Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
TYPE OF AUSTENESQUE NOVEL: Pride and Prejudice Sequel, Mystery, Adventure
TIME FRAME: Two years after the close of Pride and Prejudice, seven months after the close of Christmas at Pemberley (by Regina Jeffers)
MAIN CHARACTERS: Mr. and Mrs. Darcy, Major General Edward Fitzwilliam, Georgiana Fitzwilliam, George Wickham, Dolina and Domhnall MacBethan
WHY I WANTED TO READ THIS NOVEL:
- I have read and loved so many of Regina Jeffers’ novels – Christmas at Pemberley, Captain Wentworth’s Persuasion, The Phantom of Pemberley!
- I love me some intrigue – and I greatly the mysterious elements in Ms. Jeffers’ The Phantom of Pemberley!
WHAT I LOVED:
- Half Adventure/Half Mystery: This novel has just as much action as it does intrigue! When Georgiana is reported missing and presumed dead, everyone comes to Scotland to find her. Darcy and Fitzwilliam are an incredible team together! It is a wonder to see them in action. These two show exemplary strength, perseverance, and intense bravery in this novel! And we mustn’t forget Elizabeth, who is equally quick-witted and courageously runs into the fray to help her husband and save her sister.
- Macabre Moors and Scottish Secrets: This sequel takes us to Scotland, to a Fitzwilliam estate where Georgiana and Major General Fitzwilliam intend to settle in together. We learn that the moors are dangerous and rumors surround the area of their “unrepentant nature to give up their own.” Was Georgiana taken by these moors? This story took a bit of a dark turn with sordid and sinister doings at Normanna Hall and the MacBethan family. However, I found this part of the story very captivating. Especially when I read in the Historical Notes from the author that this part of the story is based on an old 14th Century Scottish legend. Grim and fascinating!
- Relationship Development: Besides the action, my favorite part of the story was seeing how relationships between so many of these beloved characters underwent some growth and change. The close sibling bond between Darcy and Georgiana was beautiful – their devotion and happiness with each other is so tenderly displayed in this story. But Darcy needs to adapt to the change in their relationship. Georgiana is married, she isn’t completely under his care any more, and has a husband who must be first in her life. In addition, I loved how both Mrs. Bennet and Lydia had the scales removed from their eyes and began to understand anew the mistakes of their past. It was great to see them finally realize the merits and worthiness of Mr. Darcy and the shortcomings of Mr. Wickham.
- Introspective Wickham: Can’t believe I’m saying this, but I enjoyed being inside Wickham’s head in this story! It was completely refreshing to see him be honest with himself, admit his past failings, and see those rare moments where he regrets the losing the loyal and steadfast companionship of a childhood friend.
WHAT I WASN’T TOO FOND OF:
- Perhaps Too Much Going On: In addition to finding Georgiana and the sinister doings of the MacBethans, this story depicts a wedding at Pemberley, Major General Fitzwilliam’s return from Waterloo, a new business venture for Mr. Darcy, and many flashbacks to events that happened in Pride and Prejudice and Christmas at Pemberley (which are very helpful to those who are reading this book before reading its predecessors). But with all of these components, it did start to feel like there was perhaps too much going on. Especially since the heart of the story – Georgiana’s disappearance – wasn’t introduced to the other characters until page 129. And especially since the main storyline was engrossing and compelling enough on its own.
While this tale might not be every Austenesque reader’s cup of tea, this harrowing tale of Scottish dungeons, mistaken identities, and daring rescues is quite an exhilarating adventure! The action and danger had me mesmerized and my heart swelled to see these adored characters and their close bonds with each other. Well done, Ms. Jeffers!