Thursday, January 5, 2012

Death Comes to Pemberley

I just finished this book, and I want to share it with you! Now, normally I'm not really into fan fiction. I think it's a fun genre and seems generally appealing, but I've just never been that interested. This book was somehow different. I heard about it in an interview with the author on NPR, and it sounded right up my alley. P.D. James is a pretty well-known (though I had never heard of her) mystery writer with a love for Jane Austen, and she wrote Death Comes to Pemberley as a sequel to Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. In the interview, she laughingly admitted that she didn't know there was an entire world of Jane Austen fan fiction floating around. She had her assistant research on the Internet to see if there were any similar books out there... She's old and doesn't use a computer. James said that she aimed to keep the writing style and characterization as true to Austen's original as she possibly could, and I personally think she hit the nail on the head.

The book is elegantly written in a style much akin to Austen's, which means of course that descriptions are lengthy and detailed and take up as much of the book as does any sort of action. This story is more of a courtroom drama than the fast-paced detective stories I love, but it was certainly still enjoyable. The excitement acts as book-ends at the front and back ends of the story, and it does seem to drag on a bit in the middle (which is also pretty true of Austen). I thought this book was a delightful mash up of my two biggest literary interests- Jane Austen and murder mysteries! And how sweet of Nathan to remember me commenting on the NPR story and then getting me the book for Christmas.

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