More Letters from Pemberley

Written by Jane Dawkins
Review by Susan Higginbotham

When we left Elizabeth Darcy in Letters from Pemberley, she and her husband had been married for a year or so and were expecting their first child. More Letters from Pemberley picks up shortly thereafter and follows the Darcys and their family through 1819, shortly before the end of the Regency period.

Though Letters from Pemberley was an agreeable read, More Letters from Pemberley is a much better novel. The allusions to Austen’s other works, while still present here, are far less abundant than they were in Letters From Pemberley; the result is a novel that feels less like fan fiction and more like a novel that can stand entirely on its own. There’s considerably more focus and dramatic tension here as well, due in large part to the author’s determination to show a maturing Elizabeth and to “include the sometimes unpleasant realities of everyday life,” as Dawkins states in her preface. The result is not grim realism but a touching portrait of how one of fiction’s most beloved couples might have dealt with life’s inevitable reversals of fortune. Even more to her credit, Dawkins accomplishes this task without sacrificing charm and humor and while remaining true to the characters as they were conceived by Austen.