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on 24 May 2002
Loving 'Pride & Prejudice' and dying to know what married life will hold for the newly-wed Mr and Mrs Darcy. I, like other P&P fans, have searched high and low for a worthy sequel to that classical piece of literature...
To tell the truth, at first glance over 400 pages, this book seemed a heavy read. However, once you start, you will find it hard to actually put it down. There's something new happening on every page, there was events after events, which intertwine and link on. There's a great deal of tension and suspense as well as romance and passion.
The story has an excellent plot. I think Linda Berdoll had skilfully invented some convincing history for some of the characters, this gives them more depth, and gives us more insight into their lives. As well as enhancing the original storyline and characters from 'Pride & Prejudice', Berdoll had created new characters that are believable and vivid.
I appreciate the fact that it is virtually impossible to produce a seamless sequel to this amazing literature classic, especially if you're not Jane Austen (even if she's alive now, I'm sure she'll find 'Pride & Prejudice' a hard one to follow), but there are some horrific mistakes!!
The most unforgivable being ,'Elizabeth Bennet' spelt 'Elisabeth' and 'Pemberley' spelt 'Pemberly'. Some bizarre names given to the existing characters gave away the fact that the author had obviously NOT read the original novel and had based the book entirely on the (Excellent) BBC 1995 adaptation of the story. Mr William Collins, 'Thaddeus'? Old Mr George Darcy, 'Gerald'? And dear Lady Anne Darcy, 'Elinor'? - 'Capital Crime' to a true Austen fan. The spelling hadn't bothered me at first, but after time, it was irritating. Thank goodness she didn't spell Darcy 'Darsy'.
Berdoll had made an effort to imitate Jane Austen's language, this was often successful. However, most of the time, I failed to understand the odd bits of French or Latin she's included in the text. Long sentences inside brackets also proved to be very annoying.
So much for being a sequel for 'Pride & Prejudice', Berdoll had steamed up the story a considerable amount with a more open view towards sex and love. It sometimes made the marriage bond in the Regency period seemed dark and unstable, easily broken by temptation of prostitutes and 'mistresses'. Though credit must be given to this fresh, less obvious and slightly modern approach.
Although I did enjoy reading about the more intimate and passionate side of the Darcy/Elizabeth relationship and about their ever growing regard for one another. At times, I felt that the characters were not true to their nature, Elizabeth had lost some of her lively spirits and wit that we all loved her for, Darcy had lost the aloofness and the hidden righteousness that made him sexy.
This book should be regarded as a fantasy-fulfiller to those who couldn't get enough of Mr Darcy in 'Pride & Prejudice' and not so much as a sequel to it. Nevertheless, worth reading if you have the spare time or is never tired of P&P.
I regret to be able to offer it 3- stars. As it sold itself as a 'Pride & Prejudice' sequel, I guess I had to judge it as one, though I may have given it more if I was judging it as a new story.
In summary, the story is fantastic in its own right, but as a sequel to Pride and Prejudice- Fairly Hopeless.
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on 8 January 2004
Before reading this book, I had read countless reviews of it, which all seemed to contradict each other, and even after reading the book several times (though I confess, not always in chronological order) I cannot quite decide what I think. The plot is undoubtably excellent, with various storylines all weaving into each other, some continuing from the original P+P, and some Linda Berdoll created herself. The number of twists and turns quite exceeded my expectations, even though I had already picked up hints about the plot from reviews.... I will try not to give any away in this!
Yes, the spelling of Elizabeth with an 's' was annoying, and I can't for the life of me think what possessed her to do it (Thaddeus Collins, another unexplained mystery, and also Pemberley without the last 'e' - grrrrr). However, as I got into the book, I got used to it, and as everyone calls her Lizzy or Mrs Darcy, it doesnt matter.
There are new characters introduced in this, although I confess I did find myself skipping parts involving these, so I could find out about the Darcys - however, I strongly advise you not to do this. Later in the book I had to flip back so I could understand what was going on as these new characters' storylines become involved in the old ones'.
Some of this I did find a little ridiculous, but there were also funny, sad and extremely emotional moments which brought this book up in my esteem. There must have been an enormous amount of planning for this book, and I was quite impressed by the way she used major parts of the original to create new events.
Maybe I am just a hopless romantic, but the Darcys' love for each other did repeatedly bring a smile to my face. The book follows them through times of difficulty and grief as well as the happy times, but their love prevails. I think this book is definitely worth a read - Berdoll has certainly done her research, and if nothing else, this book will bring you an interesting view of 19th century life, in both upper and lower classes.
I really wanted to give this 4 1/2 stars, but sadly yopu cannot do that, so I decided to be positive about it.
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on 5 March 2003
Before I really get started with my review - let me preface this by saying - I love Jane Austin. She's the best - and my ultimate favorite author. This book is NOT J.A. While it's attempt at Austin style is clear, it's not completely successful. I think that the author tried to be true to the "general" aura of Austin but she had to know she could never fully duplicate the brilliance of "Pride and Prejudice". However, that doesn't mean I didn't enjoy it. Because, I did.
This book is HUGE. (a nice big read for the beach or plane) And, I drove in head first. Yes, I must admit --- Colin Firth and all his wet shirt glory had me pinning for more Darcy and Elizabeth. I wanted more --- and the thought of Colin Firth as Darcy has me pinning for a well --- naughty version. Well, I got what I wanted. This novel is pure fantasy. It's way too sexy, flippant and romance novel to be true Austin.
The characters are vaguely the same - but, much more open with their language, subject matter and actions. If you are looking for a bold and passionate Darcy carrying Elizabeth up the stairs - a la Rhett Butler - you've got yourself a novel, and personally I don't think there is anything wrong with that. But, if you are a purist and the thought of Elizabeth even showing a shoulder is too much for you - this isn't the book you should read.
Luckily, I enjoy that sort of thing from time to time. :) Happy Reading!!!
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on 24 June 2002
Pride and Prejudice is a all time classic, and though for obvious reasons (ie. being dead) Jane Austen was unable to write a sequel. Linda Berdoll steps in and immediately takes up the slack. Though a little risque for some Austen fans, this attempt only furthers any true lovers of Darcy and Elizabeth's relationship will find themselves endeared more towards both characters, especially with the realistic trials and tribulations they encounter. Though her spelling of 'Elisabeth' can be irritating at first, it soon becomes less of a struggle to bear with most people referring to her either as Mrs Darcy or Lizzy. And as for Mr Collins being called Thaddeus instead of William, it is quite inconsequential as no-one ever calls him anything but Mr. Collins, even his wife. These few details may annoy those trying to find fault with this charmingly seductive sequel, but most should be able to look past this and see an extremely well planned and though out storyline that merely adds to the characters we learnt to love during Austen's book. As for any Darcy fan. He does not disappoint!
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on 15 July 2002
Having last read Pride and Prejudice as a fifteen-year-old at school and, I confess, at that time finding it extremely dull, it was the BBC's adaptation that made me fall in love with the story and become so captivated by the characters. Therefore, the fact that 'The Bar Sinister' is obviously based on that production as opposed to the original novel has not been a disappointment in the slightest to me.
I have been swept along with the plot, loathing each time I have had to put down the book and return to this century. The author has stayed very faithful to the adaptation in all that her characters think, say and do, except for Elizabeth's exclamation "Do not fart about!" which is somewhat questionable.
Darcy's amazing prowess and stamina in matters of 'conjugal embrace' are hardly credible and nigh on ridiculous but how would we (not to mention Elizabeth) be satisfied with anything less?
On the negative side, the typos are a disgrace to the publisher, some sentences made absolutely no sense whatsoever, and the spelling a little irritating. My biggest annoyance was the incessant use of the word 'howbeit' which seemed to begin each and every sentence.
I enjoyed it far more than any of the more chaste Pride and Prejudice sequels....as fantasy fulfillment it would be hard to beat!
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on 9 September 2000
This is the book for you if you love Jane Austen's characters Darcy and Elizabeth from "Pride and Prejudice" a n d racy novels with lots of (rather graphic) sex. It is definitely not for you when you're a Jane Austen purist and expect restraint when it comes to what happens between the sheets. - One thing is a real drawback: this book was not edited at all. The spelling is atrocious and the grammar worse. When you can't stand reading what is obviously a first draft with all the mistakes left in, don't touch this book. - I've read most of the Pride and Prejudice sequels and this one is the best in my opinion, in spite of the drawbacks. It is a page turner with lots of plot twists, and Darcy and Elizabeth are true to Austens's characters except for some of the sex scenes which are ludicrous and seem to come straight from American 'bodice rippers'. To sum it up: the most entertaining sequel as yet.
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on 26 February 2005
After studying Pride and Prejudice at school I avidly watched the BBC adaptation. This sequel is unashamedly for those who were hooked on the BBC series (Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle striking sparks off each other- need I say more!).
Life after the wedding is revealed (starting with the wedding night) in all it's carnal glory (I'm sure I'm not the only one who wondered what would go on behind closed doors in the Darcy household!). The book is risqué by Austen's standards but its mild compared to modern fiction. It's not the explicitness of the sexual scenes that's intriguing but the fact that Darcy (in all his fastidiousness) and Elizabeth are doing them that's so risqué.
The plot is intriguing and ingeniously written with several tales weaving seamlessly together. But what I loved most about the book was its sheer range: from comically farcical (Mr. Collins thrown from his pony! whilst riding to hounds!) to deeply moving (the drifting apart of the couple after the loss of Elizabeth's baby) all whilst remaining credible with the characters remaining true to form.
Yes, it had a ridiculous amount of typo errors with names spelt wrong and the occasional nonsensical sentence but that can't take away from the sheer brilliance of this book. For any Jane Austin lover you'll just have to purchase the book and see for yourself if it's the best sequel ever or spurious rubbish! But when all's said and done, this book certainly stirs the emotions.
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on 21 March 2001
Be warned, if you take Jane Austen - or yourself - too seriously, this is not the book for you. But if you just want to be entertained, and quite thoroughly, you don't have to look any further. Granted like most stories worth telling, the premise is a bit of a stretch, but its still credible to the times and I liked that the author is absolutely true to the characters. Okay, there was lots of sex - but not everyone thinks that is a bad thing (especially if its between Lizzy and Darcy). All in all, it was great fun, if not out and out fascinating.
If you can't get enough of Mr. Darcy, boy, here he is!
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on 17 May 2001
Maybe its a test - if you consider Elizabeth spelled with an "s" as a inexcusable literary offense, you take your Jane Austen far too seriously to like this book. But those who enjoy a little (or a lot of) license will be thoroughly entertained.
THE BAR SINISTER is not easy to categorize. Its part comedy, part tragedy, a lot romance and a little spoof - which may de-rail some readers who need to know exactly where they're going. Be warned, there is sex and there is violence (gratefully, much more of the first than the second). So if you want to read only of quadrilles and engagements you best re-read Austen. But if you want to delve into the history and mores that flowed just beneath Jane Austen and her characters' seemingly chaste doings, you will enjoy this novel.
Lizzy, Darcy, Jane, Bingley, Lydia, Wickham, the Bennets and even Charlotte and Mr. Collins are all here, true to their natures and up to their armpits in adventures that defy pat description. What throbs fast full (to paraphrase Charlotte Bronte), what the blood rushes through - this is the unseen seat of life and the sentient target of death. Maybe this book will not actually take you there, but it is certainly a step in that direction - with many a laugh along the way.
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on 5 March 2001
but I thought this book was dreadful.
I wouldn't have minded the graphic sex if it were written well, but it's not. Instead of finding it beautiful (which I had always imagined the Darcys' marital relations would be), it was simply bizarre. I was impressed at how many names the author made up for Darcy's "family jewels." These people were like rabbits. I seem to recall that, in one scene, they are going at it under (yes, under) the bed. Not exactly believable, in my not-so-humble opinion.
The author seems to have been influenced by the 1995 BBC series rather than by the book. This is the only explanation I can think of for writing Elizabeth as "Elisabeth," or Pemberley as "Pemberly," or saddling Mr. Collins with the name Thaddeus. Anyone who's read the book knows his name is William.
The author's characterization of Lizzy and Darcy don't match Austen's very much, and I really hated what she did to Jane and Bingley. Sweet, loving, loyal Jane Bennet, frigid? Gentlemanly Charles Bingley, a philanderer? It is not to be borne!
And then there's the plot. Oh yeah, the plot. It is, in a word, a mess. It got so convoluted that I skipped over pages at a time, trying to get to a part that made sense.
My advice? Don't waste your money. This book is nothing more than poorly written soft-core pornography.
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