Jblog Book Club

A place for discussing interesting books, including those on Judaism, parenting, and general fiction and non-fiction.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Pride and Prejudice Sequels

I am in love with Pride and Prejudice. I have read the book at least 15 times. I love the mini series, I even love Bride and Prejudice. So naturally, I have read many of the sequels. Some of these books are laughable, they are so bad. Others have an ok story, but the writing is absurd. There has only been one previous that I haven't wanted to throw away in utter contempt. However, last week, while shopping for a birthday present, I happened upon two sequels I hadn't yet read, in Target of all places!

The two, which are by the same author and take place sequentially are Mr.Darcy Takes a Wife and Darcy and Elizabeth Nights and Days at Pemberley. All the characters that you loved from the original make appearances, even very minor characters like Hannah from the Inn at Lambton. The story, especially in the first one, is compelling. The second one has a lot of repetition from the first, but has a fairly engaging plot. I would say there are two big faults in these books.

Number one: the writing is really convuluted. She is trying to imitate Jane Austen's style, but her attempts are basically using big words unnecessarily, and using old style spelling like connexion. At first, I was so bothered by the word choices that I didn't know if I could finish, but after about 100 pages, I got used to it, and I stopped noticing it. If, however, someone was not an native English speaker, this book would be a nightmare to read.

These books are not short. They are each about 450 pages with small text. I am a fairly quick reader and can usually finish a standard 300 page novel in a day and a half, but these took me about 4-5 days each, and I had some yom tov and shabbat time to read.

The other objection I had, and it is a bigger one, is that there is really a lot of scenes about their marital relations. The overall plots of the novels were good, but the obsession with love scenes really make these into romance novels, which are not my favorite.

Regardless, I read them both, did enjoy them, and would tentatively recommend them, as long as you aren't offended by love scenes (granted between married people). I would give the first a B+ and the second a B.

By the way, the other sequels I have read, with a grade following are:

Pemberley or Pride and Prejudice Continued C-
Letters from Pemberely the First Year F
An Unequal Marriage: Pride and Prejudice 20 Years Later D
Conviction C+
Desire and Duty D-
Excessively Diverted C
Mr. Darcy's Daughters B

2 Comments:

At 11/19/2007 02:24:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A wonderful new book is The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen by Syrie James. The author creates a long-lost (fictional) memoir by Jane Austen. It's an extremely pleasurable read. I couldn't put it down and then I was sorry it was finished. Besides being a great read, it's very clean- no sex, violence, bad language, etc.

 
At 12/30/2008 09:59:00 AM, Blogger Lorena said...

What a great review of Bertoll's books! I actually speak ESL, and I pride myself in being pretty good. However, those books tested my English to no end.

My opinion is that the writer has an excellent imagination. She can think up a story. Writing, however, isn't her strength. Or, perhaps, she was ill advised regarding her choice of language.

The fact that the books are enjoyable in spite of their multiple flaws speaks of the quality of the stories themselves.

What troubles me most, as an ESL speaker, is that Jane Austen is (was) the master of plain language. Yes, I still have to look up words once in a while when reading Austen, but not a truck load of words as I do with Bertoll.

Jane Austen knew that good writing is not convoluted and that proves her once again a genius, and in my book, worthy of praise at the goddess level.

 

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