Letters From Pemberley: The First Year
Having married Fitzwilliam Darcy and settled on his estate of Pemberley, a slightly homesick Elizabeth Bennet begins writing letters to her older sister, the newlywed Jane. With new acquaintances, Mr. Darcy’s plans to remodel Pemberley (a task he takes on with much more sensitivity than Mr. Rushworth), and Georgiana’s baffling onset of low spirits, Elizabeth finds herself with a great deal to write about.
Dawkins deliberately incorporates language, renamed characters, and situations from Austen’s life and novels into Elizabeth’s letters, providing some fun in recognition for sharp-eyed Janeites. Contemporary details, such as the fashions Elizabeth wears and the books she reads, are also worked in nicely. Otherwise, Letters is rather short in substance, Elizabeth settling into her roles as wife and mistress of Pemberley almost a little too easily. I found myself wishing at times that Mrs. Bennet would pay an extended visit just to stir up some trouble. All in all, though, Letters makes for a charming, quick read, especially for Jane Austen fans who need something to tide them over while waiting to re-read the originals.