Thursday, November 15, 2007

Darcy & Elizabeth: Nights and Days at Pemberley by Linda Berdoll

Darcy & Elizabeth I recently reviewed Linda Berdoll's Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife, which was her sequel to Jane Austen's classic, Pride and Prejudice. In the review, I mentioned that Berdoll's sequel was a maturation of Austen's original story, and that Berdoll gives us so much more of everything; drama, complexity, and even sex.

Berdoll's sequel to her sequel, Darcy & Elizabeth: Nights and Days at Pemberley, is a continuation from where we left off in Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife, and again, it gives us more of what we loved in the first sequel.

In Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife, we read about Elizabeth and Darcy's relationship as a married couple, Darcy's devotion to Elizabeth, Elizabeth's love for Darcy, and even the wild sex they have. And to spice it all up, there's all the trials and tribulations their notorious relations put them through in between, most notably the annoying ninny, Lydia and the despised blackguard, Wickham.

In the first sequel, we end the book with the knowledge that Wickham is in fact Darcy's half brother from one of their father's transgressions with the hired help. John Christie, whose mother had sexual relations with both Wickham and Darcy, turns out to be Wickham's illegitimate son, whom he later murders in cold blood during his desertion from the battlefield.

Wickham is believed to be dead by all, including his wife, Lydia, but we find out that he's well and alive before the book ends. At the same time, we also see that Georgiana, Darcy's sister, is in love with Fitzwilliam and has gone in pursuit of him to war, and Elizabeth faces her pregnancy alone and later gives birth to twins, while Darcy in turn, has gone in pursuit of Georgiana.

In Darcy & Elizabeth: Nights and Days at Pemberley, the sequel to Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife, we see how Elizabeth and Darcy adjust to life with their newborn twins, Georgiana and Fitzwilliam gets married, and Wickham returns from the dead. But what really makes this sequel exciting, is that Lydia, believing the reports of Wickham's death in battle, has already remarried, and John Christie's half sister, Sally Frances, is determined to find her brother's murderer and mete out her own brand of justice.

There is remarkable connectivity between the characters and how each one relates to another. What I like most about Berdoll's sequels are that every character, even the lowliest ones, play very important roles in the plot. Sometimes there might be a passing mention of a particular character we deem unimportant, and later we see the same character again, playing a larger role.

I am amazed by Berdoll's ability to flesh out complex and interesting characters and plot lines. There isn't a single boring passage in the book, even when the characters are only talking about mundane matters. Berdoll has an amazing grasp on understanding human nature and how to make the characters seem larger than life with their thoughts and motivations.

I really enjoyed the journey with Elizabeth and Darcy and all the Pride and Prejudice characters, and also with the new and very interesting characters, that Berdoll has taken me on. While I thought that Darcy & Elizabeth: Nights and Days at Pemberley ended perfectly, with every character getting just what they deserved(especially Wickham), I can't help but be a little sad that it ever had to end. If Berdoll ever decides to write a sequel to Darcy & Elizabeth: Nights and Days at Pemberley, you can be sure I'll be one of the first to acquire it.


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