A Romantic Sequel Meshed with an Absorbing Mystery!
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Source: Giveaway win!
Newly married Elizabeth Darcy is about to experience her first true Derbyshire winter. A big snowstorm is on its way and is expected to keep residents of all the neighboring counties inside and immobile for a few days. Arriving just in time for this terrible blizzard is Darcy’s aunt, Lady Catherine, with her daughter Anne and her daughter’s companion, Mrs. Jenkinson, and Elizabeth’s sister, Lydia Wickham. When Darcy goes to pick up Lydia at the Lambton Inn, he generously offers to provide shelter for four additional guests who have no place to stay. Elizabeth and Darcy are now faced with the difficult task of entertaining eight snowbound guests, two of which include a boisterous and bored Lydia Wickham and a seriously displeased Lady Catherine!
Soon after the arrival of these eight guests, strange things start to occur… items go missing, a harmful trap is discovered, and a murder is committed… Who is behind it all? Is it one of the “unexpected” guests? A disgruntled employee? Someone out for revenge? Or, is it truly a phantom?
The Phantom of Pemberley is a brilliant and remarkably well-executed mystery sequel of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Besides having all sorts of intrigue and suspicious incidents, this novel gives us a glimpse of Darcy and Elizabeth’s passionate and harmonious marriage (some scenes are PG-13). I took great pleasure in witnessing their happiness, companionship, and reliance upon one another. Darcy and Elizabeth make a terrific team – not just in life, but in investigating the murders and mysteries that surround Pemberley.
However, this story isn’t all about Darcy and Elizabeth, Ms. Jeffers entwines her mystery with several absorbing sub-stories that focus on the minor characters in this novel. Readers are reintroduced to a more assertive Anne de Bourgh and a more confident Georgiana, who both appear ready to fall in love. In addition, we meet several new characters: a nobleman and his mistress, an intelligent and single solicitor, a reserved navy widow, and a dashing lieutenant who claims to be betrothed to Anne de Bourgh! Between the mystery and all these intriguing subplots, this novel was a real page turner!
One aspect I found interesting was that some of the story was told from the point-of-view of the villain(s). While still maintaining the air of mystery, Ms. Jeffers adroitly allows her readers into the mind(s) of her mischief-maker(s). I greatly enjoyed this unique twist and in no way thought it spoiled the mystery.
While I did feel slightly let down with this mystery’s conclusion, I found the overall novel to be riveting, clever, and entertaining. A novel with Lydia Wickham and Lady Catherine forced to live under the same roof for a fortnight cannot be anything but excessively diverting, don’t you think? I thought Ms. Jeffers was extremely successful in her first attempt at a Pride and Prejudice mystery sequel, I sincerely hope she writes more in the future!