Christmas at Pemberley by Regina Jeffers finds Mr. and Mrs. Darcy in a run of the mill inn right before the Christmas holiday as they are stranded by the snow and stormy weather on their way back from Newcastle. Meanwhile, Georgiana is forced into the roll of Mistress of Pemberley and must contend with Darcy’s guests, including Lizzy’s parents, the Bingleys, and some other unexpected and unpleasant guests. Jeffers sprinkles her prose with Jane Austen’s classic lines from Pride & Prejudice about Mrs. Bennet’s nerves and Darcy’s pride and Lizzy’s prejudices. She adheres to Austen’s characterizations ensuring that Austen purists will enjoy her followup novel, but at the same time, she demonstrates how Georgiana evolves from a timid girl in the shadows of her brother and Aunt Catherine de Bourgh to become a capable woman.
“”Yes, our Mary has snatched up a viable candidate. At least, Mrs. Bennet has said such on countless occasions, so I must believe it so. After all, Her Ladyship has deemed my wife to have no mental deficiencies.’
Charlotte chuckled lightly before saying softly, ‘Lady Catherine is perceptive in her evaluations.’
Mr. Bennet smiled knowingly. ‘Lizzy has assured me that nothing is beneath the great lady’s attention.’
Mrs. Collins tightened the line of her mouth. ‘Her Ladyship is all kindness. She has taken it upon herself to oversee my domestic concerns familiarly and minutely, offering advice on how everything out to be regulated.'” (page 67)
Even better, readers experience more of Mr. Bennet’s wit and see Kitty as more than just a silly young girl. Lizzy’s precarious situation with her pregnancy has Darcy worried, especially so far away from home. But both take the situation in stride and offer the kindness they have in abundance to those in need. Darcy and Lizzy are at the inn meeting new people and sharing accommodations with a myriad of travelers. Meanwhile, Georgiana is juggling unwanted guests, and in many ways the guests are rallying and teaming up against Lady Catherine.
Jeffers adheres to Austen’s characters and social commentary while building upon the original novel to create characters that evolve and come into their own. Christmas at Pemberley by Regina Jeffers is an quiet novel that meanders, enabling readers to spend the holidays with some of their favorite characters, but those looking for big plot twists and action will not find much of that here. Jeffers has created a solid novel that could stand alone.
This is my 76th book for the 2011 New Authors Reading Challenge.