Want to Spend the Summer at Pemberley?
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Source: Review Copy from Author
In the year 1986, when people speak of “The Darcys of Pemberley” they are not referring to Fitzwilliam, Elizabeth, and Georgiana who lived so long ago. They are instead referring to Bennet Darcy and his younger sister Catie; who like their ancestors, are separated in age by many years and experienced tragedy with the very premature loss of both their parents. With his reserved demeanor, sometimes officious treatment, and overly protective guardianship of his sister, it is easy to see that Bennet shares many personality traits with his iconic ancestor. But Catie, on the other hand, with her fiery temper, insolent attitude, and “selfish disregard for the feelings of others,” cannot boast the same.
Bennet refuses to let his sister idle away the summer reading romance novels, so each summer he sets up some instruction to keep her busy. This summer proves to be no different as Ben has Catie scheduled for six weeks of riding lessons with a private instructor. Due to a nasty fall she experienced when she was eight, Catie has some fear of riding and doesn’t look forward to these lessons with too much anticipation. Especially when she discovers that her instructor is an exacting, infuriating, and attractive Irish lad by the name of Sean Kelly!
This Pride and Prejudice inspired novel – that’s right, it’s not a sequel, variation, or modern adaptation – is utterly charming! Echoes of Pemberley is a beautiful coming-of-age story about Catie Darcy. Even though she was sometimes spoiled and quarrelsome, I couldn’t help but feel sympathetic towards Catie. Growing up an orphan, idolizing her father, never knowing her mother, painstakingly trying to please her brother, Catie has much to go through for one so young. And this summer proves to be a turning point in her life, between falling in love, conquering her fear of galloping, and healing from the past, Catie does some admirable maturing and blossoming. I greatly appreciated how Ms. Hensley aptly portrayed the trials and discoveries a young girl experiences when she matures into womanhood.
Besides the young and endearing romance between Sean and Catie (which I adored), my other favorite aspects of this novel were learning about the Darcy ancestry and seeing Bennet Darcy fight to save his family’s legacy. With a hidden diary, revealing letters, a dangerous tenant, several near-death experiences, there is much more to this story than a poignant and turbulent young romance. I just loved how all the action, drama, romance and fictional history of this novel were so seamlessly entwined.
Brava! to Cynthia Ingram Hensley on her superior and inventive debut novel! What fun it was to pretend that Fitzwilliam and Elizabeth were real, and that these were theirdescendants! I deeply enjoyed my summer sojourn to Pemberley! I hope to return again sometime soon! I most prodigiously recommend!