underlying thread of hidden life stories, family honor and dis-honor throughout.

Pemberley Shades is true to Austen's style in that it begins with a significant life change and end with a marriage. It has been four years since Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy married and their pastoral life at Pemberley with their young son Richard is close to perfect until the death of the parish minister sets a course of peculiar events into play that recall a plot in one of the Gothic novels so popular during Austen's life.

"Who could have foretold that Dr, Robinson, who had done nothing of note in all his lifetime should, by the common and natural act of dying, set in motion a train of events so strange, so startling, so far removed from probability, as to emulate the riotous fancies of a disordered mind?"

Eager to fill the vacancy, Darcy advertises for the position of Rector of Pemberley determined to find a better man to lead the parish. Among the many applicants is one from his wife's cousin (yes the odious one himself) Rev. Mr. Collins, anxious for a new situation away from Hunsford since he has fallen out with his benefactress Lady Catherine de Borough. "I fear to mention that I have lost that unqualified approbation with which your aunt, Lady Catherine de Bourgh, was wont to distinguish me." Lady Catherine believes that he had a hand in promoting the marriage of his cousin Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy. Knowing that a life of sermons by Mr. Collins would be Purgatory, Mr. Darcy is pressed for a reason to put him off and invites applicant Rev. Mr. Steven Acworth who is also the brother of school friend to Pemberley for an extended stay to see if it is a good match. Mr. Acworth is recently widowed and according to his brother deeply affected by the loss. It does not take long for everyone including Mrs. Darcy to doubt his suitability for the position. His behavior is perplexing. One moment he is all charm and affability, the next dark and morose. This disturbs Elizabeth and Darcy who conclude that he would not suit as Rector, but are compelled to keep him on as a house guest as a favor to his brother.

The majority of the plot line revolves around Georgiana Darcy, Mr. Darcy's younger sister age 20, single and residing at Pemberley. Now a proficient musician on the pianoforte, Elizabeth and Darcy are concerned that her intensity verges on eccentricity, making her dreamy and unsocial. They think it is time she should marry. Three suitors are interested; Rev. Mr. Mortimer the second son of a local gentry who are in financial decline for several generations, Major Francis Wakeford age 32, a wounded war veteran and cousin to Mr. Darcy with no bright prospects of wealth or position, and the creepy Rev. Mr. Acworth who shares a passion for music with Georgian and a mysterious hold over her. Not a very promising selection for the heiress of Pemberley with a £30,000 dowry. Or so it appears.

Many of the characters from Jane Austen's novel make their summer visit to Pemberley Manor; Charles and Jane Bingley and their two young daughters, Mr. Bennet sans Mrs. Bennet (with little explanation, but does she deserve one?), Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner, Lady Catherine de Bourgh and daughter Anne (quite a surprise which is thoughtfully explained), and Kitty Bennet who adds a bit of theatrical drama and energy to the palatial manor! New characters are included that blend in so seamlessly that it is a logical transition into this continuation. Ms. Bonavia-Hunt has full comand of Jane Austen's style and knowledge of the plot and her characters. The letter that Mr. Collins writes to Darcy in application for the position of Rector is priceless. I never forget that this is not a Jane Austen novel, but her use of early 19th-century language and style is effortless and engaging.

The plot has many turns and surprises, shadowed by a lingering mystery which keeps one on edge and turning the next page to discover a resolution. I now understand why this novel holds such a special place in the Jane Austen sequel cannon. It is amazing to acknowledge that it was written close to sixty years ago before Jane Austen became a Hollywood star or pop cult icon. Ms. Bonavia-Hunt was writing for a genre that would not come to fruition for another fifty years and that is an incredible achievement. It is sad that we know so little about her or her motivations to write Pemberley Shades, but her legacy to us has withheld and will endure. In comparison to today's plethora of Austen sequels about, it reigns in my estimation as one of the best ever written.

Laurel Ann, Austenprose
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
A Must-Read for Jane Austen Sequel Fans! 23 July 2009
By Meredith - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Unlike some sequels that start immediately where "Pride and Prejudice" ends, in "Pemberley Shades" we drop in on the Darcy's during their third year of marriage. We see that things haves settled nicely for them, they have established a routine, and learned much about each other. In the midst of this "happily ever after" Darcy searches for a new rector for his parish and has trouble finding anyone who can measure up to his standards (he most likely will not choose anyone who gives any resemblance to Mr. Collins!) Darcy invites one of his candidates (Stephen Acworth) for rector to come to Pemberley for a six week stay. While in London, Darcy runs into his cousin Major Wakeford who is recovering from war injuries and also invites him to stay at Pemberley. Now with two new strangers and members of both families visiting at Pemberley all sorts of exciting events may unfold!!

Upon meeting Stephen Acworth, the Darcy family is a little hesitant and distrustful of him, they can't figure out why, but his manners, things he say, his looks all make them feel that something about him isn't quite right. Is he really interested in becoming the rector at Pemberley or did he have ulterior motives for coming there?

I found this to be one of the most enjoyable sequels of Pride and Prejudice I have yet to read! I loved the intrigue about Stephen Acworth and how the author kept us guessing until the end. I loved reading more about some of our favorite characters: Kitty, Georgiana, and Anne de Bourgh all have a little time in the spotlight in this sequel and I enjoyed their storylines. Darcy and Elizabeth are a loving couple that banter quite frequently and you can still see the sparks fly between them. Mr. Bennet is there with his dry wit, Mrs. Gardiner is there with guidance and support, Jane with her thinking the best of everyone, and Lady Catherine with her displeasure with everyone and disparaging remarks. The author did a wonderful job of keeping the characters true to themselves and recognizable. What was odd though, was that we did not see the Hurst's, Mrs. Bennet, Caroline Bingley, COlonel Fitzwilliam, or the Wickham's at all in this sequel. Maybe Ms. Bonavia-Hunt thought she had enough on her plate with the other characters and didn't want to have too many story-lines going on at once?

I highly recommend this book to anyone who looks for good Pride and Prejudice sequels, this is one they will not want to miss! If you would like to see Lizzy and Darcy after marriage and are curious to see what happens to Georgiana, Kitty, and Anne de Bourgh, I think you will enjoy reading this book.

To give you an idea of how this book rates against other Pride and Prejudice sequels I've read (not included retellings or what if possibilities), here's how I would rank them so far:

1. Pemberley Shades: Pride and Prejudice continues
2. Old Friends and New Fancies: An Imaginary Sequel to the Novels of Jane Austen
3. Mr. Darcy Presents His Bride: A Sequel to Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice
4. The Darcys & the Bingleys: A Tale of Two Gentlemen's Marriages to Two Most Devoted Sisters
5. Conviction: a sequel to Jane Austen's Pride & Prejudice
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.5 stars- Okay but not outstanding 12 Jan 2009
By K. Gilligan - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Before writing my review, I should mention that there are other reviews for this book besides those on this page. They are located here-Pemberley Shades (Pemberly Shades)and here-Pemberly Shades. I'm not sure why Amazon doesn't have them all available in the same place, but at the time I'm writing this review, there are 12 reviews between these three places.

As for the story... this Austen sequel was okay. I enjoyed the author's portrayal of Elizabeth and Darcy, and was happy to see that this sequel had quite a bit of Georgiana in it (although it is quite common for most P&P sequels to have her- as they should). I felt, as it seems some other reviewers did, that the plot revolving around the new vicar Stephen Acworth was a little too dark and at times confusing. Overall, there wasn't anything fresh and/or unique about this book. I think the author tried to make it unique by adding the Acworth twist, but in doing so bogged down the story.

I recommend this book for those who enjoy Austen sequels. It flows well enough, but I don't think it's the best out there.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
slow moving and tedious 15 Aug 2012
By L. PIERCE - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This sequel to Pride and Prejudice crawled along at a snail's pace. The storyline, such as it was, was pretty much resolved half way through the book, but the book kept going and going... I don't understand why Darcy put up with the imposter for so long. The excuse given to avoid a scandal would seem to make the getting rid of the imposter as soon as possible all the more imperative. To remove him to a neutral inn or home where he could stay incognito until arrangements could be made for him seems a much better solution. Many problems could have been avoided if people had only behaved reasonably. And the whole storyline with Wakeford seems rather pointless. And who would end up with who was pretty obvious as soon as the characters were introduced. I found myself hoping for the book to end because I'd become thoroughly bored with it.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
One of the better ones 5 Mar 2009
By S. Potter - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is one of the better "sequels" to P&P that I have encountered. The characters ring true to Austen's style, and the pacing is good.

The "slightly gothic" tale revolves arount the odd behavior of the potential new pastor for Pemberly, combined with the odder behavior of Darcy's cousin, Anne De Bourgh. Throw in the Binleys and an unexpected ball to be thrown, and you've got yourself a story with a new angle but firm grasp of Austen's characters and style.

Well worth the read.
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